As a business owner, I know the importance of blogging and developing content to help build my brand and my expertise in my field. Blogging was something I started doing early on and I thought I was doing OK. My blogs were getting read and shared, and was starting to develop a reputation around town in my new chosen field as a Business Coach, and preached the importance of building content to clients I worked with. Along the way I attended workshops on content and writing and social media by people like Daniel Oyston, Matt Fenwick and Natasha Vanzetti and learnt a lot. I thought I was writing and sending out newsletters and generally felt good about what I was doing, but that was only my opinion!
Several months ago I started discussions with a writing coach, and have been meeting regularly with him both face to face and via phone sessions to see if I could do anything differently. I didn’t actively go out in search of this service, it came more out of a developing relationship via unsolicited feedback he regularly provided when I sent something out, which I took on board and implemented each time. From here we decided to engage in a formal relationship to help me work on my content. Since this time I have learnt several lessons, and changed some bad habits, but not all. I am still work in progress!
What I have learnt:
Focus on what my target market wants
One of the most valuable activities was in developing a client profile and discovering just what my clients wanted. This showed how they research, what they read, what they want to read and how they do it. It means, I can target writing towards answering common questions that they may have which will ultimately mean I am writing to what similar potential clients may want to read. Instead of random posts, I can now write in a more focussed manner towards my target.
Plan my writing
I have always been a ‘oh I’d better write an article now’ person. If I needed to get my newsletter out and hadn’t written anything I would quickly slam out 2 or 3 articles, link them, post them and tick that task box for the month. What the Content Plan taught me is to plan what I write, when I write it and how I write it. Hopefully this allows for more value added posts instead of random rants.
Proof read, proof read, and proof read again
In line with my random approach of writing as indicated above, I would often bag something out in 20-30 minutes, and be so excited that I would press the Publish Now button and it’s live. Too many times I have had people call or email me to point out some blatantly obvious typos or grammar errors. Sure I used spell check, but occasionally words slip through. Embarrassingly I have even had some posts with inappropriate placements of words such as ‘dicks’, ‘nuts’ and ‘balls’ instead of other intended words, which did make my post seem funny to read, but definitely created an “Oh S@^#t” moment when pointed out to me!
Have someone else proof read!
To be even more sure about avoiding potential errors I have now learnt to get someone else to read before I hit that Publish button. This has been a great challenge to me, given my style of random writing, and although I am not 100% compliant on this one, I am getting better- with planning.
Stop talking to myself.
I have had a bad habit of writing something, then having a discussion with myself about it (such as this). What I have learnt is this detracts from the message and makes me come across as lacking authority or downplaying the point I was making by trying to humorous or human in this approach. I would say something like “developing a one page plan allows for a more focussed overview of your business (not that everyone will do it)” which removes the intent of the initial comment.
Don’t undersell myself
By using the ‘talk to myself’ style and not being definitive in my arguments or opinion has shown a lack of confidence in some of the pieces I write. I have learnt that I need to convey my expertise and experience and not be afraid of telling others of it. I know what I know and need to show others that this is the case. Be confident in what I write and be forceful in the level of authority I show when I write.
Express my personality
I have been told I write like I am in person, which I have been told is a positive. I am not attempting to be someone whom I am not. This shows my authenticity and for people who meet me, will see me as the same person who writes. I have always felt I am a WYSIWYG so my writing attempts to reflect this, as I am completely turned off people who write in a style that doesn’t match the real deal.
While my journey on this writing trip is no way over, I have found it to be a strong and beneficial lesson. I know at times I probably frustrate my teacher, but I wouldn’t be a student if I was perfect. I always had the school reports that said “Tony is easily distracted” so I guess that’s just me and small steps will continue to make a big difference to me. So thank’s to my coach Matt Fenwick from True North Writing, and sorry for writing this and Publishing without showing you, proof reading or having anyone else check it, and I wrote it in about 20 minutes! Clearly I’m still work in progress!
How do you write your blog posts? I would love to hear your stories