Your 10-Step Guide on How to Write a Blog and Become an Expert Business Blogger
In this blog, we’ll cover:
What is Blogging?
Tip #1: Plan Ahead
Tip #2: Research Statistics and Quotes
Tip #3: Who Are the Readers?
Tip #4: Never Underestimate the Title
Tip #5: Keep It Brief
Tip #6: Find the Perfect Image
Tip #7: Using SEO Keywords
Tip #8: Listicles
Tip #9: Be Conversational
Tip #10: Guest Blogging
What is Blogging?
If you ask someone to define a blog, chances are, they are going to struggle to answer your question. Blogs are so diverse that it’s nearly impossible to define one definition that sums up every blog or blogger on the internet today. A blog can be anything from a page of 3 photos and one caption, to a 4,000-word article with citations. It’s not exactly the easiest topic to wrap your head around.
For the purposes of this blog, I am going to share Wikipedia’s definition with you: “A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often information diary-style text entries.”
When it comes to a business entity, blogs provide them with a unique way to connect with their consumers; blogs are informal, conversational, and less-serious than business memos and newsletters. These are blurbs of writing that make it easy for businesses to appear “human” in the eyes of their followers. That’s why blogging has become so important in the world of content marketing.
Just to give you an idea: 53% of business marketers state blogging as their #1 content marketing priority in the year 2019:
Since content is King, this statistic isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s simply going to increase, especially given the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) potential that exists within blogs (I’ll get into this in a further chapter).
So what form does a business blog generally take if blogs can be any and everything?
What is a Business Blog?
I write business blogs every single day for clients on Fiverr.com. I am a PRO verified business copywriter and blogger for businesses, ranging from sole proprietorships to some of the biggest companies in the world today. They all want the same thing – a brief, informative, casual, and informational blog that will entice their customers to click the “buy” button.
To me, a business blog is a “listicle” article that spans between 400-600 words with a catchy title, opening intro, and closing “call to action” paragraph that challenges the reader to take action. It works with every kind of business, in any type of industry.
I have been writing blogs like these for businesses since January 2015. Since then, I have completed over 6,400 orders on Fiverr.com (probably why I have carpal tunnel), and many of those orders were blog bundles. I basically eat, sleep, and breathe business blogging, as it is my #1 most successful Fiverr gig, with 700 5-star reviews and counting.
I am sharing my stats with you to show that I am qualified to impart my personal wisdom and experience when it comes to writing the perfect business blog. It took me some years to perfect this skill, but I have managed to create my own formula that has been read on the Huffington Post, Business2Community.com, Women In Digital, and the list goes on. I have been featured on CNBC, Yahoo!, CNN Money, MSN, and recently Entrepreneur Mag for my success as a business copywriter.
I eat, sleep, and breathe blog writing, and I also want you to be able to create this sought-after content for your business.
Now, I’m not saying you should altogether give up on outsourcing blogging work; if you have enough cash-flow and you absolutely hate writing and spelling, then it’s still a wise idea. But if your funds are stretched thin, blogging is one way you can save a little money – all you have to do is take a little extra time to get into the groove.
Will This Blog Help Me Write Better?
It most certainly will! I am not going to cover spelling, grammar, syntax, etc. Instead, I am going to cut right to the chase, explaining how to write the perfect business blog for your business. Since blogging is casual in nature, you don’t need a Ph.D. level vocabulary to get it right; in fact, you don’t even need to be a collegiate-level writer. You simply need to have some patience, researched stats, and common sense to write casually – much like how I am writing to you in this blog right now.
Ready to master the art of business blogging? Here is my 10-step blogger crash-course. Let’s get started.
Tip #1: Plan Ahead
If you can think back to the research paper you probably had to write for 7th or 8th grade English, you can probably remember that the worst part of the assignment was writing the outline. Why would anyone want to spend that much time writing a part of the paper that will never see the light of day?
Our teachers were onto something. Outlines dictate the flow of the blog. If you just dive right into a blog with no plan or structure, the blog is going to reflect that kind of planning. Readers need to be able to follow along in some capacity, or else they are going to flip to the next piece of writing.
