Today I decided to write about one of the most highly requested topics among our BLAM partners, and that is advice on blog writing. Hopefully, this post will be helpful to people who consider starting a blog. Just to clarify that I am by no means an expert in blog writing. I am simply going to share with you a few tips which I find useful for my weekly blog writing and tend to work well for me.
It is worth noting that blogs have changed dramatically since I first started blogging as a hobby during my teens. Back then most blogs acted as personal journals and bloggers would not expect an audience other than a few friends. The Web 2.0 and the social media revolution caused the emergence of content-based websites, user engagement increased tremendously and blogs naturally became an essential traffic generation tool for any business.
So my advice to new bloggers can be summed up in the following points:
1. Consider your objectives. Before you start writing, it is best to consider a few things with regards to your business’s overall objectives. Why do you want to start a blog? What do you want your blog to convey? How is your blog going to help you grow your business? These are essential questions you might want to ask yourself before you start planning your first post as the answers are going to dictate the general topic, approach, tone of voice or any key areas you want to emphasise within your posts.
2. Find a topic that interests you and your audience. It is a no-brainer that your blog should be of interest to your audience. However, equally important is that the topic appeals to you as well. As far as I'm aware, nobody has ever written a great piece about a subject they considered boring. Combining topics and adding your personal touch will definitely make your writing more enjoyable, so feel free to expand on your main subject to tailor the post around your personality.
3. Write about what you know at first. If you are a new blogger, I would recommend that you start writing about familiar subjects at first. Drawing examples from your work, background, and personal experience is much easier and pleasant to talk about and it can definitely increase your word count quite effortlessly.
4. Research to back up your theories. If you are writing a blog on your company’s website, then you probably already have a good knowledge on the topics you are planning to write about. Quite often, however, bloggers deal with entirely unfamiliar subjects. Recently I had to write an industry related piece for a cocktail bar, something completely out of my area of expertise. In that case, knowing how to properly research the topic is vital. I would recommend reading academic journals and interviewing industry experts if possible. Always make sure that your sources are reliable to avoid humiliation.
5. Start by outlining your ideas. Now on to the actual writing. I always start my posts by outlining the core structure first and then moving on to adding the main point in each section. That will help you start visualising the outcome whilst organising the pieces of information in separate sections for easier writing.
6. Expand your initial points. Having the key points in place means your work is halfway done. Now all you need to do is start elaborating on each idea until you have a paragraph or so. Explaining one point at a time is much simpler than trying to come up with a whole piece at once.
7. Check cohesion. Once you are done writing, try reading your article out loud. This will help you edit your paragraphs to make the piece sound more coherent and make sense as a whole. If you like the way it sounds, you are good to publish! Chances are your first post is not going to be perfect, so try to avoid wasting too much time editing, be brave and hit publish – a blog doesn’t have to be perfect; it’s more about what you say than how you are saying it.
8. Be prepared to invest time. I am sure it is not the first time someone tells you that blog writing requires time. Different people have a different perception of time, however. So just to give you a rough idea, a blog article can usually take anywhere between a day up to a whole week to write in most cases. Exceptions apply depending on a number of factors, such as post length, blogging experience, the amount of research you are willing to do, the topic itself, etc. In any case, I would advise against rushing it. Choose a quiet and motivating environment with minimal disruptions, relax and let those creative juices flowing!
Once you get used to the process, it does certainly get a lot easier. My advice is to not be discouraged if your first attempt disappoints you. With time and practice, you might even discover that you actually appreciate writing and find yourself a new interest – I certainly did!
This weekend my wife and I have left the kids with nana and grandpa and we've travelled to Buxton in the Peak District, apparently England's leading Spa Town, nice. The weekend escape in February is an annual event that we commit to every year, visiting a different destination each time, we love it.
I do all of the planning. The research usually starts in November, and the challenge for me is to find an interesting town or city where Abby and I can spend a whole weekend not tied to the usual demands of a busy family and work life.
"I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood."
The break away from it all, is a very important event in our calendar and one that plays a significant role in my business life too. Don't worry, I don't spend the whole weekend working, quite the opposite in fact (except for this blog). But, as a certified, got the t-shirt entrepreneur, I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood.
When I'm away from the businesses (my staff and business partners know this) the constant contact that we get so used to is intentionally policed. That combined with the removal of family commitments (my weekend role is usually taxi driver, tutor and punchbag) my brain unwinds very quickly and I often have some inspired ideas that are implemented on my return with much enthusiasm.
The idea of taking a break away from it all to unwind is nothing new, but these days how much of a break do we really take when we have our phones in our pocket? Part of the ethos of our annual break is being disconnected from texts, LinkedIn, Facebook, What's app, phone calls and all the other distractions in our connected world. Here in Buxton for example, I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts. It was following one of my “thoughts", I felt compelled to write this blog as testimony to the power of the disconnected weekend break in Feb!
'I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts."
However, "embrace the beauty of technology" is one of BLAM's, and therefore my, core values and detaching myself from that technology in order to think creatively is something of an irony. The key thing for me is having the discipline to connect and disconnect to get the best results, something that doesn't always come easy to me.
I am writing this blog on my disconnected mobile, with relaxing music playing, in a clothes shop that has given me free coffee whilst Abby tries on several outfits. There's no signal so no interruptions, heaven :)
It's a well documented subject, the idea of intentionally unplugging and getting away from it all. My advice to our BLAM Partners is to make sure you diarise the breaks the same way you do with the work behaviours and consider the amount of connected time you allow yourself whilst you are there. Like me, I'm sure you will find hidden inspiration in your unconnected escape.
Next week, I will be refreshed and technology will be fully embraced once more and I'll be loving it! Now, where's that awesome little bar with craft beer on tap I spotted earlier, that looked really inspiring...
Pay-Per-Click advertising is one of the quickest ways to attract traffic to your website. Everyone knows that building your following organically can take quite a while - and for start-ups in particular time is gold!
Most people who attempt to set up a PPC campaign, however, tend to feel overwhelmed and often give up. There is such a wealth of possibilities when it comes to PPC advertising and so many different factors that need to be taken into consideration – not to mention the industry jargon which confuses people – that most beginners feel lost before even starting.
Despite these difficulties, we have identified a few simple steps that can lead any start-up to create a successful PPC campaign quickly and easily.
I would love to know what your thoughts are with regards to PPC. Are you planning to use PPC as part of your marketing?
Perhaps you’ve just had this crazy idea. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about it for ages. Whatever your situation, this article aims to help you realise why now is the best time for you to start your own business.
First, let’s define the term social media ‘strategist’, ‘expert’,
‘specialist’ or whichever title you prefer to use to describe that particular
marketing specialisation because I understand it
often causes confusion. I have picked the
term ‘social media strategist’ for this post’s title as for me it is the most
accurate to describe the role. A professional in this industry will never
proceed to manage anyone’s social media platforms without properly planning a
detailed strategy first, and that is usually the main difference between those who are qualified to do the job and those who
A social media strategist, therefore, is the professional behind any successful social media business page. That person is responsible for aligning a company’s social media activities with the overall marketing direction of the business. For some, this might still seem generic and difficult to understand, but hopefully, the rest of this post will shed some light into this role’s specifics while answering some common queries I often hear from clients.
Having said all that, and even though social media are a powerful tool, people should never make the mistake of thinking that a solid social presence is all it takes to ensure a good level of sales. The purpose of your social media strategy is to complement and augment your overall marketing and sales strategy. One cannot do well without the other, and anyone who tells you otherwise shouldn’t be trusted.