Do I have to blog?


09-04-2021
Woman sitting at laptop writing

By Lesley Fettes of Network Design

You don’t have to blog but you may find that it is a valuable tool to get your audience engaged in your brand, keep your company at the forefront of their minds and provide something useful to them.

Blogging is about thought leadership, it’s about showing the visitors to your site you know your industry and it adds another level of credibility to why they should buy from you.

Blogs can take various forms:

  • To inform – 'how to' guides

  • To entertain – tell a story

  • To build trust – let your audience get to know you

If you want your blogs to entertain then it is best to keep in mind a simple formula to model your story around.

Background > encounter a problem > try a solution > fix the problem

This framework will keep you on track and it will also work well when writing a case study about client projects too.

When writing

It can be tempting to waffle on when writing a blog, even though blogging is long form content it should also be concise. Try to make the content actionable, so you are giving your audience something for the time it has taken them to read your article.

It can be useful to try to incorporate:

  • Short lists

  • Checklists

  • Bullet points

  • Action points

  • Call To Action (CTA) -more about this later

Subject matter

Try to choose a topic that will resonate with your audience and is relevant to your industry. This could be an opinion piece or something that has made the news, or simply helpful content.

  • A reflection or case study on work that you have done for a client.

  • An area that can cause confusion to your audience, you can help to explain it in your own words.

  • Has there been a new development within your industry; legislation, working practises, health and safety, new theories etc.

  • A day in the life of…

  • Top tips

Whatever you choose, make sure that it is written in your brand’s tone of voice (see section below) and keep in mind who you are writing for, who your audience is and target the content to them.

This blog about target audience may help.

Dare to be different

Be willing to stand out from your competitors, using your own tone of voice and opinion. Thought leadership can be a noisy world, so you want something that will not only hold your audiences’ interest but will catch their eye too and make them remember you.

Tone of voice

Alongside your brand guidelines it is always good to have tone of voice guidelines. This will cover spelling and punctuation rules to follow so that you are consistent but it is also about how your brand sounds, it is what you should say and how you should say it. The personality of your brand needs to be communicated within your writing as well as via its values.

Read our blog about Marketing with purpose to help with brand values.

If there aren’t guidelines in place it may be worth producing some, so that you have a reference document to circulate within your organisation to make content consistent across all marketing channels.

Tone of voice guidelines should cover:

  • Brand values

  • Brand personality

  • What makes your brand distinctive

  • What makes your brand recognisable

  • What makes your brand unique.

Here are a couple of useful articles to help you pull together your own tone of voice:

https://www.grammarly.com/blog/tone-of-voice/

https://mailchimp.com/courier/article/tone-of-voice/

SEO

Now when writing your blog, don’t worry about SEO! I know this is a brave thing to say but if you write with a list of keywords or phrases in mind you’ll end up writing something that is hard to read, doesn’t flow and might not make much sense.

Instead put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard and write. Once you have a first draft then go back and look to see what keywords fit. More than likely they will already be in your writing.

Don’t pack your writing with keywords; use them wisely. It needs to read well- otherwise you will lose your audience.

Write long form content – this will help with SEO as it likes words. Long form content helps to keep people on your site for longer which will help increase your SEO rating!  Win, win!

If you have a WordPress site, then it is worth adding a plugin.  Yoast  is a good one to help you add in SEO terms. It will check the relevance of them within your article and meta data and give you an indication on what needs improving.

It is worth speaking to your developer if you are unsure.

There are no fast results

Be consistent (do as we say not as we do). Commit to publishing your blog at the same time each month or week.

Keep a notebook handy or a file on your desktop for a brain dump, write down ideas as and when they come to you. You can always formulate them at a later date. Some will work, others might fall by the wayside, but it gets you into the habit of thinking about appropriate subject matter and having a list to work from when you do come to write.

Schedule a time to write the blog, block out a Friday afternoon, for example. Give yourself the time you need to focus and get your thoughts down, but then review it on another day.

Once written, read it over and make any amends, then go away and leave it, come back to it on Monday. Reread and edit it again, then if you are happy, ask someone to read it, we can all miss a spelling mistake in our own work. This may lead to another edit or even a rewrite but that is all part of the process. Always give it a final proofread before you publish it.

Call to action (CTA)

This is really important. If people are finding and reading your blog you want to try to capture their contact details so that you can stay in touch with them. They never know when they might need you.

  • Make sure you add your contact details at the end of the article, even if you think it is easy for a user to find your email or phone number on your website

  • Add a sign up to your newsletter

  • Add buttons or links throughout your blog article especially if it is long to get people to subscribe or make contact

  • Link your article to other blog articles on your site that relate to your content

  • Link content where relevant to your services or about pages

  • Look for any cross linking to other areas of your site that will bring extra context or relevancy to your article.

Spread the word

It is all well and good writing a blog but how will people know you have written one?

Now you need to let your audience know that it exists.

  • Create social media posts, send them out regularly with the link to the blog

  • Email your clients to let them know you have new blog

  • Create a newsletter sign up on your website

  • Send out a mailing to your newsletter subscribers

  • Ask to appear as a guest blog on other company or publisher’s websites that are relevant to the subject matter

  • If you belong to any member networks can you post your article on their site?

  • Add a link to your email signature

  • Tell people it exists!

Enjoy!

Once you have got into the swing of it, enjoy it. If you struggle or don’t like writing or don’t know where to start, chat your ideas through with someone or look to engage an agency to write on your behalf.

Now for a call to action!

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