PR From The Saddle: Blogging masterclass – 8 top tips for writing success
Lost for words? Don’t know where to start? Tara Punter – of Tara Punter PR – shares her tips for successful blogging.
What’s the very easiest way to drive more traffic to your website for free? Effective, SEO optimised blogging! Inbound marketing experts HubSpot state that 69% of businesses attribute their lead generation success to blogging and 57% of companies with a blog have generated a lead from a blog, so it’s not just an opinion, it’s fact. Writing blogs may seem like an easy task to tick off that lengthy to-do list – bash out a few hundred words to boost your web traffic and then move onto the next task. There are two things I would say to that:
Firstly, if you don’t think about who will read your blog and what you want them to do afterwards, then the time spent writing it probably going to be wasted. If you’re a farrier and you blog about the state of the roads in your patch, you’ll probably just list on searches by pothole-haters! Stick to blogs about subjects that will resonate with people who are looking for products and services just like yours.
Secondly, writing does seem straightforward until you sit down at your laptop to make a start. No matter how relevant your point of view is or interesting the content, if a blog isn’t well written and carefully structured people may struggle to engage with it and give up reading.
PR and journalism naturally involve an awful lot of writing – press releases, blogs, social media messages, advertorials and articles – so I’ve developed a tried and tested method to help me write in a way that is clear and engaging. If perfecting your blogging is high on your list for 2019, then I hope these tips will help you.
- Decide exactly what you want to say before you start. It’s easy to start and then go off on a tangent when you get into your stride. Plan what you want to say and who you are saying it to – write as though you are speaking to your ideal customer!
- Include a call to action – what do you want people to do after they’ve read your blog, for example sign up to your newsletter or browse your products? Make sure you include a ‘call to action’ at the end that signposts them there.
- Find some evidence to support your point. Are there any key statistics, relevant news stories or recent research that you can quote that supports your point of view (or that you want to argue against)? Snippets such as these can really hook an audience in and make them interested in what you have to say.
- Do your research – even if you know your subject inside out, make sure you take a little time to check that things you count as facts are actually the facts! Well worth doing just in case your blog should go viral. I recently saw a blog about the staffing crisis in horse racing go viral and it quoted some figures about the rates of pay for self-employed work riders and the amount of work on offer. Several people questioned the validity of those stats, but the author was able to signpost people in the direction of the very yards and trainers being mentioned.
- Write a first draft. Ideally don’t then look at the blog again until you’ve had at least a good night’s sleep. It’s incredible how much better a piece is if you come back and look at it with fresh eyes.
- Tweak the structure and consider SEO. A blog will be easier to read and be better optimised for SEO if you use subheadings and bullet points rather than one big block of text. Would you have read to here if you’d had to wade through one giant paragraph…?!
- Carefully proofread your blog. Or, if you know grammar and punctuation aren’t your strongest points, get someone else to read it through for you. It is quite amazing how many mistakes you notice when you read back through your work even if you think you’ve been very careful throughout.
- Source some strong images, but if you didn’t personally take them then make sure you have permission to use them. There are some great free image websites out there, but still check the terms and conditions to ensure you are allowed to use them for commercial purposes and that you can edit them, if you intend to overlay colours or text.
Good luck in your blogging endeavors and remember that if you want to have a brand-new blog on your website every week but simply don’t have time, Tara Punter PR can help you! Just drop us a line to find out more.
Tara Punter PR is an equestrian and rural PR, journalism and social media company based in the Cotswolds. Tara has been helping businesses with their social media for five years – a business transformed into an internationally-loved brand that’s become synonymous with the success of small, medium and large businesses in the rural sectors. Tara is a horse lover herself, having been riding and largely involved with the equine industry for nearly 30 years. She helps business owners grow businesses through PR, social media, blogging and journalism and offers affordable and high value packages to her client base across the UK and beyond.