As you can tell from the title, it’s not always best to start from the start. This is the first in a series of blogs tackling social media. We’re starting with blogs because they are a great way of building the skills necessary for the rest of social media; clever linking, putting thoughts on paper, learning your target audience, and general writing skills.
A blog is simply a story. You’d tell it differently depending on who you were talking to; you’d start from where they left off. We follow the same rules when writing a blog.
I’m going to use Digital Glue’s blog on maximising Youtube SEO (opens in a new tab) as my example.
How to Write a Blog
Know your target audience
The first thing you should know before you start writing is who’s going to be reading. We target businesses who may not know much about Youtube, but can see its potential; therefore, we begin by addressing business needs and why we need video. If our target audience was Youtubers (a conceivably big portion of those who may find the blog), we would not need to go into any depth about the importance of video – we would not start at the start.
Apply a structure
As with any story, you need a beginning, a middle, and an end. The formatting options allow this to be made quite clear. Sub-headings allow separation of text and are easier on the eye. They also give the impression of a thought process – that the reader has a road they are being taken down, not a jungle of thoughts. This will keep them more engaged and should increase your credibility. In our Youtube blog, we began with a fairly in-depth explanation of Youtube and video. The middle was fairly easy to define – we knew there were going to be five tips, so those qualified quite clearly.
Satisfy the title
The middle satisfies the reason that the blog was clicked – this is essential, as readers need to feel like the blog is structured to their expectations. They will easily click out if they are being mislead or have to wait too long to find what they’re after. Towards the end, we summarised the purpose of the blog (to share our knowledge and encourage people to use our services) and invited readers to follow us on social media – a clean, 21st century wrap-up which means we no longer have to say goodbye. We also rewarded users who read through to the end with a sixth tip. This kind of reward encourages users to fully engage with your blog and may lead to further interactions over social media or the comments.
This is across all target audiences. There is a time to be corporate and a time to be human. Blogging is a great time to remind your audience of the face behind the company. Your writing style should include your voice and your experience – it is just too easy to switch off when you feel like you’re reading the terms and conditions. We tried to include some softer language in the Youtube blog. ‘If you bothered to read this far’ was at the sixth tip – this was close to the wind-down of the blog, and as such was more appropriate, though it is rarely inappropriate to present some emotion or humour.
Link to other content
Over time, your blogs will become relevant to each other, and also other content you’ve found across the web. Linking to these where relevant is very beneficial – it invites traffic internally and externally. It also shows that you know your stuff, that you’ve done your research. You can see that we linked our own video that had been manually transcribed to achieve this. Linked will help your blog’s ranking on search engines, too. Win win!
Pictures help break up a page along with sub-headings. It doesn’t matter greatly what pictures you choose, unless your blog relies on them. So long as they are relevant to the subject matter, pictures can just serve as a tidy bookmark for readers. See this guy?
This guy is blogging. He’s decided the hat-moustache-and-nothing-else is back from the decade time forgot, and he wants the world to know. He could add pictures of himself if he wanted, but he’s a bit shy, so he just gets pictures of the hat instead. But it helps. His readers can visualise with the help of his wordsmanship.
Check your grammar
Grammar is crucial. A poor sentence jumps from the page and won’t leave your readers alone. It shouts unprofessional and unintelligent. You don’t want that, nor do you deserve it. A badly constructed sentence is arguably worse than one with a misspelling, as a reader can fix a word quicker than they can fix a sentence. If you struggle with grammar, find someone who doesn’t – the value added (or rather, value not lost) is huge. This will naturally improve as you write.
This list is not exhaustive. I’ve covered the thought process that I adopt when writing, but there’s still more to a blog. You need to consider tagging, categorising, featuring a main picture, sharing it on social media among others. This comes under blog management, which I will be moving onto as a part of the tackling social media series. I hope this was helpful and that you’ll check back in for more.
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