That’s why you need to plan ahead. Now, a 500-word blog is not a 5,000-word research paper. Therefore, you don’t need to get all fancy with a big 10-page outline. Instead, you can just jot down a few things on a separate document ahead of time.
To get started, here is what you need at the bare minimum to bring a blog skeleton together:
● A title: The title is pretty important. One of the easiest ways to get started with a title is to google a title you have in mind and see what comes up. Have other people used this title? If yes, how many times? If it’s saturated, you might want a new title. What about other titles that pop up? Do they sound better than yours? Borrow on what they have captured in their titles, but make it original. Always remember to get at least one keyword or keyphrase into this title.
● A subtitle (option): Subtitles are not mandatory for blogs. But if you have a blogging site that permits the input of a subtitle, go for it! It’s another easy way to get your keywords into the equation. Subtitles are much less important, and more so about Search Engine Optimization.
● An opening sentence: Your blog can follow one of two formats – your opening, catch-all sentence can be the first sentence of the first paragraph, or the last sentence of the first paragraph. It’s up to you. Either way, this sentence needs to try and state the purpose of the blog, the bullet takeaways you’re about to expand upon, and at least one (or two) of your keywords. This is, many times, the hardest part of writing a blog. This sentence needs to hook readers, or you are going to lose them.
● Bullets: People love lists. It breaks up big, intimidating blocks of text. (Do you see how I am doing it right now with these bullets?) Therefore, you want to list up as much of your blogs as possible. At the very least, include three bullets per blog. This makes it easy for people to scan the blog and identify what information they are going to take away when it’s all said and done. Keep the bullet titles brief – one to four words is preferable. Don’t forget to bold them, like I have here, to make it easy on the eyes.
● References: Any blog is enhanced by statistics. You don’t have to be a professional researcher to look up “4 social media stats to know in 2019.” Take the first statistic you find and hyperlink it into the opening portion, or bullet portion, of the blog. I am going to cover this in further detail. I generally consider three references to be the perfect amount for a 500-word blog.
● Keywords: For many people, the whole purpose of a blog is for SEO. Keywords and key phrases are what people search in Google to arrive at a certain product or service. Therefore, get to know your keywords ahead of time. Either look them up yourself in Google AdWords or ask your website developer to supply them. You will want to work with about three to five of them per 500-word blog. Shove them in the title, subtitle, and opening paragraph. Studies have shown that they will carry more weight if they are used higher up in the blog.
● Call to action: Here is where you can finally reap your reward. The ‘call to action’ is where you ask people to do something. “If you’re ready to fix your roof, then click here to get on our calendar.” You get the picture. Call to actions can be aggressive and sales-based because you just gave free information to the reader throughout the blog. Make it easy for them and include a link they can click on when it’s time to get moving.
Once you have these elements down on paper, the blog is going to flow effortlessly. This is the hardest part. If you take the time to gather all of this and structure the blog nicely, the actual writing of the blog will take a maximum of 30 minutes.
You will come to love planning ahead, because planning ahead will make you feel like a better – and more efficient – writer. One of the biggest secrets to blogging is doing your homework. Once you realize how much control you can have over the output of the blog, you are actually going to come to like this part of the process.
Tip #2: Research Statistics and Quotes
There was your quick crash-course to writing the perfect blog. Now, we’re going to explore different elements of this planning in further detail. Let’s look at the research component.
From my experience, the #1 element of writing a blog that deters people from doing it is the research. Maybe we’ve been scarred from compiling APA citations in college. Or maybe we just don’t want to exert the extra effort. Whatever the reason, people do not want to search for things on google and open up articles related to the topic.
I’m here to tell you – it’s really not that scary! You don’t need to spend hours researching a topic. It’s rather simple. Let’s say you need to write a blog about the benefits of the Ketogenic Diet. Where do you begin?
Here’s what I would type into Google: The top 5 benefits of the Ketogenic Diet. What are the top benefits of the Ketogenic Diet? How can I benefit from the Ketogenic Diet?
