Oct 7, 2014
Your content isn’t getting the credit it deserves. And it’s not fair. You’ve put all these hours into it and lots of passion and…goddamn it, someone just share it please! You shake the keyboard and think, ‘I’m never blogging again. It’s a waste of time and there are other ways to sell shoes, right?’
Wait. Before you give up, take a step back and remember your customer. It’s been a tough day for her too, She’s scouring Facebook to grab a giggle, a chat, a touch of excitement. I hate to break it to you (I really do) but she does not care about your shoes.
Let’s try a different tactic to wake her up, to grab her attention, to let her dream. We’ll tell her a story – thejourney these shoes will take her on, the man she’ll dance with, the characters she’ll meet, how she’ll feel when she slips them on. Yes, that’s right – let’s show, not tell.
And I don’t mean this in the fluffy fairy tale way. I mean let’s talk benefits over leather pigmentation and share actionable advice over meaningless generalities. Let’s link and add value, let’s steal and add originality. It got me thinking – what other advice can content writers take from fiction writers? Here’s 4 of the best…
Easier said than done, but the first thing you need to do is lock your inner editor away. Don’t write a word before you’ve shut out that niggly (yet mighty) voice in your head telling you that what you’re writing is no good. It’s not that the voice isn’t right, it’s just that you can’t afford the luxury of time to listen to it.
Some of my favourite blog posts have been created on the back of restaurant napkins, scraps of old paper or anything I can get my hands on. Why? Because instead of letting my inner editor interfere with my thought process I’m giving myself permission to get it all down and get it all out. I know I can edit it later.
Write or Die is a fun tool to try. It can help you improve your productivity when writing first drafts. The idea? It aims to eliminate your writer’s block by providing consequences for procrastination and awards for accomplishments.
A great blog post shows your reader how to do something rather than just instructing them to do it. Content writing, after all, is about providing value. For example, imagine you’re writing a blog post about a new algorithm Facebook has just implemented. Instead of simply listing the new updates announced, why not provide useful tips on how businesses can beat the algorithm and still get their posts seen?
Moz are masters at creating in-depth, expert blog posts that guide readers through a helpful step-by-step process. They provide true value with each and every blog post and avoid pushy sales tactics, that not only tell but also repel. Below is an example of one of my favourite types of posts:
What do blog posts and novels have in common? They need to be opened first. In the same way you can create a book that will never get read because of the cover, you can create a blog post that will never get opened because of the title, the excerpt, the meta description or the social media caption. Ouch.
On average 8 out of 10 people read your headline but only 2 out of 10 will read your body copy. Your headline needs to captivate and intrigue the reader enough to click through. But it also needs to clearly articulate what the your blog post is about. If it doesn’t achieve both of these objectives you risk annoying your reader and increasing your bounce rate.
Examples of Compelling & Clickable Headlines:
Here are Some Helpful Resources for Creating Your Own Powerful Headlines:
Now that you’ve created a useful and advice-packed blog post, it’s time to clean up your copy. Sure, you’re looking for typos, but you’re also looking for any inconsistencies in language, redundant sentences, clichés, sweeping generalities and “research” that can’t be backed up by figures, studies or reports.
Those genius sentences that don’t quite fit into your overall message anymore? Find them, cut them (maybe keep them for another post) and forget about them. Unlike famous fiction writers, you can’t afford a professional editor. But surely you can find a second pair of eyes before publishing your post? Perhaps your boss or a detail-obsessed colleague?
Cliché Finder helps you find and uncover pesky hidden clichés so you can remove them ruthlessly.
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