In business, the general rule is you play to your strengths. If you need specific skills that you don’t possess, you bring the right people in to do the job. You spot talent, manage that talent well and ultimately empower employees to bring what you lack into the organisation. After all, you can’t do everything, and this framework has worked well for decades. However, we’re in a new decade now and this one demands content on a regular basis. We’ve shifted the way we engage and talk to our customers and with these new rules of engagement comes incredible pressure for every business, leader and employee to churn out Shakespearean style blogs once a week, every week. We don’t just have to be good at our jobs, but now we have to be good at our jobs and be able to write Pulitzer winning commentary about those jobs and if writing isn’t something you enjoy, the prospect is quite frankly terrifying.
The natural conclusion is you revert to the way we’ve always done business; you hire someone to write those blogs for you and everyone wins, however, hiring someone isn’t always the right answer. You might not have the budget for this and even if you can afford to pay someone, businesses attribute 48% of their success to the brand of their CEO or leaders. When business success goes up because you’re writing personal blogs, can you afford to not write your own blogs?
Realistically, no. You’re going to have to take pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, at some point so you may as well be prepared. And the truth is, you don’t need to have a master’s in creative writing to create compelling copy that people want to read. And you definitely don’t need to sound like Shakespeare. He’s a bit much to be honest. You just need to follow some really simple rules and in doing so, you can create blogs that engage your audience, deliver ROI and build the reputation of your brand.
1. Start telling stories
Whether you’re writing a client email or your weekly blog, pretend you’re telling a story and you don’t want the person opposite you to get up and leave until you’re finished. You want them hooked, thirsty for more, on the edge of their seat and dying to know what happens next. Think about all the exciting information and how you can say it to keep your readers involved. Take them on a journey. Make it fun. Make it dramatic. Be serious and then switch it up. This is your story and you can tell it any which way you like.
2. Use voicenotes
The problem with most blogs is that people get behind a keyboard and instantly clam up. They start talking like they’re a 90-year-old professor from the 1990s. Let him go. He’s a drag and no one wants to read his work anyway. If you do find you tend to change your tone when writing, then voicenote yourself what you want to say, and then transcribe it. The most important rule of writing is that you should sound like yourself. No one is doing you better than you, so don’t throw away your greatest asset. Use your tone. Your jokes. Your colloquialisms and strange sayings. It will make your work richer and far more compelling. For example, this sentence – ‘should one find oneself struggling to source talent then it’s advisable to create engaged pools’ – is terrible and no one talks like that anymore. However, this sentence – ‘if you can’t find talent anywhere and it’s driving you mad, start making friends with good people now and take them out for drinks every few months to keep them sweet’ – is far more reflective of how we speak and makes you sound like a normal human.
3. Keep it simple
Don’t let the desire to write a Pulitzer Prize winning blog get in your head. Keep it short and keep it simple. Don’t try and sound fancy because you’ll probably just end up sounding like that professor again, or like Joey from Friends when he first discovers a thesaurus. It’s your job to convey clear, concise information to them. The longer the sentence, the harder it is to understand.
4. Write for your reader
This blog isn’t for you and you’re not the audience. Keep the person who’s reading it in mind, all the time. Do you remember the last time you really liked someone, and you obsessed over every text message to make sure it was worded just right and made them smile and feel special? It’s exactly like that. You’re crafting the perfect message for someone you’re besotted with and eventually hope to date.
5. Be brave
4 million blogs are posted on the internet every single day. You have to get yours to stand out and in this saturated market, it’s hard. It’s HELLA hard in fact. So be brave when you’re writing. Be different. Say the things out loud that everyone is thinking but no one wants to say. Be casual and be dramatic. Use different approaches. It’s your blog and you can write it however you like. You don’t have to stick to traditional grammar rules either. You can start sentences with ‘and’ or ‘because’. You can use slang words or swear if you want to. You know your audience which means you know what they’ll love. Not everyone is supposed to love your blogs, just the people you want to talk to. So let’s go, it’s time to actually start talking…
Salma, started in the Recruitment industry at Harvey Nash, as one of their Bid Writers. Over a six-month period she won £3.6million in new business across the UK and Ireland, Asia PAC and the US. She was then promoted to Head of Content for the UK and Ireland, where she led the content initiatives to attract new business. Salma then joined James Caan at Recruitment Entrepreneur as his Head of Marketing where she was responsible for business growth, both for the investment fund and for the portfolio businesses. In 2016 Salma started her own business called Digitally Human where she helps companies escape the crowd by creating engaging stories to engage customers hearts and minds. Salma works with recruitment companies on their branding, marketing and content to generate growth and revenue.
You can find her at firstname.lastname@example.org