Click search on these four different searches. The first page of results is going to contain the information you need to write the blog. I generally work with about three articles to write my one blog.
How Do I Scan Their Articles?
This will come with practice, but you will see that there is a science. I look for other listicle blogs because it’s easier to skip through the intro fluff and get right to the meat of their article. What do these articles list as benefits? Are there any overlaps in their bullets?
You want to make sure that your blog never appears plagiarized, which is why I always take a few bullets from different articles and put them together in mine. That way, no one can ever say you took all of your information from just one source.
Now that you have your three articles and their bullets to use, if you really want to go above and beyond, it’s time to think about quotes.
Quotes can add a tremendous amount of legitimacy to a blog. You can use a quintessential quote, like something from Shakespeare, or you can quote the article you are using as a reference. If you are going to do this, please stick to reputable sources. This includes Forbes, the Washington Post, the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, etc. If you are going to take a direct quote, please put quotation marks around the quote and cite the author at the end of it. Then, hyperlink to the article you pulled the quote from.
When you hyperlink back to an article in your blog, this is known as back-linking. Back-linking is one of the biggest SEO marketing tips in the game today. Researchers have deduced that Google’s algorithm determines if a piece of content is valuable or not based on how much “other people” write about it. So your backlink will be much appreciated!
This is an excellent way for you to get some traction on your blog. In the last chapter of this blog, I am going to look at more ways for you to lead readers to your blog, including the power of the backlink.
Take some time to practice these research and quote tactics. Compile some of your favorite quotes and come up with hypothetical research requirements. Pretend you are writing a blog for a home renovation company.
Practice makes perfect! I was not nearly as quick at this process starting out. Now, I can do it in my sleep. Don’t let the concept of research intimidate you – anyone can use the Google search engine!
Tip #3: Who Are the Readers?
Up until now, we’ve been focusing on the meat of the blog. That’s with good reason, considering the actual blog itself is the most important part of the equation. But let’s take a pause to think about the people consuming the blog. After the creation of the blog, the second most crucial part of this equation is the people reading the blog.
These are the people, after all, that you want to take action when they are done reading the blog. Well, if you run a mommy-and-me blog, and create blog content that is appealing to 65-year-old men, your blog isn’t going to get anywhere. You need to pander to your audience in some capacity. That’s why you need to know who your readers are.
Identifying who your readers are is very similar to finding a “target audience” for a business. It’s going to require some not-so-fun research and contemplation.
Here are some of my tips for helping you to define your target market:
1. Check Out the Competition:
I am a big believer in stalking your competition. How are you going to emerge as #1 if you don’t know what they’re doing or who they’re marketing to? Check out their blogs and see who is commenting on their content. What is their age? Gender? Do they seem to have similar interests? Take this information as your starting point, and run with it.
2. Analyze Your Product:
What do you want to convince your reader of doing by the end of the blog? Think about it for a second. If you want them to sign up for something that is expensive, then you probably don’t want to target 16-year-olds. But if you want to get a 14-year-old to ask their parents to subscribe them to your blog, then consider a level of readability that is for a younger audience.
3. Test it Out:
It’s always wise to pursue a little A/B testing. What this means is simply trying out two different strategies, and seeing which one sticks. If you have a hunch that your ideal demographic is women ages 33-45, try out one blog on motherhood, as well as one blog for women who are not mothers. This is a great way to see where your following falls for future marketing purposes. You can compare analytics and engagement with simple tools in any blog/website.
4. Constantly Research Your Market:
What people want today can quickly change tomorrow. That’s why it’s so important to never get complacent with your blog. If you are blogging about the neon clothing trend happening right now as we near Fall 2019, know that such information will be irrelevant one-year from now. Make it a habit every morning when you wake up to research your market and ensure that you are relevant.
5. Look Over Your Subscription List:
This is a little more advanced, but still available to you. If you have a subscription newsletter on your blog, people are willingly giving you their email address in exchange for content. You can use these email addresses with different software to find their exact demographics. You don’t necessarily have to do this step, but it’s always something available to you if you want to be at the top of the competition.
