The Sarky Type – content with more bite

Is your blog a bit of a jerk?

In its defence, it may not know it is. Perhaps no one was around to teach it.

Maybe it’s a latch key blog: it comes and goes as it pleases, without guidance and no fucks given. 

(I really like the sound of your blog, btw. Not what I should be saying but boy, can I relate!)

So how can you blog better? What I’m really saying is how can you WRITE better. Because that is fundamental to its success. 

(And also, blogging is writing so what else would we be talking about?)

The purpose of your blog will determine its success.

Success is whatever you define it to be so you decide what that means.

So is it growing a group of faithful readers? Is it about gaining more organic traffic? Do you want to build brand awareness? Maybe having the respect of your peers sucks your success lollipop. It doesn’t matter what it is, what matters is the words on the page. 

Shall we take a look at 6 ways to blog better? Well, shall we?! Great! Here goes:

1. Blog, don’t brag. 

We’ve all had the misfortune of reading a braggy blog. And yes, I nearly always mention this each time I write about blogging (which is a lot). Alas, brag blogging is still very much ‘in’. 

A business blog will often be one of two things: fucking boring or self-indulgent. (And if you’re ‘lucky’ it might be both.) 

We’re all guilty of navel-gazing from time to time but for some, it’s their marketing MO.

Don’t misunderstand me, I want you to write as you (or your organisation). That’s your spice, and it’s the main reason your blog will tease the content tastebuds of your readers. 

Just so we’re clear: tone of voice is the seasoned rub, rubbed into your word meat. 

And as disgusting as that sounds, it’s sorta kinda true. 

People won’t keep reading if they hate your style. 

But wait! A blog is not to be confused with a sales page. 

“No one is confusing those two things, Sarah.” 

Well, Terence, they might so I’d like to clarify the difference (you supercilious bastard).

A sales page has one purpose—to make an immediate sale. 

If people wanna buy, they don’t give a shit (generally speaking) about how it’s written. The need for that product was there before they started reading. The sales page is doing the final conversion bit. 

Blogging is long-term brand nudging. 

(Have I said this before, fuck yes but I’m saying it again coz like advertising, I’m hella repetitive.)

Some folks will enjoy the way you write. That might be the only reason they sign up for it. And like I said, if success is building a fanbase, that’s perfect.

2. Speak to who your audience is and where they is—are. 

As I write this now, I imagine I’m performing a monologue. 

(I just read that line back and it’s cringe, I’m sorry but it doesn’t make it less true.)

The tone I use could vary depending on the situation. For example, I could be giving a sales pitch, a business presentation, or speaking to a friend. (That’s a lie, I don’t have any friends.)

That then leads me to think about the setting.

If this is a casual conversation, I might be sitting in a cafe. It could be an intimate, slang-riddled tête-à-tête down the local. But it might also be a formal discussion in a high-rise board room.

The point is you know (or you bloody well should know) who is listening and where they are doing the listening. If you don’t, get tuned in. 

3. Understand what they’re saying.

Like any good conversation, it should always be a two-way street. But how do you have a convo when there isn’t anyone physically there to talk with?

Well, you don’t, that’s mental. 

But you have a good idea of what your audience is thinking about. You already know what questions they’re going to ask. Because if you haven’t, you need to find out. 

And how do you do that? ASK THEM.

When you’re armed with that knowledge, you can preempt those questions. You can say stuff like, “I know what you’re thinking” and they can say, “Oh my god, I was just going to say that! How the hell do you know what makes me tick?”. And you can respond, “I’m a business writer, it’s my actual job.”

4. Tell a story.

Please, I know it’s lame but let me finish (that’s what she said).

The story thing always has me confused. 

“Tell a story” what, like a once-upon-a-time kinda story?

I interpret it to mean this: use your life experience to weave engaging content. But be careful, that could lead to brag blogging.

Why not add some embarrassing stories? People love that stuff (well, the people I write this for do). Silly little things that might crack a smile and get the point across. 

5. Quality is the main dish.

Blogging isn’t regarded as great writing. 

