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.

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.

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.

2013 Goals

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Via BDB.co.uk

First of all, thank you for your readership and support throughout 2012! It’s been a great year.

Now, onward to 2013! I want to share a few of my goals for this year pertaining to Lexington Writing Firm:

  1. Read more. I read quite a bit already, but don’t have a set time to read about business and business writing. Throughout January, I want to read pertinent blogs or books first thing every morning for fifteen minutes. I can already tell that a cup of coffee and a bit of reading is a great way to start the day!
  2. Share more real-life business writing experiences. I work for great clients and have the opportunity to write great projects. I’m very serious about protecting non-disclosure agreements, but I can (and will) share projects’ challenges and solutions.
  3. Offer more tips and tricks for email. Writing email messages is the most popular topic here, so I plan to blog more about this vital issue. I also have a few other ideas to help you write better, smarter emails in the works.
  4. Connect better. I hope to share interesting articles that I find, as well as have a few guest bloggers share their thoughts here.
  5. Loosen up. Writing about writing in business can be pretty dry stuff. Yet, in practice there’s lots of fun and humor to be found. I want to loosen up a bit here and share the less serious side of business writing.

What are your writing goals for 2013? I’d love to hear!