Once you know who your reader is, you’ll be able to create blog content that is more in-line with their interests. Plus, knowing who they are will help you draft up blog outlines that are relevant and well-received.
For example, my target audience when writing these blogs are professionals and millennials ages 25-40. It’s both men and women wanting to learn more about how they can join the gig economy and work at home. Knowing this, I am now writing this blog in a way that is enticing to you. How? I am offering up tips that will answer your burning questions.
Onto the next tip! The title.
Tip #4: Never Underestimate the Title
Did you know that the human attention span is the lowest ever, thanks to technology today? According to a study released by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of 8-10 seconds, which is a decrease from an attention span of 12-seconds in the year 2000. It’s probably only going to decrease as the content becomes shorter, quicker, brighter, and more engaging than ever before.
Whether you like this change or not, it’s important to play along with what’s happening today. That means your blog title is the most critical element of the blog. When that blog lands in search results, on a website, or on social media, many people will simply read the title and the one-sentence summary. That’s it.
It’s the reason why “fake news” is being shared across social platforms. Many people aren’t even opening up the article to actually read it. Of course, you should still write a beautiful blog for those that do open it up (plus the SEO element). But just know that your title needs to play into the attention deficit nature of our society.
Knowing this, your title needs to be brief, engaging, provocative, unique, and informative. Wow. That’s a lot of things to keep in mind for a 5 to 12-word title. It’s true.
Let’s break this down a little further.
Google’s SEO rules state that an ideal title is 25-80 characters in length. This comes to about 5-12 words or so. Do not, under any circumstances, make the title longer than that. There is no need, and you are undoubtedly going to lose readers; not to mention, miss out on that SEO value.
I always stick to this rule when writing blogs for clients on Fiverr.com. Some classic, brief title examples include:
● Check Out Our Labor Day Sale, Happening Now!
● Here Are 5 Ways You Are Exposing Yourself to Cancer
● Here’s How You Can Shed Excess Weight Before 2020
As you can see, you can say a lot in a little. It’s always a good idea to look at your current title and analyze how you can cut it down to fewer words.
Next, you want to engage your reader. You don’t want a boring title. Let’s say you need to write a blog about a new charcoal toothpaste. Here’s how you can make it boring:
● Charcoal Toothpaste is Now Available
This title tells me nothing exciting about the product. Charcoal toothpaste can be very exciting – it uses charcoal, a substance typically used for starting fires, in your mouth. But with a title like that, I am anything but engaged.
Let’s try it again:
● Charcoal Toothpaste Can Make Your Smile Whiter Overnight
● Did You Know Charcoal Toothpaste Can Whiten Your Teeth?
● Here Are 5 Reasons Why You Need to Try Charcoal Toothpaste
Much better. Now I actually want to click on the link and find out what charcoal toothpaste can do for my smile.
Now, I’m not advocating for lying or stretching the truth like so many media publications are doing today. But if you want to be accessible in news searches, there needs to be a provocative element to your titles. You need to ensure there’s a word in there that calls someone to do something, or catches their attention as they sift through search results.
In the above examples, I used words like overnight and need to imply a sense of urgency. You need to convince the reader they are going to miss out on something big if they don’t click on your title. Telling them that they could be “exposing their body” to something hazardous if they don’t learn more about your product will certainly get them to do so.
I always do a Google search to ensure my title idea hasn’t been used 100 times over. If you come up with a title that you think is great, copy and paste it into Google. If there are other high-ranking articles with that same title on Forbes, etc., it’s best to come up with a new title that is unique. It will make it easier for you to shine through the competition. Plus, it’s a good indicator that you should consider a new angle so that your blog is completely original, and therefore, desired by readers.
Last but not least, you need to ensure your title is informative. Simply stating a topic without any kind of information isn’t going to pique people’s interest. Making a title like, “We Have a Sale Now,” didn’t tell me what the sale was about, why it’s happening, or how long it’s happening. What are you selling at the sale?
