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5 Tips for Writing Successful Posts on Your Professional Services Blog
Is your professional services firm thinking about launching a blog? Or maybe you already have one, but you think your traffic should be higher? If so, the following tips might help you in your quest to generate thoughtful blog content that others will love.
A good blog will establish your firm as an industry thought leader. But remember, not all blog posts are created equal. A blog post with great content can still struggle to find readers. If you want yours to stand out, keep the following points in mind.
#1 – Focus On The Reader
Before you do anything, ask yourself this question: Why are you writing? Why write a blog post at all? If your answer is something along the lines of “to generate a lot of traffic” or “to gain new customers,” then you need to rethink what you’re doing. It’s not about what’s in it for you. It’s about what’s in it for your reader.
What reader need or want does your post satisfy? What unique information or experience can you share with others? What one thing do you wish you knew long before you knew it? It’s likely your readers will want to know that information as well. When your blog posts share that type of information, they have the right focus.
So keep your target audience in mind and give them what they want – cutting edge information, industry tips, a unique perspective, the benefit of your personal experience, and more. Add depth to your content. Constantly ask yourself how you can be more useful and memorable to readers. In other words, create unique value.
#2 – Create A Great Headline
Once you determine your topic, start with the headline first. Why? Concentrating on your headline forces you to focus. Describe the need or want your blog post promises to meet. This helps readers decide whether to continue reading or not.
This is the opposite of what most people do. Most people write a blog post, then spend a minute or two trying to think up a good title. Don’t do this. Your post title should be more than an afterthought. You need a headline that “grabs” your target audience. If a potential reader isn’t interested in your headline, they won’t click on it. And if they don’t click on it, they’ll never read your post – no matter how good it is.
Before you settle on a headline, search for it on Google. As you type, Google autofill suggestions pop up. If you don’t see your topic, people probably aren’t searching for it. If that’s the case, you might want to consider another topic. If people do search for it, note the keyword phrases they use. Can you turn those keywords into an interesting headline? If so, interested readers can find your information much easier.
So what makes a great headline? Headlines that start with “Why…,” such as “Why You Should Care About Your Blog Headline” have proven successful. Another popular format is “How To…,” such as “How To Write A Blog Headline That Gets Clicks.” See why that works? It clearly communicates the need or want of the reader. Lists are also extremely popular. Why? Because people are drawn to lists. Headlines like “7 Steps…, 5 Tips…, 10 Rules…, 25 Mistakes…, etc.” resonate with readers. They’re easy to scan, and they often spark discussion and sharing on social media.
#3 – Be Original
When you write your post, don’t just regurgitate common industry knowledge. If you say the same thing everyone else is saying in much the same way that they’re saying it, you’re guaranteed to be ignored. So don’t be like everyone else. Say something unique in a fresh and creative way.
Once you’re ready, make sure you write “conversationally.” Imagine your ideal reader – the perfect embodiment of your target audience. Pretend you’re sitting across the table from one another. Just the two of you. You’re friends, and you want them to understand what you know. How would you tell that friend about the valuable knowledge you have? How would that conversation go? Use the same language you would use in that setting. Don’t use insider jargon. Anticipate questions and answer them. Be interesting. But whatever you do, don’t sound like an encyclopedia!
When necessary, use real life examples to make your points. If you tell a story, people visualize the information and remember it. And you want to be remembered. Also, when you give examples from your own life and speak as if you’re talking to a friend, readers view you as a real person. Most people hate reading large blocks of text, but they love to relate to and connect with other people. Let them connect with you.
#4 – Make Your Blog Post “Scannable”
What does that mean – to make your post more “scannable”? It means this: We’re all busy. We’re all inundated with a mountain of information every day. When someone clicks on your blog post headline, the first thing they do is scan your post to see how long it is. Why? Because time is precious, and they don’t have 20 minutes to waste on a post that may or may not provide value. Who does? So don’t give them a reason to click away. If they see large blocks of heavy text, that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Set up your post so that a quick glance reveals your main points. This article is a good example. It lays out five points in bold letters. You can easily scan it and decide whether you want to read one or all five points. Make it easy to determine what your post is about, and make sure your post has plenty of white space so the reader’s eyes can rest. Use bullet lists, subheadings, block quotes, images, and bold and italics when relevant (just don’t overdo it). Also, make your paragraphs short and to the point. Keep in mind that most readers won’t read your entire post, but if they can quickly scan it and determine it provides value, they’ll read those parts that most interest them.
#5 – Promote Your Post
Okay, so you’ve finished your blog post, and it’s out-of-this-world good! Now what? Once you upload your post, don’t let it wither. Cheer it on! Tell your Facebook friends about it. Ask them to like it and share it.
Next, think about your target audience. Do you know anyone professionally who could benefit from your post? Is there anyone in your Outlook contacts, LinkedIn connections, Twitter followers, or other social circles who might enjoy your post? If so, send them a personal message and let them know about it. In general, brainstorm opportunities to get your post in front of a target client or key demographic, then follow up on those ideas.
Follow the five tips outlined above, and you’ll dramatically increase your odds of publishing a blog post readers will enjoy, bookmark, and share. If your professional services firm is hoping to find new customers through blogging (or deepen relationships with existing customers), make sure to write easy to understand posts that focus on the needs and wants of your target audience.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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