If you don’t fancy yourself a writer, the idea of writing blog posts can be quite intimidating. You might consider yourself a little bit weak in the knees when it comes to coming up with ideas or writing blogs that actually sound natural or interesting and fun to read.
The truth is that writing should be an enjoyable process and if you’re not having a good time when you’re writing your blog posts, it’s a great way to ensure that you will never keep up with it. You’ll burn out and want to stop before you get to a point where you’re seeing the fruits of your labor.
When you write good copy for your website, it’s exciting. Your reader can feel that you’ve taken the time and effort to learn how to write something that they enjoy and it becomes almost like a conversation where they’re agreeing or debating with you in their head as they read it to themselves. To get to that point might take a little bit of time, but what I’d like to do now is offer you five tips on how to write better copy for your website so that hopefully, you start enjoying the process and becoming proud of what you write for your blog.
1. Outline your blog posts
I cannot stress this enough. Outlining your blog posts is the easiest and best way to make sure you stay on track and provide information that is valuable to your reader.
Generally speaking, I like to think of my blog post as an introduction, a conclusion, and then several subjects in the middle that I cover in brief. Blog posts are not like novels or nonfiction books where people are looking for you to go in-depth on every single subject.
Blog posts by design tend to be smaller, quicker pieces of information. While there are long blog posts on different websites that can go as long as 25,000 words, most blog posts tend to be anywhere between 702,000 words and usually that’s enough to get your point across on just about any topic.
Of course, if you want to do a very long resourceful blog post, go ahead and do it. Just know that that’s not something that anybody does with regularity. Huge, long, resourceful blog posts that go upwards of 10,000 words are usually things people do from time to time in an effort to cover one subject in a massive resource guide.
But if you have an introduction and a conclusion and a few things in the middle where you can elaborate on, you’ll stay on task and your audience will be able to scan through your article in an easy way that makes reading your blog fun and scannable.
2. Have word count targets you need to hit
What does this mean? What am I talking about? Word count goals? Well, let’s say you want to write a 1000 word blog post. There’s a process in hitting that word count.
I use a relatively simple formula. I like to start my introductions with about a hundred or 150 words. I then like to spend anywhere from 200 to 400 words on each subtopic. Finally, I like to wrap up my blog posts with a hundred words or so as well as a call to action, something that the reader can do to help me generate a lead or a sale. After all, the reason we’re writing a blog post is to develop a relationship with someone that will lead to some kind of business transaction in the future.
So if you’re going to write a 1000 word blog posts an easy way to think about it is to have a 100 or 150 word introduction, a 200 to 400 word sub topic and then another subtopic at 200 to 400 words, possibly a third at the same length, and then a conclusion that wraps everything up.
One tool I like to use to hit my targets is Google docs. You can do this in word as well, but just turn your word count on. In Google docs there’s even a feature where you can see your word count as you’re typing on the bottom of your screen, this will let you know if you’re getting too long-winded or if you still have quite a ways to hit your target.
To turn it on in Google Docs hit Ctrl+Shift+C and you’ll see this pop up box come up
You’ll notice that little box on the bottom that asks if you want to keep the word count visible on the bottom of the page. Once you select that you’ll see the word count on the bottom left of your screen and it will update in real time as you type.
Having that on the screen can be intimidating when you’re just starting but once you hit 500 words or so I find it to be hugely motivating as the number keeps climbing. It’s a huge source of satisfaction for me as I write to know I’m getting closer and closer to my goal.
3. Figure out your tone and keep it consistent.
Every blog and every industry has a different tone that is expected of it. If you’re a fun, lively type of personality and it’s a personal blog, obviously your writing should reflect that. You don’t want to be dry and drab. Meanwhile, when people meet you in person, you’re this explosive dynamic character. You want the blog to feel like you if you’re a blogger.
Of course, if you’re in a professional industry where everybody wears suits and ties, you might want to be a little bit more buttoned-up with your writing, but whatever your tone is, you should try to stay consistent.
It doesn’t make sense to have a fun, lively tone that’s very casual one day and then the next day have a very dry report with a lot of data and analytical figures and charts and graphs. It just won’t fly with your audience.
At the end of the day, you’re developing a brand with your blog. So having a consistent tone is part of developing that brand. You want your audience to know what to expect when they come to your blog.
4. Imagine yourself talking to a specific person
This is an old copywriting technique that a lot of people use. If you’re going to imagine yourself talking to a very specific person, it tends to be easier to write towards that person as if you’re explaining something to them.
When I write, I often have the image of a person I’m talking to so that I can explain things to them and specifically to that person’s skill level. So if it’s someone who’s been blogging for a long time, I usually know I can skip over the basics of WordPress and how often they have to blog whereas if I have someone in my mind that’s totally new to the concept of marketing I have to kind of slow things down a little bit.
Having a specific person in mind that you’re writing to as opposed to writing to this invisible audience of millions of people who you have no idea what their skill level is just a great way to keep your point of view clear in your mind as you write.
5. Have fun with it
it’s important that you look at all of these different ideas and tips and do what works for you. If you’re not having fun writing then you’re doing it wrong.
Writing should never be a chore. It should never be something that you have to do. It should be something that you learn to love to do and embrace. If you don’t find yourself falling in love with the idea that you get to write a blog post that you care about, a topic you’re passionate about, then there are only two possibilities: either you’re doing it wrong and your tone isn’t right and you’re really forcing yourself to write in a style that is wrong for your character.
Of course, there is a third possibility I haven’t mentioned. There is always the possibility that you really shouldn’t be the one writing your blog and you should be hiring freelance writers.
Some people are definitely not meant to sit down and type out blog posts at any kind of serious pace. That’s why freelance writers exist. Of course, if you’re interested in being a blogger and you don’t find yourself loving to write, then you’ve chosen the wrong path.
But when it comes to running a blog as part of a business website it’s more common than not that you will hire freelance writers to help fill in the gaps. If you do find yourself hiring freelance writers you should learn to have fun with possibly outlining articles for them so that you like what the articles are talking about, or at the very least, helping them come up with titles and topics to talk about so that you enjoy reading the blogs as much as your audience.
Wrapping it up
Writing good copy for your website or your blog is a skill that you need to develop in order to have that great content machine that will constantly feed your audience’s hunger for knowledge and to build a relationship with you as the website owner.
If you’re struggling with writing copy, take each one of these tips one by one and try to implement them in your copywriting process. If you need any help coming up with a blog schedule or figuring out the right mixture of techniques to turn your blog into a reliable system consider hiring me as a consultant and I’m sure we can figure out how to conquer this issue in an hour together.