How about: “Check Out Our Labor Day Sale, Happening Now Through Sept. 2nd.” Now I know what the sale is about, how long it’s happening, and that it’s presently available for me to check it out.
Think about common sense here. Is your title accurately telling the reader about the information inside? Don’t hint about facts completely unrelated to the content inside.
As you can see, never underestimate the title of a business blog. In a way, it’s the hardest and easiest part of starting and finishing a blog. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize it’s not too difficult to craft attention-seeking titles.
Let’s now look at the importance of brevity when blogging.
Tip #5: Keep It Brief
I once read a blog title on Google, “Are you too lazy to write less?” It really stuck with me. You might think that writing with brevity is easier than writing extensive pages of text, but I want you to think again. It actually takes precision and careful crafting to write a brief blog. You want to pack as much information and wit into the fewest words possible. The English language comes with plenty of overuse prepositions and adjectives that we can take out of a paragraph – but it takes time and dedication. Simply stated: it takes effort to write less.
However, as I have just written above, nothing is more important than writing with brevity today. You will lose your reader immediately if they open a blog to 2,000 words with no lists, paragraph breaks, or photos. And even if you have all of those things, 2,000 words is probably STILL too long.
I don’t know about you, but I am about done at the 1,000-word mark. I’m a busy woman, which means I don’t have time to read something that will take 15 minutes when I could get that same information in 5 minutes. That’s how most people think today.
Here are a few of my tips I have learned after 5 years writing blogs on Fiverr.com:
1. The Perfect Word Count is 500-Words: Google’s SEO tools kick in at the 500-word mark. Therefore, I write blogs that hover right around 500 words, no less and no more. It’s a great length to communicate everything that needs to be said without getting too wordy. Challenge yourself to stay within this limit. That’s how I learned to write with brevity.
2. If Necessary, Don’t Go Over 1,000-Words: I understand some topics require more words, like a list of 10+ things. That’s fine. If I were you, I would not go over 1,000 words. You will undoubtedly lose your audience. You would lose me!
3. Don’t Forget Pictures: I will touch on this in a future chapter. Basically, massive blocks of text are scary to our eyes. Break up blogs with beautiful images.
4. Break Up the Text as Much as Possible: Try to keep paragraphs no longer than 4 sentences, if you can. It creates a much more appealing visual image to our eyes and challenges you to wrap up a thought in just a few sentences.
From my experience, I can say that writing with brevity is a learned skill. After years of doing this, writing with brevity comes naturally to me. But that wasn’t always the case. That’s why practice is going to make perfect.
Practice writing 500-word blogs on a variety of topics, limiting yourself to that word count every single time. You will see that some things get left out. How do you know which things to keep in? Through engagement rates with your posts, you will start to learn about what your readers want to learn and see. After a while, it will all come naturally. I promise!
Let’s dive deeper into the topic of imagery.
Tip #6: Find the Perfect Image
This might seem funny since you’re reading a blog specifically on writing. However, it would be negligent of me to talk about blogging and not mention the importance of photos. I can’t tell you how many times I write a blog for a client, knowing it’s not going to go anywhere if they don’t include at least ONE photo with the 500-word post.
● People remember only 10% of information three days after hearing it. Adding a picture can improve that recall to 65%.
● Nearly two-thirds of the population identifies as visual learners.
● Consumers are more likely to think favorably of posts that emphasize images.
● Marketers rank images as the most important content type available today.
● 68% of marketers plan on using more images in the future.
I could keep going. There’s a reason Instagram is the fastest growing social media app today. We all want to look at images before anything else. It’s easy, it’s quick, and it’s pretty to our eyes. That’s why the perfect blog image is so important for the survival of your blog.
What constitutes this perfect image?
Tips for Finding the Perfect Blog Image
At the end of the day, we relate to other people. We want to see images with other people in them. It makes it easier for us to imagine ourselves in their shoes. It’s best to include a blog image that has a person doing something in it. This can be a good way to relate to your ideal audience. Let’s say you are selling Wi-Fi pods that are directed at the Asian market. Including a photo of a Japanese girl is going to more accurately resonate with your audience than an image of an American girl. It can be an easy way to pander to your audience.
