3 Benefits of Blogging Ahead

Blogging for your business increases traffic to your website, builds customer loyalty and drives sales. At such a small cost, what’s not to love?

Blogging takes lots of time and energy, often without knowing if there’s been any real return. When I work with clients creating their blog strategy and individual posts, I always preach the value of “blogging ahead” or writing posts to be published two or three weeks ahead of time.

Why is “blogging ahead” so helpful?

1. It’s more efficient and consistent. You can create a consistent schedule for your posts, so your readers will grow to rely on your blog as their go-to source for information. Writing ahead of time is also much more efficient, since you can write when you have spare time or carve out a few hours to write posts for the next month. In the end, this is faster than writing posts on the day you want them to be published.

2. You stay motivated. Blogging can be draining since you have to continually come up with new ideas and write great content. When you “blog ahead,” you write when you’re more motivated—not crunched for time. You’ll enjoy the process more and, therefore, are more likely to grow a great blog.

3. Your blog’s content is better. When you write ahead of time, you’re more likely to produce thoughtful, well-written content instead of something that’s just thrown together. Take the time to create the best articles you can and your readers will thank you with their continued readership. You can still write highly topical “spur of the moment” articles, but this shouldn’t be your blog’s foundation.

“Blogging ahead” is a great strategy. Try establishing a blog calendar or creating a “bank” of five to ten polished articles that can be published when needed. Or, consider hiring a professional blog writer to help you get started or maintain your business blog. I offer a Blog Post Package service—ten compelling posts to help you build a better blog and incite meaningful conversations.

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Confronting Difficult Issues with Writing

We don’t conduct business in a vacuum. Sometimes, we have to confront difficult, uncomfortable topics with writing. When these situations arise, our challenge is to write in a way that articulates our feelings and perspectives, while also improving the business culture that we work in—not tearing it down. 

Perhaps you need to tell a group of employees disappointing news or must explain a setback to a customer. At one time or another, we all must write about business-related difficulties.

Here are a few things to keep in mind so your writing is as successful as possible:

1. Take a deep breath. Wait until your head is clear to put your thoughts into writing.  If you don’t, you’ll risk hurting your reputation and making the situation even worse.

2. Share your perspective and ask for theirs. Detail what you specifically have seen or experienced; don’t assume that everyone has the same perspective. Write several sentences beginning with “I” so that the reader understands where you’re coming from. Then, ask for them to share their perspective (a personal email back to you, a phone call, etc.).

3. Articulate goals. Discuss the problems in terms of your collective objectives. It’s useful to describe the goals, even if you think all your readers know them already, so everyone is on the same page.

4. Recognize hard work. Give everyone credit where it’s due by recognizing others’  efforts to achieve the goals. We all respond better to a disappointment when our successes and achievements are recognized.

5. Never blame. Don’t ever blame another person in writing. Setbacks and failures usually have many causes, not including other peoples’ actions or decisions. Blaming people will only worsen the situation.

6. Recognize disappointment and next steps. Finally, describe your and others’ disappointment in the situation; recognize how it will hurt employees or your customers. Don’t shy away from this—readers want to know that you understand their pains. Once you’ve done this, encourage others to move past it by outlining the steps you’ll take to improve or rectify the situation.

For my next post, I’ll write a sample email addressing a difficult topic. Do you have any suggestions for the topic or situation? Please pass along any scenarios that come to mind!

Excellent Writing = Credibility

Honest and persuasive communication builds the foundation for your business’ credibility. This is the best way to develop long-lasting relationships with your clients, customers and employees.

Credible writing is more than grammatically correct and coherent. It inspires and strengthens trust in your business’ message and goals; it builds loyalty.

Here are a few important strategy for building credibility with excellent writing:

  1. Explain issues clearly. Readers appreciate clarity and simple, logical writing makes you seem more knowledgeable. Avoid readers scratching their heads at all costs. This is especially important when writing emails, letters and presentations. 
  2. Use specific facts, not vague statements. Whenever possible, reference highly specific information and figures to support your claims. Readers quickly become skeptical if you only use generalizations. This is especially important when proposing a new idea, explaining a new strategy or defining results.
  3. Reference credible sources. Offer your readers several credible sources that support your message. The sources may be from your project research, or simply provide readers with additional reading. This is especially important when writing presentations and reports.
  4. Address concerns, weakness and mistakes. Be honest and forthright—this is the best way to establish and grow trust with your readers. Let them know that you’ve thought about their potential concerns and owned up for mistakes. You can then move on with their full support. This is especially important when writing memos, emails and presentations.

3 Ways Bad Grammar Hurts Your Career

Gramatical errors don’t just jar editors and sticklers for the rules. They chip away at your credibility, your ability to communicate effectively and can, ultimately, damage your career. Here are a few reasons to proofread extra carefully at work:

6943661159_b3ba39ae9a_z1. People who use bad grammar are less likely to be hired. A mistake on your resume, letter or even LinkedIn profile cause many employers to believe that you cannot represent yourself well in writing and pay little attention to detail. Employers are very unlikely to trust someone like this, even if the position requires no writing. Check out this HBR article for one employer’s perspective.

2. Your good ideas and hard work become clouded. When readers see that you don’t know the difference between “affected” and “effected,” they are less likely to buy into your new idea or respect the work you put into a project. Small grammatical mistakes weaken your message, no matter how powerful, curtailing your achievements and progress.

3. Poor grammar compromises your professionalism. Using bad grammar in an email or conversation can make your colleagues think that you aren’t serious about your work. It can also cause them to notice or, worse, seek out your other bad habits. Become more self-aware of the language you choose when speaking and writing—it can be friendly and informal, while also grammatically correct and professional.

Sleepy Readers

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A recent article on the HBR’s blog was very interesting. Bad writing not only confuses and fails to achieve its goals, it’s downright boring!

Dull presentations, insipid reports and blah websites make zero impact on the readers, wasting writers’ and business’ time and money. Bryan Garner‘s article offers several great strategies that keep you from putting others to sleep and I’d like to add a few more:

Vary Verbs: Often, you’ll need to repeat the same nouns again and again (for instance, when discussing a project title). You can, however, use a variety of verbs to add interest to your writing.

Highlight what’s Not Obvious: You want to make everything crystal clear to your readers, but not so simple that it seems obvious. This makes readers think that they already know everything and, then, tune out quickly. Showcase the interesting and complicated issues instead of boiling them down too much.

Highlight what’s Unclear: Don’t shy away from challenging topics. Take them on. Discuss pressing questions, concerns and opportunities for changes.