There are zillions of articles out there that will tell you how to write a good blog post – how to improve your writing, make sure your grammar is on point, and even make sure your point is on point. That’s all crucial, but this piece will explore the most relevant elements we’ve found for how to write blogs that drive leads.
After all, we write a lot of blogs. (And we do our fair share of lead generation, too.)
1. Decide your format.
There are a few ways to approach blog structure and length. A few years ago, short and sweet was the name of the game. 400 words was the maximum you shot for in 2010. Today, long form is king. But so are design elements such as various header sizes, images, bold phrases, numerals, and so on. Before you begin writing, decide how you’ll format what you’re putting on paper. Your format will help you create a coherent blog, and coherency is a must for effective blogs that keep your target audience interested and drive lead generation.
Even though long-form blogs (800-3000 words) are in these days – and Google rewards them – do not write 800 words if you don’t have 800 words worth of valuable stuff to say. The internet is saturated with content, which means readers have become more savvy to fluff and useless words. They will know immediately if you are filling space and wasting their time.
To figure out what to shoot for in terms of word count, look at your outline (yes, you need to make an outline) and approximate how many words you will devote to each section. For example, I plan on writing four sections for this blog, each with about 250 words. With an intro and conclusion, that brings me to about 1,100 words. Let’s see how I do!
Different lengths are appropriate for different topics. Is your blog telling the history of a technology in telecom? That will be on the lengthier side. Is your blog describing a conversation you had with a customer? Keep it shorter.
2. Tell your story.
Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to engage your audience and imperative to keep in mind when considering how to write blogs for lead generation. An engaged audience means an audience that is building trust with you. And an audience that trusts you means you’ve got them in your sales funnel and you’re driving lead generation. (Here’s more info about why storytelling is key in content marketing.)
Matt Bowman, president of Thrive Internet Marketing Agency, cited in a Forbes article that “social storytelling — like gossip — is responsible for more than 65% of conversations had in public…So, it stands to reason that if you approach producing online content like you’re sharing important information with friends, you’ll gain more and better engagement with your brand.”
Part of storytelling in blogging means writing about what you know. You can tell stories in a few ways. Think about the following:
- Have you had a conversation with a customer recently that spurred you to ask or answer questions?
- Have you had an interaction with a customer that triggered a thought you can use to create industry commentary?
- Have you had a personal experience that can serve as an analogy for one that relates to your line of work?
Those questions will get you thinking about your own thoughts – something some people are unsure they should put down on paper. But your own story is the point here. Readers want to see emotion, drama, challenge, and creativity, and they’ll be more likely to stick around – and put their trust in you – if they feel your humanity through your storytelling. Remember, trusting readers become leads.
3. Consider your style.
Once you’ve got the format and story figured out, establish how you want to deliver the story to readers. There are many blog styles, and each is appropriate for different subjects and writers.
- Anecdotal: If your story is a traditional story with a beginning, middle, and end, opt for the anecdotal style. Tell the story as it happened – as if you were telling it in real life. Weave your point throughout the blog and end with a strong conclusion after the end of your story.
- Research/educational: If you’re aiming to explain a concept to your readers, the educational route is best. Your story can serve as a frame for explaining the benefits of a certain technology, how the reader can think differently, or citing statistics and research to drive your point home. The use of research is always a good idea where applicable – in any blog style – to drive thought leadership.
- Interview: Interview-style blogs serve to provide information in either a “Q&A” or conversational format. This style is best if you are telling the story of another thought leader, or if the quirks of casual conversation are key to the story. Here are two examples: This blog is a collaborative piece with one author interviewing the other to tell both of their stories’. This blog is a more formal interview.
4. Adhere to some basic writing do’s and don’ts.
- Consider every word before you write it. This may seem excessive, but good writing excludes unnecessary words. (I’m looking at you “that”!) The Harvard Business Review states: “Before crafting a single sentence, you determine the purpose and desired outcome of your communication.”
- Edit! MarketingProfs suggests the 25-25 rule:
– Cut 25% of the words for the second draft.
– Cut 25% for the third draft.
– Let go of parts of the article you like but aren’t important to the reader. This point is especially crucial for storytelling as it is easy to tell parts of the story you like but your reader will find irrelevant.
- Have a different set of eyes proofread.
- Write writer-centric articles. Long, wordy pieces tend to be writer-centric. Reader-centric articles are clear, concise, and friction-free.
- Use advanced words that demonstrate your vocabulary but alienate readers.
- Overuse commas.
- Use semicolons (unless you’re a grammar pro).
For tips on headlines, visual formatting, SEO, and more check out this blog. Considering just these basic points will improve your blog, build trust with readers, and drive lead generation.
No idea what “friction-free” writing is? Want more info on how to write blogs for lead generation? Mojo’s here to help. Contact us today to drive lead generation from your blog.
(P.S. – 1,114 words!)