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!

Learn to Write & Proofread Faster

Proofreading

Writing and proofreading quickly is vital for succeeding, no matter your job function. With the right skill set and strategies, you can write and polish presentations in a few hours, tackle email and reports more efficiently.

Almost one year ago (man, time flies!), I outlined some strategies for writing faster. I’ve also written lots about how to proofread better and faster on this blog.

I also offer individual coaching for professionals to improve writing and proofreading efficiency. We discuss your writing and proofreading strategies, and practice skills that you can put to work the very next day. Individual training sessions are the most effective since we focus solely on what you’d like to improve.

Please take a look at all our training services, including individual coaching and contact me for a detailed quote.

Beginning an Email Message

Beginning an email is daunting. These opening words determine the entire message’s tone and influence whether or not your readers will continue reading on. You also want to balance friendliness with efficiency–being polite with getting to the point.

With all this riding on just a few words, how do you know how to start a message? Here are a few phrases specific to common situations to help you get started:

Formal Correspondences:

  • I am writing to inquire about/ confirm/ add information about…
  • Per your request, I have included information about…

Everyday Business Conversations: 

  • In regards to our project… 
  • I’d like to ask a few questions about…
  • I’d like to remind you/ confirm…
  • I have some updates about…
  • I’m happy to…
  • I’m excited to report…
  • Thanks to your work on…, we are ready to…

Everyday Business Requests: 

  • Could you…? 
  • I’d be grateful if you…
  • Would you be willing to…?

Hope these simple phrases make starting emails a bit easier!

Great Online Style Guides

Cover of "The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ult...

Cover via Amazon

When writing any project, you may find yourself wondering about a specific word, phrase or punctuation mark. Where do you turn to answer these questions?

Most businesses and corporations don’t ascribe to a specific style code, such as The Associated Press. If this is true for your organization, consider adopting an online style guide; they offer consistent and practical information. Best of all, they’re free and easy to search to find exactly what you need.

Here are my three favorite online guides:

Purdue Owl: Purdue University’s online writing lab offers a wealth of information and guidelines. The general writing section will answer many of your questions on grammar, punctuation and mechanics. The professional and technical writing section is a great source for research and extensive information to improve professional writing.

National Geographic Style Manual: This guide to “preferred National Geographic Society style and usage” is perfect for quickly looking up a specific issue. For example, is it life-size or life-sized? When you visit this online guide, just click on “L” to find the answer in seconds.

The Yahoo! Style Guide: This is one of the best guides for web writing. Based on Chris Barr’s sourcebook, the site offers best practices for online copy as well as a word list of terms relating to communications, technology and branding.

Do you use an online style guide? Please pass along any others you find useful!