For those new to social media or blogging the most common question asked is ‘what do I write?’. There is nothing more terrifying than that white piece of paper, or blinking cursor on an empty screen. However, there are a lot of quite simple techniques to help you get started.
A plan is essential for a regular blog or even tweeting on a daily basis. I know it may go against your artistic instincts. Creativity should be spontaneous, but let me refer back to that blank screen and blinking cursor. A plan will help in those moments when spontaneity and creative muse desert you. Try to spread your ideas over at least a three month period. Some writers even make it 12 months, but that may seem a little daunting at this point. You don’t have to stick to your plan rigidly but it will give you a good framework.
When writing a new article I usually start with the headings. What are the main points I want to make? Under each heading I put down a few bullet points. Once this structure is in place I can start filling this out into a full article making the whole process seem a lot less intimidating.
A good starting point is to list the 10 most common questions that you get asked by clients and customers on a regular basis. Look at creating one post or individual posts depending on how in-depth each subject is. This has the advantage of promoting your knowledge and can be used to support current and future clients.
Don’t underestimate the importance of case studies and the work you are most proud of. As individuals we are not always good at coming forward and showing off. This is not a time to be shy. Your best work may not speak for itself. Sometimes you have to shout about it to show how you are different from your competition.
Subjects that stir your emotions and relate to your brand or services make a great blog topic. Imagine putting 10 people in one room and asking them what most concerns them. What subjects do you need to shout about that will touch those important emotive responses. This can be aimed at your peer group or your customers.
Choose a subject and do something occasionally aimed at a more advanced level. This is a chance to explore something in real detail and show that you are a voice to be reckoned with. This could be a new innovation in your industry or a specialised technique.
Take your reader on a journey so that at the end of your piece they feel they have learnt something or have a clearer understanding of your message. Look at the way you can link together your articles into a story that will make the reader understand your company or brand.
What makes you smile? For me it’s blue sky, chocolate, family, a new gadget, new shoes, a finished website and..er .. did I mention chocolate and new shoes? It might seem like a simple question but I really don’t think we consider it enough. Evoking those good emotions from your reader can help them look at your services, product or brand with favour. This can make you more stand out from your competitors. Brands like ‘Innocent’ are very good at inspiring affection and loyalty from their customers.
If you can make someone laugh, in a good way, then you are half way to having a new customer or client. Too many times websites are dry and concentrate on the serious business of who they are. Of course getting the balance right is important. A little humour helps the ‘medicine go down’, too much and your audience may feel they have missed out on what seems like a very personal in-joke.
A picture will grab the attention of your reader and encourage them to read further. Illustration can also help explain a more complicated idea. Make sure your images are good quality and sharp. Images that include people are always good as it has been proved that the human face can invoke a greater empathy and trust with the reader. Try to ensure the ‘people images’ face into the copy as we tend to follow the direction of someones gaze.
Keep your writing to the point. Use headings, short paragraphs and develop your own voice. As you gain in experience it will become easier and you may find that the ideas begin to flow far more readily. Most importantly, keep a note book beside your bed. There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning knowing you had a brilliant idea – if you could just remember what it was!
You might also find useful: Creating Content Workbook