How to Blog When You’re Not a Writer
Have you ever accidentally slammed your hand in a car door? OUCH!
I think that very unpleasant feeling can be compared to how some small business owners feel about blogging. Until very recently, I would never have published anything on the Internet because I have never considered myself a writer.
Well, that all changed when I purchased my small business and suddenly I was forced to start producing content so that I could try to rank in Google, educate customers, and develop my backstory.
However, even though I started producing content, I still suffered from the inferiority complex that can only be associated with IMNOTAWRITER syndrome.
This syndrome, I’ve found, can be deadly to your small business blogging and it can cause countless hours of wasted time and frustration.
Plus, telling yourself, IMNOTAWRITER, is a very easy and convenient excuse not to blog, isn’t it?
As a small business owner, do you struggle with writing?
Growing up I was not one of those people who kept a journal or felt compelled to write as a form of self-expression. In fact, if you looked in the dictionary for the definition of ìnon-writer,î I would have been the poster child.
If you suffer from IMNOTAWRITER syndrome, but you’re contemplating blogging for your small business, please know that you are not alone and the fear (pain?) of writing can be overcome.
Typically, when it comes to blogging and small business, the three biggest complaints that I hear are:
* I don’t have the time.
* I am not a writer (or I hate writing!).
* I don’t know what to write about.
That’s it. Three little obstacles keeping small business owners from reaping improved search engine visibility (SEV), attracting new customers, and engaging existing clients.
Today, however, I am going to share a little secret with just you. Shhh… come closer… Closer… CLOSER.
You don’t have to be a writer in order to be a small business blogger.
Yes, you read correctly. You don’t have to be a writer in order to be a blogger.
Unfortunately, as far as I know, there is no writing fairy who will magically publish blog posts for you, so you won’t be able to avoid some of the hard work that producing content requires. But, to make the process more manageable, I am going to provide you with a couple of options and a bunch of tips that have helped me.
Option One: Blogging for Non-Writers
The suggestions below assisted me in getting over my uncertainty and fear of blogging and are recommended for those business owners who are hesitant to write, but are willing to give it a try.
1.) Start with your goals. What are you hoping to achieve through your blogging?
Do you want to be on Google front page?
Do you want to develop your brand?
Do you want to educate the public about your industry?
Do you want to increase your customer base?
Once you have your goals you can then create your content strategy around them.
2.) Get started. Make a commitment and set a specific date with your computer (or pen & paper) and get your ideas down. Do not skip this date for any reason, except an absolute emergency.
3.) Write your titles first. The titles will give you a simple, creative base from which you can structure the rest of your article.
4.) List out bullet points. Once you have your primary ideas down in a bulleted list you can then create formal paragraphs around your key message.
5.) Write in a human voice. You don’t have to be anyone else but you. There are a lot of impressive writers online (see: Darren Rowse, Seth Godin, Brian Clark, Chris Brogan, Jonathan Fields, & Colleen Wainwright) which can be intimidating and make you want to mimic them. Writing in your own voice adds a human element and will go a long way towards developing trust.
6.) Keep it simple. You don’t need fancy language or intricate grammar. One piece of handy advice I received is write as if you are drafting an email. Also, I find that focusing on one specific item in my small business blog posts keeps it as simple as you can get.
7.) Read your posts aloud. Before you publish your post, read it aloud. Does it make sense? Then go ahead and get it out on the Internet!
When writing for your small business blog, your post does not have to be perfect in order for it to be effective, but it most certainly does have to get published.
Option Two: Blogging for Those Who Refuse to Write.
Option two is for those of you who refuse to write one word. Amazingly, you can still rank for keywords and appear on the front page of Google even if you never write a blog post. Although, you still have to be willing to do some work (sorry there’s no way around the work part).
1.) Try speech recognition software. Do you like to talk about your business, your customers, or your amazing product? Speech recognition software allows you to speak into your computer and without ever typing a letter. The program will capture your words and create a text file that can be published on your blog. (Special bonus, there’s even a speech recognition iPhone option.)
2.) Use photos. Have you ever done a Google search and noticed photos on the front page? If you refuse to write, but love to take pictures, then photos are a great way to provide content for your small business blog. You can upload them to a site like FLICKR and then seamlessly add them to your blog.
3.) Take Video. If photos are good; video is great! With video you can provide some really useful blog content in the form of tutorials or even customer interviews. Remember, people have limited attention spans so keep the videos short, about 1-2 minutes in length should be sufficient.
Always remember, if you skip a week, two weeks, or even a month don’t give in to the temptation to quit altogether. Just get back at it, don’t apologize and get back to posting your content.
I think that what scares people the most about blogging in general isn’t the writing, photos, or videos at all, but the publishing. Once you hit the ‘Publish Post’ button you have effectively given up control and you will be judged.
In closing, I think it’s important to state that whatever avenue you choose to promote your business, the key is to make a commitment and do it consistently.
Do you have other suggestions that might help those of us who suffer from IMNOTAWRITER syndrome? Please leave them in the comment below.
(Mark Hayward is not the writing fairy, but he owns a business and can help improve the online presence of your business. Get his RSS Feed and follow him on Twitter @mark_hayward.)