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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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.

Write like a Leader

Business writing can be either clear and effective, or not. Once you have the skills to write clearly and effectively, how can you distinguish yourself further? How can you write like a leader?

Take Me to Your Leader (Newsboys album)

Take Me to Your Leader (Newsboys album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No matter your position or title, you can write like a leader–so your emails, reports, speeches, presentations, etc. become appreciated, admired and welcomed by the entire organization. Here are a few tips for writing like a leader:

  1. Address issues proactively and clearly. Never shy away from something that needs to be brought to light–write professionally about it. When writing, it’s easy to limit the conversation to only what you, the writer, wants to discuss. This, however, breeds mistrust and poor engagement. When addressing important (or touchy) issues, you don’t need to be brash or confrontational, simply recognize them, state some possible solutions and ask your readers about their thoughts.
  2. Motivate others with encouragement and appreciation. All employees–no matter their position–want to be recognized for their talents, hard work and the challenges they deal with on a daily basis. Make sure that every piece of writing that comes off your desk includes a note of thanks for a past project and encouragement for the upcoming tasks.
  3. Write sincerely. In a business environment, employees get to know the writer’s personality by their writing’s style and tone. Your writing should represent who you are and what kind of leader you are. To do this, keep your writing professional and organized, and infused with your signature humor, energy, reflectiveness, thoughtfulness, etc.
  4. Articulate your vision. Leadership guides the organization in reaching its goals. Write like a leader by clearly explaining why and how specific tasks fit into the big picture. For example, when giving a presentation on product’s update, explain exactly why the product benefits from the changes, how this helps you reach target markets and reach long-term organizational goals. This can (and often should) be concise, but speaks volumes about your knowledge and drive.

How do you infuse leadership into your writing? Is anything missing from this list?

Correcting Kindly

We all make mistakes when writing. Sometimes these mistakes even make their way into final publications, presentations, blog posts or emails. When you find an error in a colleague’s writing project, treat them the way you would  like to be treated by correcting them kindly. The writing will improve, as will your relationship!

Here are a few simple tips for pointing out mistakes with kindness:

  1. If the writing can be updated (such as with a blog post or powerpoint presentation), tell the writer about the mistake as quickly as possible, so they avoid public embarrassment. If the writing can’t be updated (such as a printed brochure), tell the writer to keep the change in mind for future printings.
  2. Approach the writer privately, either in person or via email, never through a public message board.
  3. Describe everything that the writer got right in detail. For example, describe how the presentation inspired you to do something new or how you appreciate the blog’s creativity.
  4. Be specific when pointing out the error.
  5. Acknowledge their efforts in writing the document.

All of these steps help maintain the writer’s self-esteem, fix an error and–most importantly–bolster your professional relationship with a kind, sincere discussion.

Here’s an example of a kind correction:

Subject: Lone mistake in “Innovating Production” presentation

Hi Chris,

Congratulations on a wonderful presentation! The entire group was impressed by how you organized the issue so intuitively and gave us lots of practical tips for improving–and rewarding–innovative performance. I want to point out a typo I found on slide 10: aberrant is misspelled. “We must encourage abberant thinking and experimentation” should read, “We must encourage aberrant thinking and experimentation.” 

A super small mistake! Congrats, again, on this success–your hard work paid off. We’re looking forward to learning more from you in future presentations.

Cheers,

Kathleen

Do you have any examples of a kind correction? Do you associates correct mistakes kindly? I’d love other examples, so please pass along your experiences!

Questions to Ask for Clearer Writing

Communication

Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

Business writing needs to be clear. Confusing writing causes miscommunication and keeps everyone from reaching their targets. In essence, unclear writing slows productivity.

I’m privileged to work with talented clients on diverse and interesting projects. When beginning a project, I like to ask the client lots of different questions about their goals and audiences. Next, I ask some specific questions to understand how to create crystal-clear copy that will deliver the message straight away.

Here are a few of the questions I ask my clients. When working on a new project, take the time to think through these questions and map out the answers. I promise they’ll help you craft a clearer final product that has a greater impact!

  1. How will you/I/we know the writing project succeeded? How will we know we’ve achieved our goal? Consider long-term and broad indications that the project reached its goals. These may  include generating discussion or excitement, prompting someone to think differently about a specific topic or solidifying knowledge and processes into writing. 
  2. Is there a specific event or reaction that would tell us that this writing is successful? Consider exactly how you’ll learn that you achieved your goals; think of specific events. For example, if you’re writing a blog post, a reader’s comment tells you it’s successful. If you’re writing a large presentation about the importance of work-life balance, someone telling you afterwards that they implemented a few of your tips is a clear sign that you were successful.
  3. What do you want your readers to do or think or feel immediately after reading this project? Consider what your audience (or audiences) knows and feels now, and the type or reactions you want to elicit. For example, you may want the annual report you’re writing to inspire confidence in your organization and optimism for the future.

These questions delve into the desired outcomes of the writing, giving you a better understanding of your overall goals. Armed with the answers to these questions, you’ll be better prepared to package and organize the information clearly and eloquently.