Creating content; the small business owner’s guide
Creating content can be intimidating when you’re faced with a blank page. Just because you’re a small business owner and not Charles Dickens, it doesn’t mean you should underestimate the written word. Statistics show that consumers find companies with a blog more reliable, and are more likely to buy from them.
When it comes to creating content, the biggest struggle is not knowing what to say. When this is the case, the urge can be to waffle, but writing for the internet is not the same as writing in your diary. Internet users often only skim read, so minimal writing is preferable.
If you’re scared of not portraying your brands’ qualities in the right way online, don’t panic! We’ve created a list of some tips.
Content takes so many forms that tailoring to each one would mean multiple blog posts (watch this space), so for now we’ll assume you want to write a blog documenting your trade. By ‘documenting’ we don’t mean filing your movements and recording them in an hour to hour run down of your day.
Instead use plenty of pictures to break up heavy pieces of text (no one wants to read 4 pages on how to craft a shoe) but videos and images will grab the reader.
Accept the first draft
It can be tough writing anything on a plain sheet of paper (word document – we know – it is 2015). So here’s a tip; write some rubbish. Aiming for something in the region of your topic is great, but not essential. A great way to start is bullet pointing your subtitles and working from there.
By breaking up the page you’re able to focus on each section individually, then you can look at the start linking each paragraph to create a flowing piece of text that will have the reader wanting to carry on, and incidentally stay on your page for longer.
Take a break
After you’ve written down the ideas it’s time to step away. Before you start re-reading and making changes, get up from your desk and either walk the dog, make some tea or go and ring your Nan. Whatever you decide to do, it’s a necessary break.
The aim is that when you return with a fresh mind, you’ll be able to correct inaccuracies and improve your work. The break will also give you the opportunity to think of new ideas for the post.
Editing is more important than writing; it’s here when you really start to work. Your first draft will more than likely be a random scramble of rubbish that only makes sense to you and won’t look appealing to anyone else.
Eliminate unnecessary words (as Stephen King said, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs”) and keep it simple, snappy and interesting. People reading your blog don’t owe you anything, so they’ll only stay on your page for as long as they’re interested.
Quality over quantity
A common misconception of blogs is that they must be a length worthy of Victorian literature. This is not true, people come to your site to either be informed, or because you tweeted a funny picture of a cat. They won’t want to read your 3,000 word post on how well different types of wood burn.
Keep it brief, funny and smart. They’re the three essential rules of creating great copy.
Sitting down and committing to writing a blog post can be tough, especially when your new best friend ‘Procrastination’ comes to visit. So once you’ve done the dishes, cleaned the bathroom, put the dog out, vacuumed the stairs, reorganised the cupboards, let the dog back in and made your cup of tea, you should finally be ready to start.
When you’re typing it can be tempting to open up the internet and browse Facebook – you must resist! If necessary get your typewriter out of the loft, blow off the dust and set yourself up in a distraction-free zone.
What techniques do you use to create great content? If you have one to add, or you find any of these particularly on the money, leave a comment below!