If you paid attention in your English classes, and even if you didn’t, you were told there are three ways a writer gets their word out. By entertaining, informing, or persuading their audience. This is what you will do with your blogs, as well.
The trick to writing a good blog is to inform your reader by entertaining them and at the same time persuading them to buy your product. There are five different kinds of blogs in which to do this, and they are outlined in this blog.
IS THIS AS TRICKY AS IT SOUNDS?
No, with an idea of the different kinds of blogs you can write, a little bit of practice, and the desire to write well, the ideas will flow naturally. Here is how you do it:
Inform: Think of newspapers, news-shows, non-fiction books. While the writing may be entertaining, the main purpose of this type of media is to inform the public about something. The content is factual, and (hopefully) the writer keeps their personal bias out of the story.
Entertain: Comedians entertain, but so does a good public speaker that artfully intersperses humor throughout their speech. You entertain your audience by telling anecdotes and stories that will appeal to their emotions. The audience is more receptive to what you have to say if you keep the tone light. A caution here: Use humor sparingly. It is embarrassing to tell a joke that falls flat, plus you can make enemies if you unwittingly insult someone. Be careful with humor!
Persuade: How do you get an audience to buy your product, to believe the way you do, or to vote in a certain way? Watch politicians running for office and you see a great deal of persuading going on. This is a skill where you have to be careful not to be too heavy-handed in selling your product or you will drive customers away. – The opposite of what you are setting out to do. –
You blogs should not be written in a random style. People like consistency and things spelled out for them. The less they have to rationalize what you are telling them, the more likely they are to see things your way. You do this by appealing to their emotions and good sense. This cannot be stressed enough. People buy with their emotions, not their brain, and if you can figure out the subtleties of getting their attention, you are on the right track to selling your products.
THE FIVE KINDS OF BLOG POSTS
Feel free to use these steps as a template for your blogs.
1. The General-Idea Post This is the basic set up for all your posts but is best used for general correspondence or stating your ideas on a subject. Every post on your site does not need to be a selling post, and sometimes you just want to let your audience know what you are thinking or feeling about a certain topic. That is when this format comes in handy.
- Introduction. Start with a hook, a question, a story that pulls them in.
- What. Tell them what you are writing about.
- How. The information you are about to impart will change their lives or help them in some way. Tell them how.
- What if. There is always a naysayer in the crowd, so you anticipate this by telling some of the negatives of what you are writing about. If there are any objections to what you are writing, now is the time to get them out.
- Mistakes. Blunders to avoid with this particular product or action. This is your chance to offer some sound advice based on your experience and observations.
- Examples. In another post, we talk about descriptors. You can use stories, images, videos, whatever is most appropriate to get your point across.
- Takeaway. Why they should buy your product, or take your advice. The pros and cons of each and what benefits your readers can look forward to.
- Action steps. Tell your reader what you want them to do. Be clear and concise. This will usually be a call to action (click here, buy now!), and gives your readers a direction to go next.
2. The How-to Post. Similar to the general post, but you are showing your audience how to do something (as the name implies).
- Introduction. Tell them what you have in mind and what they are going to learn.
- What. Tell them the purpose of what they are going to learn and the benefits they will enjoy by learning how to do this particular thing.
- Why. People are curious but need a reason before they do something. Here you can expound on the benefits and how it will help them.
- How. How does the thing work? Is it easy to use or does it take some thinking through? Is this an idea they can grasp right away, or will they have to think about it?
- Mistakes. We make mistakes when learning something new, and here you can smooth their path by telling them what they need to avoid, how they can get around a bump, and encourage them to move on.
- Examples. Real-life stories of success and failure help your audience identify with something besides just what you have to say.
- Summary. Tell them what you just told them. Finalize your thoughts. This is your last chance for convincing them that your advice will make their lives easier.
3. The List Post. This can also be incorporated into a How-To post. Use bullets to emphasize your points. List posts are great because a reader can scan the article and get the gist of it in a few seconds.
- Introduction. Always set up your introduction with a hook of some sort, something to grab your reader so they will keep on reading.
- Point 1. Limit your post to the three or four most important ideas of your subject.
- Point 2. Make sure each bullet item relates to the other paragraphs in some way.
- Point 3. Be brief and concise. Keep the topic between 50 to 80 words.
- Summary. Remind your readers of what they just read, and the importance what you just told them. End with a call to action.
4. The Resource Post. You are rounding up resources for your reader to inform them about a topic. Use the same format as the List Post, but use Resources instead of points. Under each resource heading, make a note of why you used the resource and how it is helpful to your reader. Product reviews are a good example of a resource post.
5. The Comprehensive Guide Post. This is a post that goes into great detail about a subject. The format is a free-for-all, the headings go where you want them, and there is not a set way to go about writing these.
The trick is not making these posts so long that you bore your reader halfway through and they don’t finish reading. People today compact their time into as small of a fragment as they can. A blog of 5,000 words takes a while to read, and frankly, when I’m scrolling through Facebook or researching the internet, and come across a blog of this length, I leave the site as soon as I realize the writer is not making their point as fast as I would like.
- Introduction. This is why you have a catchy introduction. By grabbing your reader with a profound statement, a fact that shocks, a quote they identify with, or a rhetorical question, you ensure that they will at least read on to the next paragraph. If you hook them at the beginning, your next job is keeping them reading.
- Headings. Be careful you do not overload your reader with a ton of ideas. It is best to stick to one topic and expound on that, rather than bog them down with too much information. You are passionate about your topic, and you feel the need to explain it down to the smallest detail, but is this what your reader wants? If they want to read a term paper, they will become college professors. Remember who you are writing for. Keep your headings interesting, eye-catching, and limit them to three or four. If you have a lot to say, consider dividing your post up into parts.
- Videos, podcasts, and other visual means of communicating. People want to sell their product, so they produce a presentation that goes on forever, and at the very end of 30 to 40 minutes (or an hour), they finally tell you what they want you to buy. Keep your videos down to 10 minutes or less.
- Please do not get into this habit. You do not have to go into your life’s history to justify what you are saying. Everyone has a story, tell it quickly and how it pertains to what you are saying, and get on with it. In the end, a story does not convince me to buy the product. Actually, I usually don’t make it to the end because I have checked out a long time ago. This is also true for long posts. The subject is really interesting, but after a few minutes into it, and there is no end in sight, it is time to x out and check the rest of my emails.
- Time is of the essence for everyone these days. Be respectful of your reader’s time and try not to bog them down with frivolous details.
- Summary. This is where you tell them what you told them, and insert any final thoughts that you have on the subject. You wrote this to guide for your reader to do something, so be sure to make it explicitly clear what you want them to do.
MONETIZING YOUR BLOG
- Affiliate offers. This website is about building a website based around affiliate marketing.
- Self-study online courses. If you like to teach and have a burning idea you want to impart to others, develop your own online study course, and charge money for it. Scourge the web and see what kinds of offers are out there, and improve on what you see.
- Continuity program. This marketing strategy offers a product delivered to your customer’s door on a continuous basis, such as monthly. If you are familiar with Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program, you could do something like this with your site.
Selling is not an art, but a skill to develop and hone over time. As you get the hang of writing posts, you will develop a style that entertains, informs and persuades. This blog, for instance, does not do much persuading to the casual observer, but if you look closer you will see links and phrases that are meant to convince you about the importance of writing a blog that suits the topic you want to write about.
Remember, people purchase goods and services with their hearts, not their heads. If you can appeal to the soft side of their emotions, you will most likely convince them of whatever point you are trying to make.
Begin here to start building your beautiful and prosperous site. Good luck and have fun!