Bloggers struggle to shake off the reputation that they are writers only for search engine performance. We hear the word ‘optimised’ and we think terrible, unimaginative writing. And the real kicker is that some bloggers are still writing that way (stupid sods).

Google has evolved. Technology doesn’t stand still, but often our perception does. Things take time to sink into the social consciousness.

It makes me sad that a lot of business blogs are especially bad. But that’s because business people have no idea how to write a business blog.

Many are nothing more than refuse depots where half-arsed information is dumped.

🎵But don’t cry for me, business owner🎵

I’m stridently bucking the trend of crappy business blogs.

6. Make it fun for you.

Blog better by doing writing that you like doing.

Don’t work your content tail off if you hate it. This shouldn’t be like going on the game to feed your crack habit.  

You can live without digital content creation.

And businesses run without it—yes, I just said that. Not everyone has to have a blog, they don’t have to have a website for that matter. People do still manage to make money offline. (Prostitution is actually a fine example.)

If you love blogging—DO IT!

But if it is for your business, figure out if you need to do it before you invest your time and cash.

Would you like to lick your blog into shape? Book a one-to-one with me and we will get it sorted out.

Maybe you’re never gonna ride the blog train.

That might be for a few reasons but it could be because you’ve heard blogging is dead.

That statement has no basis in fact.

It is yet another squirt from the marketing shit fountain.

And it’s usually from folks that dislike reading / can’t write good / most certainly know fuck all about blogging.

Blogging is dead if you’re content clueless.

It’s deader still if you have no time or money to invest. It will continue to be bereft of life, if, as a freelancer, you hate writing.

These are legitimate reasons for a blog ceasing to be.

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But according to the many marketing gurus (can we start using the term wanketing? Great) blogging, in general, is deader than my insides. 

No really, it’s deffo on the way out.

Blogging can hear the soft cooing tones of St. Peter, calling it to that content archive in the sky.

This kind of bollocks is why you should question everything written by anyone on the socials (including me).

If you share opinions like this chances are your content bias is showing.

Eh?

For example, if you love video, you might be foolish enough to say it’s the only content route to take. According to some, we should all be wiggling our arses on TikTok.

This happens every time something new shows up.

Podcasts are so on-trend right now which means everyone starts crapping out nuggets of ‘wisdom’ about them.

This stuff will make your head spin.

If you chase each new shiny object – ignoring what your market research is telling you, you’ll land hard on your coccyx.

Truth bomb number 1: freelancers who write for a living probably won’t get hired because they made a video.

Why?

Obvious really, it doesn’t demonstrate their writing skills.

I’ll say it again louder – not only for the businesses at the back but for the ones with their fingers in their ears: the content you produce is about the content your audience wants – not the bandwagon an influencer wanketer says you should travel on.

We. Don’t. All. Like. The. Same. Content.

I read just the other day that we should grow our reach on social media FIRST because it’s quicker.

(What’s the bloody rush?)

Truth bomb number 2: brand awareness takes time no matter where you do it.

And there is no reason why you can’t be blogging AND do all of the other stuff. I know, bloody wild!

My view is to focus your energy on where your audience is likely to hang out. That will influence the kind of content you should create.

“Blogging is dead”: I get it, sometimes it’s fun to play the contrarian (trust me, I know).

But not being arsed to educate yourself on a thing, despite evidence to the contrary, just makes you look like the people who believe 5G gives you covid.

Content is king, ring any bells?

Not just another neato phrase but actual truth and whaddayaknow, blogging is content.

But people still chat shit about blogging – the very same people who wax lyrical about the creator economy. *eye-fucking-roll*

As long as people continue to enjoy reading, blogging will be alive and well.

But why do I personally bang on about blogging?

C’mon, you know this one… 

It’s great for SEO!

There ya go! A gold star for you. So if you learn nothing else know that it will always be a big deal for that.

But maybe you still don’t understand.

(Or your memory is terrible.)

SEO and blogging.

Building a library of considered, relevant articles on your website attracts traffic.

