You’ve probably been told a million and 1 times to write blog posts as frequently as every day if possible, to get your words in front of as many eyeballs as you can. But do you really want to churn out rubbish?
I can feel your pain. You need to get a blog post, complete with images, live by the end of the day but don’t know where to start. You don’t even have a topic.
If you’re a small business owner or a freelancer, you’ll likely to have days when not much is happening. You might start panicking that you’ll never get work again.
I was asked by a small business owner – When and how often should I be marketing? How much time should I devote to it each day?
Marketing is not something you should turn on and off when you have a spare moment. Whether it’s writing a tweet, an email or a blog post or speaking to people at a network meeting, you should be marketing your business or your brand all the time.
Marketing is not something you can outsource and forget about. Whatever you are doing, you and everyone in your company should be marketing. Whenever you communicate with people, you are marketing your business.
Sending an email is marketing your business – you should be showing the recipient that you are efficient, diligent and reliable. So, write all your emails to reflect this.
Every time you speak about your business – whether it’s to clients, suppliers or staff – you are marketing your business.
Every time you go over and above the call of duty, you are marketing your business as one that cares.
Every time you make it easy for someone to buy something from you, you are marketing your business as one that wants happy customers.
Every time a customer has to wait to get hold of you, you are marketing your business (the wrong way) *
Every time you publish a blog post or web copy with spelling and grammar mistakes, you are marketing your business (the wrong way) *
And, every time you try to hide mistakes your company has made, you are marketing your business (the wrong way) *
Whatever you are doing, or whatever the customer’s experience of your business, you are revealing it in a certain light – make sure it’s a positive one.
*This is the perfect opportunity to admit to your mistakes and turn things around = a positive marketing message.
If you work in a less that glamourous industry, there is a risk that reader’s eyes will start to glaze over as soon as they read your headline.
Yes, you should.
You are the only person who knows your business inside out. So, yes of course you should write it.
But can you?
If you have the skills to write in a way that puts your business in its best light, and you can do it quickly so that it doesn’t take time away from your other tasks, then absolutely you can.
Professional copywriters are not cheap, but they are worth it if you want copy that reflects your business in the best way, is targeted to your specific audience and is written to a high professional standard.
Step away from the nuts
I’m sure you’ve heard that adage – ‘If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’. What this means is that if you pay £5 for a page of copy, then you’ll get rubbish copy that is not SEO friendly, not user-focused, not conversation-rate optimised and does not make for the best user experience. It’s just not worth it.
Do you want the best of both worlds?
If you’re short on budget, but feel that you’re the only one who knows your business well enough to write effective copy then you could get your written copy checked over. A professional copyedit will include checking for spelling and grammar, ensuring there is no awkward word placement, and inspecting for dodgy sentence structure.
It’s definitely worth it.
Photo credit: Barry Davis Cute Monkey
Do you have a mission statement that is a declaration of commitments that you put into action with integrity? Or is it just a load of blather on a page that nobody ever looks at? Is it peppered with words like ‘solution’ and ‘strategy’ that sound smart but means nothing?
Do you have a telephone ‘hold’ message that waffles on about how your company is committed to customer service? Yet you keep your customers hanging on the phone for ages because you don’t employ enough staff to take calls?
Do your blog posts spout about how good your product or service is and how dedicated you are to your customers but in reality, are colourfully embellished?
If your mission statement, your ‘hold’ message or your blog posts tell the story of a company committed to doing what’s best for your customers then you should be demonstrating that value in the work you do. Don’t say or write it if you don’t truly believe in it.
Customers read blog posts to find out about your company. They want some reassurance that they can rely on you to deliver the goods or service to the quality and timescale that they expect.
They will also smell BS from a mile off so if you aren’t committed to the values that you promote, if you don’t believe it, and demonstrate it – then why should anyone trust you and give your business their money or their time?
Image credit: thenails Wall Street Bull
A young man thrusts a flyer into my hands for a nightclub that offers free cocktails. I’m no longer at an age where I visit nightclubs. I haven’t been to a nightclub for many years and do not intend to start, so I throw the flyer into the nearest bin.
The young man was demonstrating the scattergun approach to marketing. Throwing the information out there into the big pond in the hope of a good catch.
Focus your copy
When you’re writing your newsletter, who do you focus on? Do you direct your words towards anyone and everyone in the hope that some will bite or do you target a specific group of people?
The scattergun approach is not the best way to reach the people that matter – those who are likely to buy your goods or services. The people that matter will not be convinced you really care about who they are and their specific needs, if you are trying to reach everybody with vague and wide-ranging copy.
Focus your audience
Had he been offering the flyer to only the young party/club-going people, I’m sure they would have been over the moon to receive it and the free drink that it offered. But as he was indiscriminately handing them out, everyone tried to avoid him.
When you’re writing your newsletter, target a specific audience. If your business is car sales, send your newsletter to people who have shown an interested in your cars. Offer the information only to those who want to hear from you, otherwise all your hard work will go in the bin, or worse, in the spam folder.
Image credit: Malmaison Hotels, Cocktails.
My local coffee shop uses a variety of styles on a blackboard to advertise the different drinks it offers. Inside the café there are comfy chairs, sofas, plants and books and lots of other interesting things to entice people in and make them want to stay awhile. And while enjoying the environment, they might possibly buy more too.
It’s the same with your blog post. Make it stimulating with plenty of punchy paragraphs, and headings that split up the text. Play with the font, use bullets and numbering to spice things up. Above all, grab attention with pictures and images, hand-written text or cartoons.
Keep it novel
Readers have short attention spans. So unless you’re offering a very short blog post, then they need novelty, something that will break up the monotony of plain text. Readers get bored with blocks of writing and so if you don’t entertain them with plenty of visual delicacies, they will click off to some other, more interesting-looking site.
Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan, Penny Farthing promotes cafe
The purpose of your blog is to attract new website visitors and, if you’re a business, hopefully, convert them into leads. But how often should you post a blog to maximise its efficiency?