I’m a professional blog writer but I haven’t written a blog post in months.
That’s not strictly true. I’m writing posts all week but they’re for, and about, other people; and what a variety of people they are, from drone developers to chicken feed manufacturers (though, as an ex-journalist, it’s not the first time I find myself writing for chicken feed).
But just as a cobbler’s children go unshod, I find myself, a professional blog writer blogging about anyone but me.
The problem is, and my clients will agree, the most difficult thing to write about is your own business, which is fortunate for me really as it forms the whole basis of my business plan.
Some bloggers find blogging easy
Many bloggers love writing for the sake of it on social media, whether it’s about their personal lives or an issue they’re campaigning about. Some even make a good living by building up a following of people wanting to know what sort of make-up they use or food they cook. Many people who are fans of a sports team or dedicated to a hobby or skill want to share their passion and knowledge, which is great.
But, increasingly, business is invading social media and when it comes to writing about work, it’s a bit of a chore, let’s face it. No matter how exciting your job is, eventually it becomes routine and mundane.
Blogging needs a journalistic nose for a good story
When I was a journalist, I was made “Business Editor” at our local paper, which sounds high powered but just meant that every two weeks I had to fill a page with stories about local shops and businesses. Once I’d read through the nationals and given a few big stories a local twist (interviewing pub drinkers about budget day tax hikes), I’d look up new firms (preferably ones that advertised with us) and do a profile piece on them. I’d sit in the office of a packaging company and listen to the boss telling me how nothing ever happened in the cardboard business.
Then I’d get my Detective Columbo moment. As I packed up my pens and made to leave, I’d ask if there was anything else going on.
“Not really, except Dave from despatches is making a glider out of recycled packaging to cross the Channel in.”
It’s because we’re so close to our business that we don’t always see what others think might be interesting or relevant, and why do people need to know your business?
Why blog, anyway?
Perhaps you think it doesn’t matter where your raw materials come from, but it might do to a potential customer.
Maybe what the staff get up to in their own time isn’t your business, but some of their charity fund raising might get you on the front page of your local paper for some free publicity.
Going back to my journalism again, the most important attribute of a good hack isn’t a beautiful writing style – anyone can learn to write – it’s spotting that nugget of information that you know will engage the general readership.
We’re all experts at what we do, but we forget that ordinary members of the public, including customers, don’t know how the magic’s done. They may just find it fascinating or just like the way you do things. With so many businesses on the internet, engaging people in your story is the first step to converting them into customers.
Blogging is all about attracting people to your website to do business with you, and to keep coming back.
Some ideas for business bloggers
Anyway, I resolve to do better at blogging about myself and I’ll start by sharing a few thoughts and pointers over the weeks on some of the problems my own clients have when it comes to writing online content:
- Thinking of some aims for your blogging (you’re not just writing for posterity)
- Generating and scheduling ideas for blog posts
- Overcoming writer’s block
- Developing a voice and style
- Structuring posts
- Using imagery
- Knowing when to stop writing
- What to do with your posts when you’ve written them
Let’s see how long my new resolution lasts.