2. Eye Contact:
Studies show that eye contact in photos helps them perform better online. When you make eye contact with someone staring back at you, you are more likely to click the link, etc. This same concept holds true on Instagram photo engagement! We want to connect with each other, which starts with eye contact.
Gone are the days when dark, blurry photos were enough online. The competition for photography is next level, which is why your image needs to be bright, crystal clear, focused, and properly composed. If possible, try and keep it simple to look at. If the viewer has to piece the picture apart, they are going to move onto the next blog.
There is less pressure for the additional images you include in the blog. But my rule of thumb is to add one photo per every 250-words. So, in a 500-word blog, you should have two photos prepared for the posting.
Don’t forget to tag these images! Photos are some of the easiest ways to juice up your SEO with hidden keywords. Each blog site is different, so be sure to look up the specific rules per your platform.
You’re probably tired of reading the acronym SEO at this point. Trust me, I get it. SEO can be highly confusing. I am going to do my best to break down SEO practices in blogging next.
Tip #7: Using SEO Keywords
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) simply refers to the ranking of articles in newsfeeds. Google has its own SEO practice (which is never made public) that ranks each new piece of content as it’s spewed out into the internet. Google has one job: to ensure it’s displaying the most relevant, researched, and viewed content to viewers. They are running a business at the end of the day, which is why they have different tricks for identifying if your content deserves a spot on the results of the first page.
I could probably write three separate blogs on SEO, as it relates to blogs – that’s how vast this topic is. But for the sake of brevity and understanding, I am going to include the most important elements of SEO keywords, as well as a quick touch on backlinking.
What Are SEO Keywords?
SEO keywords are the words or phrases that people search in Google to find your business. Let’s say you sell vintage clothing and you are located in Albany, New York. Your keywords would be along the lines of: vintage clothing, vintage clothing near me, Albany vintage clothing, vintage clothing in Albany, Albany thrift stores, and the list goes on.
You don’t want to guess when it comes to keywords. These terms are what improved your searchability in Google. I simply use the Google Keyword Planner to find the right terms for the client I am working with that day. It’s easy, free, and will ensure your content is relevant and valuable.
How Many Keywords Should I Use?
Here is where you need to be careful. Google is smart. They know when people “keyword stuff.” This is a practice whereby an excessive amount of keywords are shoved into a piece of content, degrading from its value by the time you’re done reading. Although no one knows the keyword sweet spot, I have read that utilizing three keywords per 500 words is a good practice. It’s natural-looking and won’t set off any alarms, but it’s also helpful at the same time. Three keywords are a great start for enhancing your online visibility.
Where Do the Keywords Go?
Again, no one really knows the answer to this either, but some sites claim they have it figured out. The most popular one is Yoast. This plugin will help you identify the SEO score of your blog. It will guide you through placing the keywords in the title and first paragraph, as well as throughout the rest of the blog. It will also tell you about duplicate content (if more than 10% of your content is plagiarized, Google will flag it).
There are other options besides Yoast. If you don’t want to make this too complex, here are a few rules of thumb:
● Pick your target keyword. This keyword needs to appear in the title, the first paragraph of the blog, and the HTML summary.
● Identify your other two, less relevant keywords. These can go in the blog naturally, wherever possible.
● Use Google Keyword Planner to find additional keywords for images. Some sites let you tag up to 15-20 keywords per image. Be sure to use ALL of them.
I am going to stop there. SEO is highly complex and confusing, and should never detract from the quality of your writing. If you are stretching to fit in a key phrase, simply select another word. It’s not worth it for both your readers, as well as the potential of “keyword stuffing.”
This is another huge word thrown around the world of blogging. Backlinking, after SEO keywords, is another way Google identifies valuable content. Think about it for a second. There are more than 70,000 Google searches every single SECOND. The Google algorithm needs to be able to rank content quickly and effectively for readers.
