I remember when I first joined Active Rain back in 2007. Writing a blog for business purposes was a very new concept back then and Active Rain was at the leading edge of what worked and what didn't. We were our own active experiment in the making.
Flash forward to today and the business blog has now become something quite common and a necessity for most successful businesses.
Active Rain members who have stuck with blog writing over the years have gleaned the results of their efforts with thousands of success stories. Their blogs have attracted clients from far and wide and through their writing they have made a name for themselves in their respective communities.
Writing a blog for business is not an easy task. It requires work, study, time and dedication. Those who commit to it will reap the rewards that all of us who have been blogging for years have enjoyed.
If you are new to blogging, or a seasoned blogger who is looking for some tips on how to make your blog attract more attention, you may find the following writing tips that I compiled for the Localism Success and Accountability Group helpful.
- Always put yourself in your target audience's shoes when you fashion your post. If you are writing for a homebuyer or to attract a homebuyer, consider how you would want the post to read or what information it should impart in order to inspire a feeling of trust and further interest.
- Offer to give further resources on the subject if the reader would like to contact you. By this I mean, do not give everything away in your post (s). Indicate that if they would like brochures, packages, personalized service, etc, to feel free to contact you and you will provide the service/information for them.
- Keep track of the posts that seem to be gaining the most readership.
The posts that rank the highest in google searches are often the ones that have the most relevant subject matter and the best use of keywords (coupled with the power of Active Rain, of course).
- Now that spring is here, if you find your brain is on overload with a million thoughts and you are unable to relax into writing mode, try gazing out the window at the clouds or take short walk in a natural environment.
I find playing classical music also motivates and opens up my writing channels.
Sometimes there are so many things going on in our lives that we become bogged down and can barely think clearly enough to write.
Taking a break from it all not only refreshes your creative spirit, it will open up the channels and give you fresh ideas.
- Keep a thesaurus handy or use the online thesaurus and insert less commonly heard words into your articles to spice them up and add interest.
- Practice discipline.
Writing for localism is not something you are doing for fun (although it can be a lot of fun). It is something you are doing for your business and if you decide that it must be a regular part of your business activity, you will make the time to do it.
- Summed up in a quote from Charles "Tremendous" Jones, "There are essentially two things that will make you wiser-the books you read and the people you meet.". In short, if you are planning an article on a particular subject, read anything you can find on that subject and talk to people who are in the know.
People love to be helpful when it is something that they are knowledgeable about and if they give you the ok to quote them in your article, it lends your post greater credibility and interest.
With regards to books, perhaps you could link to a few journals or books that deal with the subject matter of your post.
- Set a weekly or monthly writing goal and stick to it. Add it to your calendar and set a regular appointment with yourself to get your posts done.
According to Jack Canfield, 'A goal without a number is just a slogan.' and I agree with him completely.
In setting your weekly writing goal, you have to prioritize the post as an appointment you have with that post for the coming week, and you will find yourself more successful with achieving those goals if they are physically recorded.
The added bonus to writing down the posts that you want to write about is that your subconscious mind will go to work for you on them and you may find yourself waking up with the post already fully written in your mind, just waiting to be written down!
- Add pictures to your post to make it more visually appealing and to break up the words.
There are numerous posts here on Active Rain that explain how to add images to your blogs and you may even decide to go a step further and add a video!
If you're having trouble with any of this, please don't hesitate to ask a member who appears to have this skill down pat.
You'll find the majority of AR members are more than happy to help you out.
- When choosing something to write about, choose something you are passionate about or find something about that subject that you are passionate about and go from there.
- Try not to be too structured as you write. Just write what you feel and when you are finished your 'rough draft', you can go back and make revisions or corrections.
- Many members have lost posts that they were in the middle of and it is a good idea to always write your posts in WORD or some other platform before transferring them to your Active Rain blog.
- Avoid having paragraphs that are too long. Break your thoughts up by making your paragraphs short and adding appropriate images or links. Vary the kind of text you're using by bolding some lines, italicizing others and perhaps underlining the more pertinent points in your post.
Using the bullet or number feature in the Active Rain posting platform also makes your post more visually appealing and easier to follow.
- Plan your post and what you would like to say in it by making a point form 'skeleton' and build from there. As Napoleon Hill once said "Every well-built house started with a definite plan in the form of blueprints.".
- Use plenty of adjectives in your sentences. This allows the reader to more fully experience what you are telling them. Try to use adjectives that cover more than just the 'sight' sense. For instance, if you are describing a park, you could use adjectives like 'fresh', 'serene', etc.
- If you have writer's block, try picking a specific subject to write about and focus on it. This will get your brain working and your writer's block will dissipate as you begin to tell about the subject you're writing about.
- Don't start with a headline/title. Instead, write about your subject and while you're writing, you may notice a certain string of words jump out at you as being ideal for the title of your post.
- If you're having a problem writing about a certain subject, pretend you are telling your best friend or a family member about the subject or answering a question they've asked you about it.
- Try to write in the morning when your mind is fresh and uncluttered from the day's activities/events. Put a do not disturb sign on your door, and work away.
If someone is upset that you're spending this time writing and need privacy in order to do it properly, explain to them that it is part of your business activity and is a necessary part of your marketing and prospecting for business success.
- Project 'feeling' into your descriptions. For instance, rather than saying a meeting is held on the second floor of a certain building every second tuesday, say something like 'as you ride the elevator up to the second floor meeting hall, you might be fortunate enough to meet the guest speaker!'
- Interview someone who is directly involved with what you are writing about and ask their permission to quote them directly and/or to include their picture. Readers love this personal approach and who knows, you just might meet some new potential clients while doing your interviews!
- If you're stuck somewhere in the middle of your post, put it in draft mode and leave it for later in the day or some other time during the week. You'll find a fresh approach will remove the writer's block and you'll likely have mulled some bright new ideas to include that you hadn't thought of before. The subconscious mind loves to be given a task to work on.
- Make sure to use pertinent keywords in your post title, post body and tags. This will optimize your SEO and bring you to the top for any searches on that subject.
- Provide valuable outgoing links....google likes this and your post will attain higher search engine placement.
- Have 'call to action' buttons or links at the bottom of each post. For real estate related posts, make sure you have buttons that tell the reader how to contact you and/or a place they can go to search for properties. These are linked back to the appropriate pages on your website (ie. the contact me page, the homesearch page, etc).
- On posts that are of a general nature, make sure you have a way for them to contact you at the bottom. In addition, tell them who you are and what you do for a living at the bottom. This sets you out as being the expert on community happenings/information in your area and if they HAPPEN to be considering making a move in the future, they just may contact you or remember your name when they're ready.
- Make sure and study Brad Andersohn's post on the best way to structure a localism post for maximum SEO results.
- Don't use lingo or trade-talk when writing your posts. The public does not want to read posts written as they were written for other people in the home industry field, they want to read posts that are written for someone who has no knowledge of the home industry lingo. Lingo and trade talk may put up an emotional wall between you and the person who's trust you are trying to gain.
- Keep up to date in what is going on in the field you are writing about. This includes reading community
newspapers, local magazines, newsletters, etc.
Keep clippings or take notes whenever you find something you may want to incorporate into a blog at a later date.
Some real estate bloggers even go so far as to attend monthly town/city council meetings and take extensive notes in order to be 'in the know' when it comes to changes, upcoming events in their area.