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7 Oct 2019

5 Ways to make writing blogs easier

Digital Growth Programme expert Liam Lally has given us some pointers on effective blogging, including details of tools that can help you along the way.

Blog post written by Liam Lally: 

Liam Lally

Whether this is to drive more traffic to your website, create more content to share on social media, to increase the chances of your website showing up organically in search or just to educate your customers, prospects and business associates about the different products and / or services that you can offer, blogging is now an essential way to market your business online.

The problem for most businesses is that we’re not all natural writers, and once we are asked to write a blog we sit and stare at a blank page on a laptop or computer, wondering where to start and what to blog about.

Here are 5 tips or tools to help you with your blogging at each of the stages we often get stuck:

1. Ideas (what to blog about)
Planning WHAT to write is the key to making it easier to write and maintain content for a great blog. One of the simplest ways to come up with content ideas is to simply answer questions about your product or service.

A great website that can help you with this is https://answerthepublic.com

Put in a keyword or phrase related to your business, and see the many questions people have asked online about that topic. Export these questions and start to formulate a content calendar to cover these questions.

Some of these questions might be simple answers and others may need a longer form answer, so it might be sensible to put the short form questions together and create a “10 things you didn’t know about” blog post At the time of writing you can still do a couple of free searches per day on this website so use them wisely. 

2. Write don’t edit
How often do you sit down, with your idea firmly in mind, and then take 30 minutes to write the first sentence? In that time, you’ve changed your mind four times, you’ve corrected three spelling mistakes and you’ve made two grammatical changes!

The best way to write your blog is to write – don’t worry about spelling mistakes or the content being in the correct order, just get everything from your brain down on to the paper.

This is your FIRST draft When we read content online we are seeing a version that has probably gone through multiple drafts and changes, yet when it comes to writing our own we think we will be hitting the publish button once we’ve finished.

Editing your content from the minute you type your first word will mean you are constantly losing your train of thought, spending more time on spelling mistakes and less time on sharing your amazing knowledge about your topic. So WRITE, don’t edit

3. Dictate your blog post
I’ve come across many business owners over the last 10 years, who when asked to write a piece of content about their industry that they are experts at, will sit staring blankly at a screen. It seems the minute people ask them to “write”, their mind goes blank.

And yet if I was to ask them a question about the subject they are writing about, and they can answer verbally, they would come back with a fantastic detailed and well-presented answer.

If this describes you, then you might find it easier to dictate your answers (again first draft!) to your phone or computer. Google docs, Windows 10 and Apple all have dictation features – in fact, this article was initially dictated to a Google doc before the editing and refinement started!

4. Use images
When people are reading articles online, it can help to maintain the reader’s attention by using images throughout your blog. Your brain processes images 60,000 times quicker than text (hello Instagram!) so use them in your blog to tell the story.

Using your own images is always the best place to start but if you don’t have the time to take these pictures then head to websites that offer royalty-free images – these include: Pexels.com Unsplash.com Stocksnap.io

However ALWAYS check the usage rights of these images before adding them to your blog even if they come from these websites.

5. Proofreading
Once your blog is complete, ideally you would want someone to read the blog and help correct any errors. This is great if you have work colleagues or friends that are willing to do this for you however sometimes you might not be able to call on this help.

A couple of apps that can help you do this yourself are: Hemingwayapp.com Grammarly.com

Copying your blog content across to these apps or websites can give you lots of feedback that you can use to improve your writing (or you can choose to ignore).

Bonus content – Making your blog sharable Once your blog is live you will want to make it as interesting as possible to drive readers to read your article.

Why not create a short, eye-catching video of the main points of your blog?

Lumen5.com is a great website that allows you to upload your blog and then choose images & videos to create content that will stop those thumbs scrolling on the social media platforms. 

All these tools & tips (and more!) are covered in the programme’s blogging workshop. A new schedule of events will be announced shortly and listed on our events pagewww.leics-digital.co.uk/events

If you haven't yet signed up for the programme get in touch today!

You can contact Events and Engagement Officers, Kam.Atker@emc-dnl.co.uk or Collette.Degia@emc-dnl.co.uk to learn more about digital support for your business.