5 Open Secrets to Becoming a Better Blogger Right Now
by Michael O'Mara, on Aug 3, 2021 9:20:10 AM
Deciding to write a blog for your business is easy. Budgeting, planning, and executing a replicable blog strategy is hard. It takes time, effort, and commitment to craft meaningful long-form content that informs and engages your readers for years to come.
We know why you’re here: you want a few helpful ways to start a blog people love and click on. That’s why we’re sharing five open secrets to becoming a better blogger right now. These tips are for businesses of all shapes and sizes!
1. Build a content plan and stick with it
It’s easy to discover new, exciting ideas to write about. It’s hard to build an actionable, replicable plan and stick with it.
Building a content plan and sticking to it applies to any professional content creation strategy. You must develop a framework that addresses the following concerns:
- Do I have the time to write the blog I want to write?
- What is the general scope of my blog? How long should it be?
- What is the general subject matter of my blog?
- How am I publishing this blog? What software or service am I using?
These are the most important questions you need to address and solve at the start of a successful content plan. If you fail to do so, you are creating more work for yourself down the road.
Content plans are a great opportunity to map a week, month, or quarter of the content that fits your workflow.
Here is a great content plan tip: build a buffer. A buffer is a period of time between completing a piece of work and publishing it. A buffer allows you to work smarter instead of rushing to meet an arbitrary deadline.
Get the big, high-level stuff out of the way at the start. You’ll be glad you did.
2. Write what you know
You are an industry professional that cares about your work. That’s why you’re thinking about writing a blog! It helps to understand your strengths and weaknesses before you write. Sharpen and focus on what you know and build working knowledge around what you don’t.
Research is a primary pillar of writing. Use primary and secondary sources to provide context to your points. If you find a resource that is saying something you'd say but better, consider the topic of the content itself and how you'd say it in your own words. After all, this is your company and your mission.
Your unique perspective is great, but without data and resources that lend credibility to your opinion, it’s just an opinion. Find helpful, credible resources that solidify your position as a thought leader.
Your primary goal with content, beyond driving your customers to a desirable action, is to add something new to the conversation. Don’t regurgitate what a competitor is saying. Instead, find a unique value-add only you can make. After all, you are the industry professional. Your expertise is unique, which means your perspective is too. Own it by writing what you know.
3. Create an outline before you write
Blank pages are tough. That’s why outlines are so helpful to writers. An outline is the skeleton of written work, such as a script, paper, or blog, that provides a snapshot of the start, middle, and end. This is the solution to the blank page anxiety that affects us all. It helps writers, like you and I, frame an idea, create arguments, and illustrate relevant points about a topic.
In short, an outline helps the writer create content just as much as it guides the reader through the content. Here are some general tips for a great outline:
- Title: every blog starts with a title. Use your preferred writing method, such as Google Docs, to assign the proper heading size to your title. Your title is the primary idea that drives the rest of the blog.
- Introduction: your introduction needs to address the title, illustrate a reason why the reader needs to read, and provide a general snapshot of what to expect. This sets reader expectations.
- Section: a good blog features helpful sections that guide readers through the subject material in a clear, effective manner. Assign headings and subheadings to the main points of your blog. Can you identify the sections by their headings in this blog?
- Outro: this is a recap of the blog with a compelling call to action, or CTA, that empowers your readers to take direct action. Blogs are about informing your audience and positioning yourself as a credible, authoritative resource. If the reader reaches the end of the blog, they want to know more. They want to do more. A direct CTA is a nudge in that right direction.
Outlines are your friend. They establish a topic, offer a reason to read, provide structure to your argument or insight, and offer readers a path to do business with you. Build your blogs with an outline that serves your business just as well as it serves your customers.
— Kim Garmon Hummel, Sauce Marketing
4. Take advantage of free tools
Even the pros need to take advantage of the productivity tools that make writing better. Free or low-cost tools offer writers a digital proofreading assistant of sorts. These tools, among many, are not a replacement for a human writer. Just like humans, AI-driven proofreading tools make mistakes. Use your tools as a guide to better writing. Here are several key areas free and low-cost tools improve your writing:
- Sentence structure: this is a very important and often overlooked aspect of writing. Your audience needs to quickly read and easily understand your content. That’s why it’s important to build simple sentences. Digital proofreading tools help you do this.
- Grade level: when you confuse, you lose. Don’t write intricate prose that distracts readers. Instead, be clear and direct by targeting a writing level between 5th and 8th grade. Hemingway Editor does a great job at identifying the reading level of your writing so you can create content that clearly communicates your message.
- Passive voice: misusing passive and active voice, as well as tense, is the single most common issue in writing. It happens all the time! But that’s okay. The important thing to do is use tools, like Grammarly, to identify passive voice misuse and correct it. Click here to learn more about Grammarly.
- Write compelling headlines: Sharethrough is a great tool that helps you write better headlines for your blogs. Better headlines mean more clicks, leads, and opportunity for your business.
5. Hire a second set of eyes
It’s easy to write what you care about. It’s hard to write what you care about in a way that makes other people care too.
A helpful teammate, such as a paid employee or contractor, that proofreads and guides your writing is the fast track to a better blog.
At Sauce Marketing, our production team strategizes, writes, and proofreads with our clients. Sure, you can write fast by yourself and post it faster. But a good blog isn’t about speed. It’s about crafting your message, arguing your points, and working together to create a compelling piece of content for your readers.
Without data, you're just another person with an opinion.
— William Edwards Deming
The second set of eyes is your ticket to growth. If it’s a one-person effort, issues arise that impact quality of your blogs, such as:
- Grammatical issues
- Miscommunication about a topic to your audience
- Confusing sentence structure or tone misuse
- Identifying and clarifying jargon your audience doesn’t understand
Writing solo increases the risk of publishing a blog that fails to effectively communicate. You do not need to be a writing professional to write a good blog. But it helps to hire someone, or an agency, who is.
Sauce Marketing is a team of capable professionals who build strategies that work for you. Schedule a call with a Growth Guide today to discover how Sauce Marketing can develop a blog strategy that establishes you as a thought leader in your industry and generates leads for your business.