One great way to do that is to read the number of backlinks pointing to an article. Let’s say you wrote a blog for Forbes. The blog was so good that Entrepreneur Mag, Fortune, and a slew of tinier blogs mentioned it in their blogs. As they mentioned your article, they hyperlinked to your stat or a specific quote. When they did this, they created a backlink. It’s a link pointing back to the source blog.
The more backlinks a piece of content has, the more valuable Google thinks it is. That’s why guest blogging is so popular, as well as the creation of ranking lists that hyperlink to eight different businesses in a “yearly roundup.” Press releases, too, are a great way to backlink to an ideal business content source.
If you want more backlinks, you need to create a blogging strategy that is interesting and engaging. You can also supply data and statistics that are brand new and desirable. If you work in a niche industry, like sock manufacturing, you can be the source of stock consumption stats that all other retail blogs cite in their blogs. The sky is the limit!
Ok, let’s take a break from this intense internet chat. Let’s talk about the importance of listicle blogs.
Tip #8: Listicles
I know I’m probably starting to get redundant here. But let me remind you one more time: people have short attention spans today. They are going to skip over big blocks of text, boring blogs, and articles with no images. They are going to look for the blog that does give them all of this, in a fraction of the time.
If you want to ensure your blog text is anything but overwhelming, you need to break it up. Our brains love making lists. In fact, it’s a psychological desire all human beings have – we want things to be organized. That’s why we feel happier when our homes are clean and clear. It’s more approachable for our brains.
When things are in lists, you can also skip to the topic or point that you are looking for at that point in time. Maybe you don’t need to read the whole list. You just want to check out one fact in particular.
When things are written in lists, they are essentially equipped with their own table of contents. Now you can skip around as you please, saving time in the process.
That’s why listicles are the #1 blogging structure of today. They perform well, they break up texts, they make it easy to skip around the article, and they make it easy to pair up relevant images. To be honest, I only write in listicles for clients on Fiverr.com. It’s a huge hit with every single client because they can quickly and clearly see everything I created for them. There’s just something so satisfying about staring back at a perfectly listed piece of writing. I am sure you agree!
Here are a few of my best practices when drafting your listicle article:
1. How Many Words Are There Going to Be?
If you are writing a 500-word blog, then you can stick to anywhere from 3-6 points for that blog. The points will require about 50-100 words each to hammer home their relevance. I generally do “5 reasons why” or “5 reasons how” for 500-words. It’s just easy math! If you’re writing a 1,000-word blog, then you can stretch that list up to 10 or 12 points.
I would definitely not go over 100 words per point. That’s how blogs start to look overwhelming.
2. Include Bolded/Italicized Text
Changing up the actual presentation of your text can make it easier on the viewers’ eyes. I try and bold the title to every listicle point I make (like I did above). When I include quotes or extra important text, I then italicize it and give it its own row. This is just another easy way to make it easier to read the text.
3. Does It Look Good When It’s All Done?
When you’re done with the blog, sit back and look at it. In fact, give yourself a 5-minute break and come back. Sometimes it’s hard to see what it actually looks like after it flew out of your brain and into a Word Document. Does the listicle look approachable and easy to read to you? Would you read it if it came up in your social media feed? See what your gut tells you.
When in doubt: write out a listicle. They’re engaging, well-received, and easy to share on social media. Plus, it makes it easier for you to plan out the blog when you’re writing according to 5-points.
Next, let’s look at the actual tone of your writing.
Tip #9: Be Conversational
No one wants to be lectured by a Ph.D. physicist when reading a blog. That’s why writing at the level of a 7th grader is the preferred English level for blogs. It doesn’t mean your readers are stupid or unable to process intellectual language; it just means they are busy. They want you to cut to the chase, right?
Using pretentious 14-letter words make it harder for them to arrive at a conclusion. They’re going to move on. You want to use everyday language that almost everyone can understand because you never want to alienate could-be consumers. Therefore, it’s best to play it safe and keep your sentences short, and your words shorter.
Much like how I am writing this blog.
That’s good news for the non-professional writers of the world! You really don’t have to be a journalistic prodigy to write effective and engaging blogs. You just need to be practical and attention-seeking.
