By Alisha Morrissey & Lesley Raymond, Rogue Penguin Creative
Wicked work figuring out what to write and actually getting words on the page (and the internet). In this, our final article on how to be a Badass Blogger, we’re going to cover the details: making your article pop, making it sing, and getting over the fear of the publish button.
Keep it simple (and short)
While there are lots of people out there praising the long read these days, we see posting more frequently as a more effective way to drive your SEO and also your readership.
Writing shouldn’t be a chore, so choose a single, succinct topic and bang out all your thoughts on it (up to about 500 words, or a one-page document in Word or Google Docs). From there, you’ll jazz it up using the tips below, and that number will quickly rise to the 900 to 1,200 words everyone is pushing in all those best-practices blogs online.
Your story matters
When you think everything has been written about your industry and your perspective won’t be different from anyone else’s, you can get stuck on what to write. But it’s not the business that gets people to connect with you—it’s your personality, customer service, and how you do business that get people to pick up the phone.
Here’s how you do it.
After you’ve written your one-pager about the topic you’ve chosen, go back to the top and write a personal anecdote about it. Share something vulnerable or funny and tie it into the topic, or write your controversial opinion about it. Ask yourself if you could tell this story on a late-night show and how it would go over.
Scroll to the end of your blog and write about the outcome of the anecdote or remind people why you don’t feel the same way as your industry. Finish it off with a call to action which ties into your story and BAM, you’ve reached that coveted word limit!
Making it POP!
Let’s make your blog look bangin’! Breaking up a huge wall of text is key to keeping readers interested. Don’t believe us? Hold this magazine a little away from your face and you’ll see we used these best practices in this very article!
Use headers These mini-headlines should be used to break up paragraphs and, as an added bonus, using H2 tags (sometimes called subheadings or using a function that looks like this: T2) will also boost your SEO!
Use quotes Sometimes called pull quotes—use these to make your special sentences stand out. (They often look like this ” in your website’s toolbar.)
Summarize points Break up the text with bullet points, small summaries, or lists (like this one).
ALWAYS add images Use your own photos or free stock image sites like Pixabay, Unsplash, or Pexels.
Bold and italicize Important words or phrases should draw the eye, but use these sparingly.
Add links for more information Links to other websites and past blog posts on your site, and links to your contact page in your call to action, are all great for SEO and for keeping your reader engaged.
Edit, edit, publish
Nothing will make people doubt your capabilities like typos, bad grammar, or rambling paragraphs. Keep your sentences short. Remove the word “that” as much as humanly possible. If you’re using industry jargon, you’re probably turning off casual readers and potential clients. Always run a spellcheck and then run it again! Delete all the buts, ifs, and maybes, and avoid phrases like “in my opinion.” These qualifiers soften your position and can make you look wishy-washy.
The fear is real
You’ve laboured over your blog, you’ve edited it, and yet something is stopping you from hitting publish. It’s the fear. It’s real and it will dash your dreams of becoming a thought leader in your industry.
Here’s our advice: Be brave enough to suck at something new
Your first few posts are going to suck. Your next few posts will get better. As with any skill, practice makes perfect, but you have to start or you’ll never be perfect. Over time your audience will grow and you will connect and bond with readers who have a real interest in what you do and how you do it. You’ll also alienate some people, but that’s good too. You didn’t want to work with them anyway.
Our final tip about starting your brand new blog is a pretty obvious one, but it goes without saying you should use it as a promotional tool. Link to your blog in your newsletter and social media. Pull out good paragraphs and post them to Facebook. You can also use your photos on Instagram and even turn your blogs into speaking notes for training sessions. Always mention you share your insights online.
That’s it! All the best advice we can offer to aspiring Badass Bloggers. Remember, 45 percent of marketers outsource content creation, so if you need help with your latest series of blog posts, Rogue Penguin has got you covered.
Alisha Morrissey & Lesley Raymond
We are Rogue Penguins—artists and collaborators—with more than 30 years of marketing experience. But we’re not your average agency. Just like our namesake, we’re compact, efficient, powerful, and not to be underestimated. We’re the most agile and versatile creatures you’ll encounter.
Plus, we look great in black and white.