That’s the main thing most SEO types will tell you. We’re doing it for the organic reach, you guys! Coz a website without traffic is like a eunuch with a brothel gift card: absolutely useless.

How does your blog attract clicks?

By writing searched for articles.

Note the content has to have a demand. There’s no point bashing out blog topics no one wants.

SEO is not just about organic traffic.

No siree!

But people get bogged down (blogged down?) by organic (not paid for) traffic as being the only sort of free visits to your website.

Most of your clicks might be from direct traffic.

You know, like when you share your latest blog on LinkedIn or when subscribers hit a link on your newsletter.

(This is part of off-page SEO, btw.)

Everything about a blog is helping SEO.

Even if you don’t realise it.

When people read your words they’re hearing your brand voice. They can see how good you are. And all this is building trust.

That’s SEO, bitches.

Organic traffic is the least important thing to me.

I know that’s controversial but hear me out.

People that find my blog article on an organic search are unlikely to hire me.

WHAT?!

Not only do those users not trust me (they have no reason to from one blog post) but the intent behind most of my long-form content is informational (people who want to learn about that subject).

My challenge is to create blog content around search terms that have transactional intent (people wanting to hire me). Something which I’m now currently developing. I touch on this here: content writing and copywriting: your website needs both.

My blog is so much more…

I use it to explain a point in more detail.

When I write proposals and need to expand on a topic, I’ll have an article to cover it (saves time reinventing the wheel). If I get some lame request for free help, I send a link to my blog. I’ve most likely already answered the question.

It tells a prospect how good I am.

No one should be in any doubt about my knowledge of SEO content writing. My expertise is out and proud.

My blog is my portfolio.

It does the job of showing a potential client that I can write. And that I write in a distinctive voice. They know immediately what they’re getting and it attracts the kind of fellow misfits that I want. (That’s great because Bland Street is not where I want to live.)

My blog gets me hired.

Now, this is the really important part. Everything I’ve mentioned above leads to the main reason I blog and create any content: to get hired. The words I write are the ONLY reason this happens.

Content strategy.

Freelancers are often terrible at marketing. 

They barely post on social media let alone have a strategy.

Larger organisations include blogging because they have the resources. But they wouldn’t bother if blogging was pushing up daisies – it takes investment, so why invest in something that’s dead?

These companies know that it’s mighty important to create content for every stage of the customer journey.

Having a blog enables you to speak directly to your customer – no matter where they are in your funnel (ooh-err). 

Here’s what I mean by that…

Top funnel content.

So these peeps are starting to hear about you. This is the brand awareness bit. They ain’t ready to buy yet, they want to see if they can trust you – getting to know you before they lean in for a snog (see if what you got is a good fit, again, ooh-err).

Mid-funnel content.

Ah, the consideration stage! These guys like you, they dig your cologne. You’re urging them to scooch up a little closer, to find out more. These hotties are already in your honey trap (email list) and now you’re treating them like a princess (lead nurturing). Go on, show them the wine list (provide testimonials and illustrate how your product/service could work for them).

Bottom funnel content.

Oh my… we’re on the brink (of a decision) with these people. You’re five dates in, they’ve likely seen a glimpse of your underwear (stats and case studies). A hand slides up their inner thigh (you’ve clearly demonstrated the product/service relieves their exact pain point). Yes! Yes! You’re the best! (You’ve sealed the deal and lucky you, they’ll come again.)

So blogging is more than orgasmic – sorry, organic traffic. 

Yes, it’s work (welcome to marketing) and maybe it isn’t right for you but blogging isn’t even close to dying.

If that got you all fired up for long-form but you don’t know where to start, why not book a one-to-one with me and we’ll hash things out.

I think you should learn to write a business blog that won’t induce sleep.

OK. I’m laying it all on the goddam table: most business blogs are terrible (not according to one bloke on Linkedin, there’s always a contrarian).

They (mostly) suck harder than any experienced sex worker.

And I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “Has she lost her fucking mind? All she does is talk about blogging for business!”

