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!

2013 Goals

2013-business-plan

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!

Hiring a Writer Series: When should you hire?

The Hiring a Writer Series examines how business owners, managers and marketers can can hire the best freelance writer for their project and establish a successful and productive relationship.

moo.com business cards

moo.com business cards (Photo credit: bargainmoose)

There are so many reasons that businesses hire an outside writer to complete a few tasks. Perhaps they have too much on their plates and need to outsource some work or maybe they want to produce something totally new, like a blog or marketing brochure, and need some outside expertise. Sometimes, businesses simply want an outside perspective or someone who can get the task done quickly. In short, hiring a talented outside writer benefits businesses in many ways.

The challenge lies in finding the right writer–and at the right time. Here are a few simple tips to get the timing right:

  1. Learn about a few potential writers well before you have a specific project in mind. Seek out information on potential writers and editors to have on file. This way, when something comes up, you have people that you can interview quickly.
  2. When a project arises, contact writers as soon as possible. This means you’ll find the right one more quickly and get the ball rolling.
  3. Plan time for the writer to gather information. Most likely, the writer won’t be completely familiar with your business, the project or your overarching goals. Give him or her at least two days to speak to employees, read and research. This step is vital for a successful end product. If they continue working for you, they will need considerably less time to research.
  4. Don’t expect the writer to devote all their time to your project. Most freelance writers juggle multiple projects at once. They can usually write very quickly after gathering all the information. When interviewing candidates, ask them how long they expect the project to take. Some writers may be able to turn your project around more quickly than others.

Check back soon for more tips for hiring a writer for your business’ projects!

Hiring a Writer Series: Why Hire an Outside Writer?

The Hiring a Writer Series examines how business owners, managers and marketers can can hire the best freelance writer for their project and establish a successful, productive relationship.

English: Alexx Shaw, freelance curator and writer

English: Alexx Shaw, freelance curator and writer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deciding whether or not to hire an outside writer or editor can be challenging. Often, the cheapest easiest solution seems to just do the project yourself.

Many times, however, the opposite is true: an independent writer can get the job done faster, better and, therefore, more efficiently than if done in-house.

There are so many reasons that businesses hire an outside writer to complete a few tasks. I think these reasons fall into four general categories:

1. Expertise: If you want to produce something new, like a blog or marketing brochure, then working with a writer who excels at this specific translates into a successful final project.

2. Quality: While you have extensive knowledge of your business and organization’s objectives, you may not have the knowledge of grammar, creativity or eye for detail needed to perfect the project.

3. Speed & Efficiency: Professional writers generally turn around projects very quickly. This allows you to catch up on work when you have too much on your plate and finalize larger projects that have been pushed aside for too long.

4. Outside Perspective: Sometimes all you need are “fresh eyes” to complete the task at hand successfully. An outside writer or editor offers new ideas, creative approaches and solutions to challenges.