By nature, entrepreneurs love what they do. They own their own business. What could be better than that? But technology is making new demands on business people. In addition to looking after your business, you have to keep in touch with your clients online via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and, for some, “the dreaded” blog.
With 140 characters, Twitter is doable. LinkedIn can be linked to Twitter (#in) so you kill two birds with one 140 character-posting stone. Facebook can be a quick look each day, some comments and/or “thumbs up” and a brief status update. Then there’s the blog.
This is a much bigger piece of writing and, let’s face it, not everyone likes to write. Then there are people who say “I can write” but wonder why their words aren’t resonating with their readers.
As any professional writer will tell you, writing is hard work. Professional writers meticulously choose our words, cut back our copy until it’s half the original size, then we edit some more until it sounds just right. But we’re not done yet. We rely on editors, friends, family – or any objective eye – to read our copy and ensure that they understand and enjoy reading it because, if they don’t get it, then it’s not going to be clear to the reader. So it needs to be refined, yet again, until it hits the mark.
Writers also need to find topics to write about. By nature we’re full of ideas. We have files overflowing our desks or in boxes. We watch everything with a focused eye and eavesdrop more often than we like to admit. We ask too many questions (according to our family members who often think we’re just being nosy). We take notes (literally and mentally) and refer back to them for more ideas.
Sound tough? It can be. But professional writers love the challenge. For us, working with words and the process that goes with it is a labour/labor of love.
But if you’re not in love with writing, or you enjoy the process but aren’t getting what you want from your blog, here are some tips that might be helpful, in no specific order:
1. Make it relevant. Everything is changing at an incredibly rapid pace. Make your topic enduring (like a suit that doesn’t go out of style for a while), so it’s relevant to anyone who drops by to read it today, or a year from now.
2. The first few words are key. Every writer knows the lead (or lede) has to grab the reader. When it comes to online posting, you get a few seconds for the reader to decide to stay or move on.
3. Keep up the momentum. Your first sentence or paragraph could be the best thing ever written. Great! But keep that momentum going so the reader wants to stay with it until the final sentence.
4. Keep it simple. Get rid of the jargon (words that are tossed around in your professional area of expertise but mean nothing to your target market or the average reader). Use plain language (bloated sentences filled with lofty words only make people feel uncomfortable and aren’t going to endear them to you or your product/service).
5. Speak with a friendly voice. Just like the way we talk, everyone has their own “writing voice.” Read what you’ve written aloud. Listen to the words. Do they sound like you’re talking directly to the reader and making them feel comfortable? It should.
6. Don’t overdo the tech stuff. It’s great to link to a YouTube posting that fits perfectly with your blog posting, but readers will soon tire of watching those clips that aren’t always that professional. Same thing goes with fancy flash files that take a while to download. If the reader can’t get into the blog quickly they won’t wait around.
7. Had enough of the writing? Let someone else take this job off your plate so you can do what you love best. Hire someone else to do it. I call them the “ghostblogger.” Whatever they call themselves, they should be a professional, published writer.