Too often, I come across blogs that are effective at only one thing: chasing me away. Actually that’s a bit of an overstatement. The word “chase” leaves the impression that I ran screaming, a reaction far more preferable to the reality because at least there would have been some shock value involved. It’s more accurate to say I’m driven away.
And always with the heavy heart of a professional copywriter who realizes not everyone can be saved from the fate of a bad blog.
So I decided to do something about it. I’d never dream of contacting the owners of the blogs directly, for two big reasons. One, I’m not the kind of person to call out a stranger for their flaws – that would be rude, and there are enough rude people in the world as it is. Two, it would turn into a full time job. There are that many blogs out there with plain bad copywriting. So I opted for an alternate approach – call it an open letter to all bloggers. Or just a breakdown of best practices.
Keep your blog low in fat, high in protein
What does that mean, exactly? I’ll do my best to explain. When a reader stumbles across your blog, you’ve got about ten seconds to make a good impression. If you fail to do that, consider another potential subscriber lost. One of the biggest contributors to what I call “X-out Loss” is making your blog impossible to read. And I’m not talking about web copy that’s too small, or backgrounds that make seeing the words difficult. I’m talking about actual content. As much as it may hurt to realize, the majority of people will skim over your words for the content they’re interested in without regard to how much effort you put into writing it. For that reason, cut out the fat and get to the meat. Economize your words. Make your blogs digestible. Just like this.
Throw in the essential ingredients
You wouldn’t bake a cake without mixing every ingredient called for… not unless you were trying really hard to spoil someone’s birthday. And unless you’re trying equally hard to spoil your blog, you need to ensure that you’re not omitting the most essential ingredient: keywords. But SEO copywriting is more than just stuffing your text with key phrases and words your readers are likely to type into a search engine. Because just like there’s a specific order to the adding of ingredients when you’re baking a cake, there’s also a method to the placement of keywords. Making them work in the context of what you’re writing is what separates a true copywriter from a bona fide spammer. And I’ll bet you’d never have guessed that “copywriter” was a targeted keyword in this paragraph. See how that works?
Share the recipe
What’s with all the food references? I must be hungry. But before I head out to my favorite restaurant, let me share with you the final – and quite possibly most important – tip to a better blog. It’s called sharing the recipe. If you haven’t already figured it out, it means sharing information. About your techniques, practices and ideas. Unless you’re sitting on some secret formula that’ll turn your specific industry on its ear, there should be nothing you’re not sharing with your readers. While this may fly in the face of everything that’s intuitive within you, it makes perfect sense. One of the keys to driving traffic to your website is by publishing a relevant, compelling blog. And the main ingredient of any blog is information. Nobody wants to read advertising copy, not on purpose and certainly not by surprise. A blog that’s simply another platform for your press releases is exactly that.
Here’s to hoping that this open letter’s found you in time to prevent you from becoming just another blogger I desperately wanted to like, but whose content writing was the anathema that wound up chasing me away.