BLOGGING: there’s no easier way to promote your business, says professional copywriter and MNC member Tessa Parry-Wingfield of TPW Media. But, it must be done well.
TPW’s TOP TEN BLOGGING TIPS
• Just do it….
• …..and OFTEN
• Get across the news, then piggy back it
• Keep it SIMPLE
• Keep it SHORT
• Don’t plug your business too blatantly….(that’s an advert)
• …..but make it relevant
• Don’t be BLAND, BORING, or BLAH
• Have B.O.
• Get it out there
Just do it
Do I practice what I preach? Not as religiously as I’d like. That’s because I am too busy writing other people’s blogs. BUT, my best piece of advice to those who fear sitting down to write a blog is: just get on with it. The only thing worse than blogging, is the fear of doing it – or worrying about not doing it. You may need to catch up on Eastenders later in the week, but it’s a small sacrifice to make. Blogging is free and it’s a fantastic way to get you, your brand, or your business noticed.
So now you’ve put pen to paper (Hurrah!) you need to keep doing it if it’s going to get you clients. The drip feed approach is best for attracting new business. OK, so you don’t want to have a too ‘in your face’ attitude so people are bored of you always banging on. But, you also want to keep reminding everyone you exist. I think once a week is a lot and a tricky goal to achieve, but once a month is fine. Set a realistic target and keep it up.
Piggy back the news
Whatever industry you’re in, there are always going to be stories in the news that are relevant to what you do. Make time every week to search online for related topics. By becoming a commentator on relevant, newsy goings-on, you are positioning yourself as an expert, or an authoritative voice. That gives you kudos, an excuse to blog and a way to subtly promote your business, without being too obvious about it. More on that in a mo…..
Keep it SIMPLE
It doesn’t need to be hugely in-depth, or something that’s going to win literary awards. It just needs to read well. People who don’t enjoy writing or think they’re no good at it (often not the case) can use over-flowery words to compensate – like ‘juxtaposition’ or ‘amalgamate’. The rule is – and it was when I was a journalist too – ditch the jargon and write as if you’re speaking to an intelligent 12-year-old. That doesn’t mean you need to dumb down. It means you’re helping people digest what you’re saying. If they’re struggling they won’t make it to the end. And that’s a monumental waste of your precious time.
Keep it SHORT
300 words…maximum. Do you hear me? MAXIMUM!! Don’t write a thesis. No-one will read it, apart from your parents. 200 words are absolutely fine. One A4 page is fine. A few paragraphs are also acceptable. There are no rules, bar this: keep it concise. And that has the added bonus of saving you time – win-win!
To plug, or not to plug?
A blog that doesn’t have a reference to you or your business, or at least a reference to your website/ contact details, is a wasted opportunity. You’re not doing it for the love of it, unless you actually enjoy writing, like me. But, I always think a blog that’s very sales-y is a) less interesting for punters to read and b) basically an advert. It’s much better to think cleverly about what you write about and how you write it. People will appreciate brand you more.
Make it relevant
This point sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? But, I have read many blogs that are nice enough to read, but are nothing to do with the authors or their business. And that’s not going to win them clients. For example, an accountant may want to write about what’s going on with the Greek economy at the moment, but she shouldn’t write about how ‘sext’ and ‘photobomb’ have entered the Oxford English Dictionary. No, that’s what MY next blog will be about, as it’s relevant and also quite quirky/ funny.
Banish boring, bland, and blah
Which brings me seamlessly onto my next point….It’s easier said than done. But, you must stand out from the crowd. Think about the subject you’re going to write about. Are you the only one who’s blogging about it? Great! Or are you one of many, but you have a different or unusual take on it? Also great! For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you shouldn’t be writing about how squats are really good for you and will give you good legs. YAWN….obvious. But, if you could tell me why every piece of cardio training I’ve ever done has been a waste of time, I’d be interested (this is, in fact, a true story). Say something people aren’t expecting, like my next tip: ‘Have B.O.!’
I don’t want you to be sweating so profusely at the horror of your blogging task. But it’s good to have B.O. And by that I mean a BUSINESS OBJECTIVE. If you know why you’re writing the blog in the first place, it helps set the tone and writing style of your piece. So, for example, you may be on a campaign to drum up new clients, or you may be spreading the word about a new product or service, or you may be rebranding and need people to know about it. It’s important to know the reason for doing the blog, rather than a scatter-gun approach. And your B.O. can change with each blog.
Get it out there
I get it, it’s very daunting to have people read your work if you’re not a writer. Hell, I find it a nail-biting experience and it’s what I do. But, don’t be shy. If you don’t put it on every free platform you can, you’re not reaching every potential customer you can. So, tweet, Facebook it, LinkedIn it, put it on your website, give it to MNC if it’s relevant. Maybe even try and get it published in magazines, trade press, local newsletters, that are after free content. Think further afield than Facebook and get your friends, family and connections to spread your word.
By Tessa Parry-Wingfield, who owns her own copywriting business – TPW Media.