The values and virtues of content creation as a form of marketing have long been extolled both here at Advisor Websites and in many high level companies in the financial and marketing industries. One of our top pieces of advice insofar as content marketing goes, is to own, curate, and regularly update a blog. Whether you are writing your own pieces, or have someone else write for you, having weekly doses of content on your website is vital for SEO ranking and exposure.
However, there is more to blog writing than simply trying to spew out as much content as possible. A well crafted blog can garner much attention, and will catch a viewers interest instantly, compelling them to read all the way through, and hopefully engage with you afterwards. So, how is it possible to write a compelling and powerful blog post? Let's break it down into a few stages.
The Planning Stage
The planning stage may very well be your most important and most challenging stage. This is when you have to sit down and really think about what you will write about. During this time, ask yourself: who is this for? Who do you want to have read your blog, and what matters to them? Make sure your topic is focused, relevant, and interesting. Keep in mind, however, that you must be equally as interested in the blog post topic as your targeted audience will be. The key to making your blog compelling is passion. People can tell whether you are genuinely interested or not. Your interest in the topic will come through in your writing and reflect in your reader.
This is a good time to do research, and see how much material covering your topic can be found online. Perhaps the internet is flooded with this one topic, in which case you would have to ask yourself: do I have a new or unique take on this? Can I offer more than what the other 10'000 people writing about this have? If you find there is not much material covered while doing your research, then go ahead! However, always make sure to know the topic you are covering well, as you want to avoid claiming yourself an expert in a field you don't know much about.
Lastly, consider creating an outline. It can be very useful if you are writing over a longer period of time, so you remember what your original ideas are. This is also a great way to keep yourself on track, and insure that your writing remains focused on the few subjects and sub-topics you have decided to cover.
The Writing Stage
A hugely vital aspect of writing for almost all mediums is picking your title. A title is a first impression, and a bad first impression means nobody will bother to continue reading if the title makes the blog seem bland or overly complicated. The same can be said about the first few lines of your blog. It is important to remember that the average viewer will only inspect your blog post for a few seconds before deciding whether they are interested in reading on or not. Hook them in early on, and they will start to read the post which you've put great effort into. You can do this by starting with a question, a fu fact, or a shocking statement. However, it's important to avoid "clickbait" titles, or readers will feel like they've been mislead and lose their trust in you.
Although titles, introductions and conclusions are important to keep a reader hooked and provide a pleasant reading experience for them, it is important to note that the body of your work is what they will spend most of their time reading. Make sure everything you write is clear, has a direct connection to your topic, and works towards an overall point. This way, they won't get bored and will read to the end. In your conclusion, if you provide them with a strong finish, this will cap off the whole experience for them, and leave them satisfied. A strong finish can mean anything from a surprising fact or statistic, to an offer of a free consultation, or even a call-to-action, asking people to comment or post their questions and feedback on your social media pages.
As for some smaller details: remember to add images, especially to cut up large chunks of text. Block quotes can also be great for this, or bolding important sentences, this way the reader knows something important is coming and will read on. Make sure to keep your writing succinct, a blog is not a book and should be shorter than most pieces of writing. As always, avoid spelling and grammatical errors to the best of your ability. Everyone slips up now and then, but a blog post riddled with errors may make you seem slightly incompetent in the eyes of your readers.
The Publishing Stage
Lastly, comes the exciting stage: the publishing stage. This is your chance to edit, refine, add or delete anything that doesn't suit you. Keep an eye out for repetition and keep special care that it doesn't sound blockish. Reading it out loud to check if it flows is a great way to test this out.
This is also when you can write a short and exciting resume of the blog, and tailor it to work across all social media platforms. Once you've done all this, all that is left is to post the blog and share it across all your platforms. Perhaps consider sending it through a special email list, or get your friends and family to share it on their social media.
Finally, remember that it takes time to get lots of readers and positive feedback. Rome was not built in a day, and neither will your blog be. Take your time, enjoy the process, and you will see improvement in time.