“SEO writing” – as it used to be called – has gone the way of the dodo and marginally good content won’t cut the ice anymore. So, what gives?
Read: authoritative content. The kind of writing that makes the readers go “Goodness, they actually gave all this away for free?” or “Wow, this is so cool that I want to flood my Evernote clips with their posts!”
Blogging was, is, and will be, all about justified opinion – a fancy way to say that you could write about anything, take potshots at anyone, and even stir some good old controversy as long as you do it in style and with authority. Here are some simple rules to write authoritative content:
In the world of dating, “confidence” is everything they say. Dating coaches often make you visualize about you as a different person: You are straddling out radiating poise with your chest extruding two inches out. You are standing strong, and using your deep voice to talk. When you do that, you are making an indelible impression.
With writing, there’s no standing, no chests, no voice (literally) and nothing much to glean from. Yet, there’s your writing and it’s a form of communication too.
Before you set out writing, you have to battle your fears:
- I traveled the world and did what all those location independent professionals advocate. Travel is good but the repercussions are terrible. What would Tim Ferris say if I wrote a blog post that rejects Tim’s fantasy land proposition of work only 4 hours a week?
- What would I do with all those trolls nailing my blog with comments?
- Would I be serenaded, bombed, killed, or maimed because I choose to go south while the world goes north?
It’s the Internet. It’s anonymous, if you like to use it that way (the way trolls do). You aren’t doing anything worthwhile (applies to writing), if you aren’t holding your ground and fighting your fight.
And no, authority doesn’t mean authorship. Don’t give two hoots whether it is dead, alive or missing in action.
#2. Go write. But why – and about what – are you writing?
Today, starting a business is easy. If you plan to sell informational products, you might need nothing more than WordPress. If you want to dabble with a traditional business but at the fraction of the cost, you could just a DIY website builder like IMCreator, Wix or DudaOne and you’ll go live in a few hours.
Starting up is not the hard part; getting the word out and acquiring customers is.
All this talk of authoritative content is, of course, for helping you do marketing for your business better. Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb than a blog post that’s got nothing to give. Blogging for the sake of blogging sucks. Big time.
Before you go fancy and build a publishing calendar for the next 6 months, stop and think: how are you going to make an impact? What are you going to say that can make your readers think about you and your business? How are you going to move the mountain? (It really feels that way when it comes to getting attention from a digital audience nowadays.)
#3. Research+ stories = compelling content
Remember how journalists would gather quotes and inputs from real people to build their feature articles or news clips? Blogging could use some of those old school journalism lessons.
Why, you ask?
Real stories have a way to grab your readers by their soul. You’d get them to read as much as you can possibly write.
The more they read, the more enamored they are by your writing. For marketing this means more brand equity, trust, and possible sales.
Shopify is a popular web-based solution that allows you to start your ecommerce business quickly and effectively. They could just say that and leave it that way.
Instead, they create a page called Start Your Home-based Business. They pepper their landing page with compelling stories of entrepreneurs who’ve all started their businesses.
Now that’s compelling marketing. Stories are the cornerstone of marketing. Now, that every brand should be a publisher, master the art of telling stories. Corey Eridon of HubSpot has a blog post on how to do just that.
Do your outreach. Find your subjects like journalists do. Write about them. Quote them in your posts. After you publish, let them all know that they’ve been featured.
All the people you mentioned in your blog post might each call their moms too. That’s bonus.
#4. Plot. Condense. Focus. Come out with it.
A popular blogging best practice goes like this: “Write the way you speak.” That’s good advice, unless you have a habit of saying too much.
Not all of us are like the Howard Roark character in Ayn Rand’s The Fountain Head. We often say more than we should. We don’t think before we say stuff.
Lisa Evans, in a post on Fast Company, alludes to our tendency to over explain, book 1-hour meetings with nothing worthy enough to discuss, and throw brevity out of the window.
Port that habit to your writing and you’ll be in trouble, sooner or later. Instead of mumbling and saying things we don’t mean, learn to plot, condense, focus, and say what you want to.
If you are verbose, you’ll torture your readers. While you write, treat every word as currency. Too many words could be expensive.
Authoritative writing is all about communicating from strength. Build this strength.
#5. Writing for the entrepreneurial spirit
Doodling, drawling, being verbose, writing without a reason, and writing without justification is not for the warrior-hearted marketers and business owners.
Entrepreneurs have a spirit. If you are an entrepreneur (even core bloggers are entrepreneurs in a way), you know that you fight every day. You eat up obstacles and you control your destiny.
Shouldn’t your writing reflect that spirit? It should. It better do.
Meek people don’t become leaders.
In case you were wondering, everyone who writes a blog for business is looking to lead customers into taking action or at least spreading the word.
How do you write?
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