There aren't many professions where you get paid by your clients to use a whip! But month after month I get to crack my (albeit metaphorical) lash to help my clients stay on track and keep their businesses moving forward.
So what activity do you think clients procrastinate over the most? The task that generates the most excuses and that clients find most difficult to complete?
The trouble is, it's just the same for me! Although I work as an Accountability Partner to my clients, I don’t actually have one myself, and I’m every bit as guilty of being ‘too busy to blog’.
Chamorro-Premuzic is quoted in the Harvard Business Review: Making Your Work Resolutions Stick - as saying “When you make your goals public, you're committing to them" So here I am 'going public'.
From this point on I promise to practice what I preach and publish a weekly blog. Naturally it will also be hugely entertaining and useful to all...
Feel free to whip away if I fail to deliver!
Seriously though, writing a blog can be hard work. It can feel extremely daunting. Like the biggest, ugliest frog you’ve ever had to eat is staring at you like a cocky teenager, baseball cap turned backwards, daring you to 'have a go'.
The answer? Create a little structure, follow a tried and trusted process, and use these four crucial elements to create a great blog post.
How to Conquer blogging in 4 easy steps
1. Create an attention-grabbing headline
Your headline is the first thing your readers will see, and the only thing, if you get it wrong! A good headline should read like a newsflash; be descriptive, and engaging.
As ‘the Father of Advertising’ David Ogilvy said –
"The headlines that work best are those that provide readers with a benefit" and
"On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy."
So, once you’ve decided what you want to blog about, and where ultimately want to take the reader, start by writing a first-draft headline to give yourself some structure.
2. Make your first paragraph captivating
It’s essential to capture the reader’s imagination straight away, so they can't help but want to read on. Perhaps start off with a gutsy statement. Make your mark.
It’s widely known that an average person’s attention span on the internet is even less than that for print, so make sure you hook your readers in immediately, or risk losing them forever.
3. Include interesting supporting points
Here comes the real ‘meat’ of the post – the reasoning behind your statements. This is where your structure is really important and you can’t afford to be all over the place.
At this point you need to think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to back it up. Try organising your thoughts into a list of bullet points or separate headings and then elaborate on each one so that this becomes the body of your post.
4. Create a really compelling call to action
By now you’ve crafted an attention-grabbing title, drawn the reader in with a captivating introductory paragraph and then impressed them with your well-thought-out statements and supporting rationale. So now’s the time to ‘make the close’.
This is definitely not the point to pussyfoot around, leaving your readers wondering why they bothered reading this far at all. Decide what you want your audience to take away from your article, and sock it to them!
For example, you might want them to leave a comment, share your post or take another specific course of action. Whatever it is that you want them to do, make sure it’s obvious and actionable.
How to Pull it all together
Choose a topic and write a headline
Write the lead paragraph
List a few main points in the body
Write your call to action
Edit and revise (including the headline)
Publish (after checking the headline one last time to make sure it works)
According to Goins, whilst it may feel a little stiff at first, if you follow this process every time you publish, you’ll find it easier to come up with content and it will eventually start to feel normal.
Do you procrastinate when it comes to writing your blog? If you need help to identify, prioritise or implement the things that need doing in your business, or need help staying on track, get in touch for a chat.
Business Support & Development Partner
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