Yes, but when you read as many as I do, you begin to notice a pattern: they’re all as dull as Gwyneth Paltrow (that didn’t fly with some men on Linkedin either).

If you’ve been paying attention, you know your content needs to be enticing. So, for the love of a good woman let’s entice, shall we!

If you haven’t been paying attention, take a look at this article: How to write an SEO friendly blog people yearn to read

People just want info, not entertainment.

That’s often true when we’re after knowledge online.

We don’t care if the blog in question is beautifully written, nor do we mind if it’s light on LOLs. Surfing the web with informational intent usually means finding quick and simple explanations. 

But it also depends on what the purpose of your blog is. Some are written for entertainment’s sake. I know, utter madness.

As content creators, churning out just facts can really suck the joy out of blogging

A business blog requires commitment, and for me, writing one that adds humour makes me want to do it. Because let me tell you, there are hundreds of boring SEO blogs already in existence. I don’t need an outbound link to back that claim up.

I love SEO but for many, it’s a tedious and dry subject.

And maybe making it entertaining means making learning more effective. Hopefully, everyone’s having a good time and the customer is applying what they’ve learned to their business. 

A business blog isn’t your personal journal.

Well, a successful one isn’t. 

And by successful, I mean one that gets the kind of traffic you want. 

Customers won’t get industry-based information on a blog that talks about finding yourself at a yoga retreat in Nepal.

(Unless you’re selling spiritual awakenings at yoga retreats in Nepal.)

The trick is to write a business blog that isn’t business-like at all

Take the business out of business.

You need to choose a broad sector topic that you create regular blog content under.

For example, mine is SEO content writing for B2B. That makes it easy for me to maintain focus and write content on that subject.

Like I said, there are plenty of strait-laced SEO blogs already so I offer something different.

I get a kick out of finding unrelated subjects and challenge myself to create a connection between them. I have a thing for disparate things. Only I would find a way to mention dogging on a business blog about content writing – my business, my rules.

Just realised that ‘disparate’ sounds like a New Zealander saying, ‘desperate’. Say it out loud, you’ll know what I mean.

You might be pretty uptight on your business blog.

Maybe you’re petrified of offending people.

PSA: You will never be able to avoid offending people.

Aside from swearing and polarising opinions, some get nervy about using contractions (eg. they’re, you’re, it’s, can’t). Be a bloody maverick, go start a sentence with ‘and’, I promise your old English teacher isn’t watching (they’re probably dead).

Don’t do anything you feel isn’t appropriate for you and your content but stop yourself from thinking you shouldn’t just because it’s not the industry standard.

It would do freelancers and SMEs good to check out some rebel, disruptor, and challenger brands and see how they create content. Standing out from the crowd is their thing.

If you’re different from your competitors, shout loudly about it. If you’re not doing anything different, why not? If you offer the same service with a similar approach, all it then becomes is an arms race to the bottom in terms of price.

So, why not try approaching your business blog the way you might a personal blog. The only difference is the core subject matter.

What if some people hate it? 

Firstly, who cares, and secondly, who cares.

It’s attracting who it’s attracting – the people you really want to work with. And for those personality vacuums that just have to tell you how awful your content is, send them thoughts and prayers.

Don’t confuse style with lack of expertise.

If you’ve been creating content for your business you’ve already developed a style.

If, like me, you have a distinctive way with words, some might think you lack the knowledge to back it up. Only worry about that if you really don’t know what you’re talking about.

Who cares if it’s all about the style.

For some, style might be the only reason they engage with you online / buy a product / sign up for the newsletter. And some paying clients might be watching you from the sidelines – never getting involved with online conversations.

I don’t bother asking why they buy.

It doesn’t matter to me because I know my products could mean different things to different people. So if one person buys my stuff to learn and another to laugh, either way, they’re paying.

I’m a writer first. I’m never going to enjoy producing blog posts that are solely for the purpose of relaying information.

Are you a writer with a content conundrum? Wanna pick my brains about summat? Great coz you can. Book a one-to-one with me and we’ll sort it.