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Trying to Figure out How to Blog Better?

By on February 14, 2016 in Blogging Tips, Roadmap with 18 Comments

Are you still staring at that white screen waiting for inspiration to blog better?

Blogging can be intimidating because you are trying to create content that brings people to your website and encourages them to do business with you. For online leads, this will be the first impression a new customer gets of your company.

So, how do you create a process for blogging that will rank well and create consistently good reads to entice people to click and check you out? The last thing you want to do is waste a site surfer’s time, there is too much else they can easily be looking at on the screen.

Here’s a few ideas to get the blog juices flowing!

Create an editorial calendar

This sounds like a commitment but can be as simple as writing down a list of topics (whiteboard them), creating a Google Calendar or using a plugin on your site, do whatever it takes to help you blog better. 

The folks over at Buffer cover it well here:

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 9.37.20 AM

Painting is a somewhat seasonal thing, so its possible to do well-written content around what customers must be thinking about for their homes.

Having a plan laid out helps you to think about topics ahead of time. There’s more to blogging than just sitting down, thinking of something and writing it. Those are the worst blogs to read because you can tell someone hammered out quick, just to get a blog done and off the list. Potential customers showing up at your site may want you to blog better than that. They are not there to appreciate your writing prowess, but your words are the picture you paint for them on first impression.

The best writers we know jot down notes on topics that they can incubate and expand upon later. Capture your ideas in whatever form you can so they don’t get lost. Be thoughtful in your approach, and remember that people like topics that are presented with the intent to help, not sell.

In addition to seeking new leads, blogs are also a great way to keep your current customers thinking about you, particularly when supplemented by a newsletter. Steve Burnett of DYB Coach reminds his clients to stay “top of mind” with customers.

blog better 

“It costs 500% more to acquire a new lead. Yet, that’s what we are traditionally taught to do, when we have a goldmine of leads, actually raving fans, that we allow to forget about us. If we create systems and habits to leverage these top 4 avenues, to stay Top of Mind, we’ll build a highly profitable business of A and B clients, without making a sale.”

How do You find Topics to Write about?

At the beginning of of our Roadmap series, we observed:

“Now that most everyone has a built a platform to blog on and published several variations of “Why we are the best painters”, “Which Paint should you use” and a few “Before and After” posts it’s time to rethink content and why we are blogging.”

If you’ve done the hard work of creating good SEO for your site/blog, it’s really important to make sure that when potential customers get there, they actually like the look and feel of what you have to say. You only get one chance to make a first impression and you only have a few seconds to earn a favorable one – meaning, the reader doesn’t click away. 

Here are some ways to get inspired to create good original content:

blog betterContent expert Tess Wittler has a list of 52 ideas to stimulate the writer in you. Building ideas into your Editorial Calendar in advance will keep writer’s block from setting in later.

Tess also shares some great suggestions on content writing and newsletters, we’ll be talking to her in an upcoming article to follow up on “How to create a better Newsletter”.

 

 

blog betterDarren Slaughter’s advice is simple, and spot on. Check out his video on the left.

“You being the pro that you are, realize it can’t always be about you, make your blog topics appeal to people who are interested in a “change” and see what your blog traffic does!”

Video is one of the most powerful ways to share your information these days. In fact, it’s becoming more the preferred means of how people search for information. So, don’t be afraid to show in addition to telling.

What are some of the questions you get asked by customers? Those are probably some of the same ones that future customers are searching for when they spot your in the search results.

Show it. Tell it. Own it. Blog better.

Create an Outline

Derek Halpern at Social Triggers has a great infographic here about how to layout blog posts for visual appeal. 

blog betterRemember, when you create a gap between what people know, and what people want to know, they feel compelled to fill that gap.

So, if you want to pull people into your content, you should create that information gap early in your article.

Source

Put yourself in the shoes of the person who might show up via Google and see what you have written. What do you yourself look for when reading other people’s content? If it’s unreadable, uninteresting or just plain ugly, you click away and regret wasting the time visiting a junky and unhelpful article.

Always go back and flesh out your initial outlines and drafts. People will click on it if they found your topic interesting enough to look at, don’t give them a reason to click away. Once they are gone, they won’t come back. That is the best way to lose a lead before you even get one. 

Review, Revise and edit

blog betterWalk away from the piece for a bit. Then come back and read it, out loud. Share it with someone else, ask their opinion. If you are fortunate to have a mentor, ask them to critique, and consider their suggestions without getting offended. Here at BP, we use Google Documents to share drafts and brainstorm.

Publish and share

blog betterBefore you publish a piece, make sure it is optimized for SEO, check your keywords and Meta tags. Also, be sure that your post has a featured image that is appropriately sized so it will appear correctly in social media. That is really important to enticing people to click on the link to begin with. 

Bottom Line: Don’t forget who you are writing to in your blogs. You may be sharing them on Facebook, but ultimately the goal is to get it out past your colleagues, friends and family who already know that you are a paint company. You are putting it out there to connect with customers who don’t know you yet, and you are in competition for attention in the world of everything else that they are looking at on their computers or devices.

And that’s what we’ll be talking about next week!

Feel free to leave a link to your latest blog post for others to see in the comments below!

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There Are 18 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Great post. Very inspiring

  2. Gabe Ewing says:

    My biggest challenge is the urge to push “Publish”. I get excited when finishing the article, I end up posting an article with gramer and spelling issues. It is no mystery that this has been a issue I continue to work on. I also end up publishing or market the article at the wrong time. For some reason I think everyone is awake at 3am waiting for my article to appear on their Facebook timeline.

    Great points! I would love to read an article regarding how to use meta tags and edit the OG information in WordPress… Please put this on your editorial calander Chris 😛

    • Chris Haught says:

      Hi Gabe, I know, I do the same thing! That’s when it is great to have a mentor or blog buddy. Putting it in Google Docs and sharing it before putting it in WP is pretty easy to do (Scott and I have a 12 page running doc for this series!), I’d be happy to show you how it works. I added Meta tags and OG to the calendar, although I hear it’s pretty hard to permanently get rid of the darn silhouette! Thanks for the input.

    • Scott Burt says:

      Gabe, I’m the same way…as soon as I get a draft complete my instinct is to Publish right away and get it right out there. I have forced myself into the habit of multiple proof reads and revisions and as you mentioned, giving some thought to when to publish to maximize exposure. Your stuff has been great lately!!

  3. Nick Dunse says:

    Gabe , that’s what happened to me and why I got a blog buddy( thank you Chris). Chris also awhile back helped with Google docs . I’m very good at painting and most of the business related things I have to do but I was never a great student of all things grammar related. Again although my website is in WP I’m no expert in that as well. Blog buddy is gong to be a good thing:)

  4. Thank you guys very much for the mention… you ROCK! #KeepItCaffeinated

  5. Brock Norton says:

    We’ve started each week going over 5 ideas that we would want to blog about and then once they’re written we edit them and schedule them out to post once per week for the next 5 weeks to have some consistency. We’re new to the blogging game, but we think this will yield some good results.

  6. Great advice here, thanks! I am wanting to start a blog on my website ( http://www.provopainting.com ) to help my SEO rankings but every time I sat down I had no idea what to write about! Now I will definitely start with Tess’ list of content ideas and to get a creative list of idea and lay them all out on a calendar. Thanks guys!

  7. Eric says:

    I love the way you guys are so intentional about helping the average Joe painter. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  8. ashleerockymountainpainterscom says:

    We love Steve’s content. Subscribed to his program for a while. Would definitely recommend it.

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