Content Marketing: 7 Ideas to Keep Blog Writing Simple
Ray Kroc was famous for the “KISS” slogan he applied to all his endeavors: Keep it Simple, Stupid. Throughout my career, I’ve tried to honor the mantra of the hamburger king. I’ve noticed, however, that simplicity is often ignored when it comes to blog writing.
Just like a magazine article or news story, blogs need to be easy to read. Blogs are there to educate and/or entertain readers, so it's essential to give readers at least some of the goods up front. Blogs are concise pieces of mind candy—not a master’s thesis.
Some people say they can’t blog, but I don’t believe them. I advise those people to just try writing what comes from their minds and editing after. It's simple advice that's given to high school students staring at a blank sheet of college-ruled paper, but it still holds true with writing for a professional audience.
When writing blogs, know that even though your readers might be educated, you don’t always have to use sophisticated vernacular. Try some of the following ideas and see where they take you.
7 Ideas to Keep Blogging Simple:
- Who: Define your audience before you start writing. Make sure what you have to say is relevant to the people you’re writing for or else your whole blog is a lost cause.
- What: Plan your blogs. Devise a calendar. Figure out who is going to be writing the blogs. What research will they be doing? What topics will they cover?
- When: Figure out in advance when you want to post. If you want your content to fly around the web, you’ll need to put some strategic thought into it. According to Dan Zarella, HubSpot's social media expert, people read blogs early in the morning, and they usually read more than one. After posting, update your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, et cetera) to alert readers who aren't subscribed via RSS.
- Why: It might seem too "on the nose," but you need to define why you are writing blogs. Obviously, you want an ROI, but what are your specific goals? Do you want to build brand awareness? Increase your “internet savviness”? Why do you want to reach the audience you're writing for? What's the benefit for you?
- How: Pick blog topics based on trends, news, your own experiences or ideas you hear around town. Consistency counts. Don’t be too obvious if you tie in your company. If your whole blog is a blatant marketing tool, people catch on. Make it a less obvious one. And remember to link, but not too often. Don’t link out of your site unless it’s defaulted to open a new window.
- Title: The title doesn’t always have to be a complete summary of the post, but it must include at least one of your predecided keywords. Your title needs to draw the reader in. Think of magazines in the grocery aisle. What catches readers’ eyes? Titles like, “9 foods secretly making you fat,” and “Why America’s economy is turning around” are eyecatching and to the point.
- Lists: Remember that people love lists! They say if you pick an uneven number, people are more likely to believe it’s real. “Ten reasons to buy XXX” might seem like a stretch. Do there just happen to be exactly “10 reasons?” It's possible, but “7 Ideas to Keep Blog Writing Simple” could seem more organic.
Now that you have a little guidance, enjoy writing new and interesting blogs to share with the world. Your readers will thank you for giving them what they’re looking for when simplicity and planning are involved. Keep it simple!
Allison Pritchard is a professional writer with experience in various media. Most recently, she wrote blogs and other web content for Bonne Bell Company. She has a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and five years of experience as a copywriter, reporter, public relations professional and web writer.