Now, it’s up to you what tone you want to use in your writing. I have found that people prefer a conversational, laid-back tone. Again, much like how I am writing this blog. It can make even the most boring of topics digestible. If people feel like they are talking to a friend, they are going to let down their guard and possibly react to your call-to-action.
Conversational writing means that:
● You can use contractions, like don’t, won’t, and can’t.
● You can use fun punctuation, like exclamation points.
● You can italicize quotes and text to make it sound like an out-loud conversation.
● You can use “incorrect” words, like gonna.
Basically, conversational writing means you are going to write like you are having a conversation. Again, it makes life much easier for you, and it makes your writing that much more fun to read!
There’s no better example than how I have been writing this blog. Check out how I have formatted pages and how I am talking to you, directly, as you read along with me here.
Really, practice is going to make perfect when it comes to this style of writing. I wasn’t perfect at it when I first started, and you won’t be either. That’s perfectly ok.
Use an Editor
When I am done writing this blog, I will submit it to an editor on Fiverr.com to ensure I didn’t miss any typos. You should be doing the same. Whether you send it to someone at your work, a friend, or simply use Fiverr.com as well (it’s as little as $5 per 500-word edit), you won’t regret it.
There’s nothing more unprofessional than a misspelling or extra spaces in your sentences. It will tell people that you’re not willing to put in the money to have your writing checked.
We’re almost there! Onto guest blogging.
Tip #10: Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a really popular way to get some extra exposure and backlinks for your blog or company today. It’s simply the act of submitting a blog that you wrote for someone else to post. If you are in the marketing industry, finding marketing 101 blogs, etc. that are third-party blogs, and submitting your blog for them to post, is a great way to further enhance your credibility.
Plus, when they post the blog, they will be activating a backlink that points to your website. Remember those? The more you can secure, the better!
I have a few tips for approaching guest blogging:
Tip #1: Make Connections
There are Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, etc. entirely dedicated to guest blogging. I suggest searching around these sites and making connections with people. They will agree to guest blog for you if you agree to do it in return. You can also connect with people who own the blogs or publications. If you befriend them, they will take your guest blogs frequently.
Sites like the Huffington Post allow you to become a contributor, whereby you can share your expertise on a regular basis. It’s not easy to “get in,” but if you do, it’s a great place to guest blog on your business’ behalf.
Tip #2: Mention Other Companies in Your Blogs
This is a fun trick that really works. Let’s say you own a nail salon. You can make an “end of the year” top 10 nail polish list, where you tag all 10 companies in your blog. They are going to see that you did this, and they are going to be appreciative. Get in contact with them and propose that they rank nail salons in return.
Many people will be willing to go along with this. It’s another easy way to get that backlink.
Again, if you want your blogs to get picked up on other sites, you need to first ensure that you put in the time, research, and effort into crafting an engaging, brief, and unique blog post. That’s why I have included this tip last. It’s not really about writing the blog, more so pushing it out into the world once it’s all said and done.
I couldn’t leave ya hanging!
And there you have it! There is every last detail my brain contains about writing the perfect business blog. I have written over 4,000 blogs in the last 5 years for clients on Fiverr.com, which has helped me create a formula that I find works with about 99% of buyers.
Every person is unique, which means you are more than welcome to tweak my tips here to your requirements.
My best advice for getting started is just to DO IT. I know it can be scary. Writing is tedious, which means that yes, even I put off writing these blogs. But once you sit down and commit, the words just start to flow.
Everything gets easier with practice, which is why you should practice this many times over before posting a blog. The good news is – it’s free for you to do, and no one needs to see the blog if you don’t want it to go anywhere.
Better yet, hiring an editor can ensure your blog is perfectly cleaned up by the time you post it. You can be a pretty terrible writer and still end up with a gorgeous blog if you use the right editor (see my other blogs for vetting the right provider on Fiverr.com).
Of course, if this sounds miserable to you, then you can always hire me at fiverr.com/faswaldo.
Let me know if you enjoyed reading along with me in the comments below! I would greatly appreciate it.
Stay tuned for the future making money at home blog. Cheers!