You’ve heard every piece of advice about how to make your business more visible. And yet, you keep stalling over the cheapest and easiest way to build that visibility: keeping your website updated with regular blog posts.
What’s holding you back? I can hear you now: “I am not a writer! I am a doer!” Guess what? You don’t have to be a writer to keep a blog for your business.
Moreover, you also won’t have to hire anyone to do it for you. No one knows your business and your customers better than you do, so you’re the best person to write for your business.
I can assure you, if you have all that knowledge in your head, you can make this knowledge flow through your fingers and keyboard onto the screen and onto the World Wide Web, which is the right place for it to be, as people look for everything online.
Even if you are a small local business owner, you must be searchable to attract new customers, engage with the existing ones, and build trust for your brand.
One of the things that makes people freeze when they see the blank page is the anxiety of not being able to meet some imaginary standard of perfection.
Drop that worry right away. Your content does not need to be a perfect work of art to attract your clients. Primarily it needs to be out there, published. Then, of course, it must be readable and cohesive to bring your point across.
I know that fear of judgment and fear of my work not being good enough. Yet each time I start procrastinating and freezing, I remind myself about the sad case of Joseph Grand.
He was an illustrious character from Albert Camus’ The Plague who suffered from intense anxiety over finding the perfect words to express himself. That prevented him from patching things up with his wife (he couldn’t get himself to write her a letter) and from writing his book. Because he obsessed over perfection, he only penned one opening line over the years.
Don’t be like Joseph Grand. Instead, be like Richard Branson. The famous self-made billionaire doesn’t merely say things like “Screw it, just get on and do it.” He actually lives his life that way. And look where it got him!
To break the vicious circle of fear and anxiety, start writing everything that comes to your mind. You can always edit later. Do not stop to correct yourself; let your thoughts flow.
One of the great benefits of working in a word processor is your ability to rearrange sentences and words as if they were pieces of a puzzle. You do not have to start with an introduction—start with a bullet-point list of things you wish to tell about your product, service, or website, or even just what you think people should know about you.
If you feel completely at sea and do not know where to start, start with the title. It is your key message in a condensed form.
What do you want your customers to know? Why are your doughnuts the freshest? Why should people order your craft keychains? Why should they book you for their wedding reception? Why are you the right person to call if their doggo is sick?
Write down the answer as you would say it, in your own words. Then elaborate and add details. Once again—leave editing for later; do not stop.
Many brilliant bloggers made themselves visible on the internet. Their posts are succinct and engaging, so you may feel tempted to emulate their styles. Of course, you can learn a trick or two from them. However, writing in your own voice is far better.
First of all, you will feel less compulsion to be perfect. Second, people can smell BS and fakery from miles away. After all, those writers became successful thanks to their unique and sincere voices, not because they copied someone. Being yourself goes a long way when it comes to building trust with your audience.
Many people hate writing because they fear they’ll sound pretentious. They think that when one writes (as opposed to speaking), one must use flowery language, bookish words, and assume a high-brow stance toward readers. If that’s your case, try speaking out loud. Imagine you are talking to a pal over a beer.
Then write it down. In fact, if you loathe writing that much, you might consider using speech recognition software. Yep, what a time to be alive!
This is another way to combat freezing, perfectionism, and other nasty symptoms of I-am-not-a-writer syndrome.
If you have forever to finish a 500-word post, it will take you forever. If you know it’s due in two hours, you’ll finish it in two hours. Hey, it won’t be any worse than a piece you’ve never finished.
Set a timer or ask a friend to follow up and check on you. Or make it a public obligation—promise your readers that next post will go live next Tuesday. Then you will have to keep your promise.
Regular updates are vital. Search engines (and your customers!) tend to forget about blogs and sites that go quiet for a long time. That is another reason why you have to do it yourself. There is little point in hiring a professional writer to fill your site with great content and then leaving it there to go stale.
Your blog must be a living, breathing thing. It’s a reflection of your business. Share anything that might interest your customers—a local take on big news from the industry, product line expansion, charities your business supports, events you partake in or organize.
If you do not know what to write, here are a few ideas.
If you own a business and deal with customers, you know the questions they will ask, over and over. Even better—you already have the answers. Make a list of FAQs and answer them. Your post is ready! Moreover, it will save your time and your customer’s.
Show how something gets done. It can be a behind-the-scenes piece about your business (“How we make our tables”), or DIY for your customers (“Convert our coffee table into Ouija board for Halloween”) where you walk your reader through the process. Start with pictures and then complete them with descriptions. Voila! Instant blog post.
If you don’t like writing and you don’t like talking either, you might find yourself in a tight spot. But there is still a way out.
You must know someone in your industry (maybe even your business partner) who is willing to chat. Arrange an interview and let them talk. You may want to prepare some questions and prompts. Hit a “record” button.
All that is left is to make a transcript and write a short introduction, which is much easier than writing from scratch. There, your unique and engaging post is ready.
Having a good product is not enough to run a successful business. You need words. Stop fearing them. Make them work for you!
Tell your customers about your amazing product or unique services in your own friendly and conversational voice, do not forget to update your blog regularly, and use videos and pictures to help you out if you don’t feel like writing.
Linda Cartwright is a Seattle-based freelance writer with a knack for creating magnetic copy that makes people want to buy your stuff. She teaches creative writing online, helps writers with editing and proofreading, and collaborates on educational projects like Paper Help.