How To Write Blogs Everyone Needs To Read

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8 things you’re doing wrong and 7 ways to overcome them

Is your business blog underperforming? I see so many that are. By the time you finish this piece, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to make your business blog sing!

Here are eight reasons your content is failing:

1. Easy doesn’t cut the mustard

Writing a few throwaway words every so often won’t do it.

Have a content strategy — what are you going to publish, for whom and why? — and a blogging schedule. Do your research. Who are your customers? What’s causing them pain? Where are their problems? How can you provide answers?

How do you get them to your website?

2. You’ve been posting news. Don’t even have a News section

Have a look at your blog. Do you have any pieces about your staff night out? Your accountant’s half marathon? Your new computer system?

People don’t care about your new social media lead. Readers want to know how they’ll solve their business problems. Chances are, they may not. That’s not their job. So, if that’s the case, keep quiet about them. They are right for your business, but of no direct help to your customers.

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Let me tell you. 99.99% of your potential readers (let’s allow for the 0.01% of weirdos or terminally distracted) have zero interest in that stuff. They have lives that are at least as busy as yours. They have pressing business (and personal) problems they are desperately looking for solutions to.

News is Irrelevants. I say, don’t have a News section on your website, so no one will be tempted to post this kind of waffle.

Call it a blog and understand what a blog does and what it demands of you and your colleagues. Because it does demand of you.

3. You get no kudos for posting every day

Back in the day, we had this idea that Google liked fresh content. In fact, I used to advise my clients that they should keep posting frequently. I’ve stopped doing that because it’s a piece of advice that can be so easily misinterpreted.

The advice is to post as much great content as you can. Quality is way more powerful than freshness.

4. You’ve been sucked down the Branding rabbit hole

Branding. It’s a difficult one. Large corporations have values for their brands on their balance sheet. Your brand may well tip the balance when a purchasing decision is made.

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But that doesn’t mean you should write so much branding content in your blog.

Branding is part of your marketing. Not all of it.

For businesses, branding is more often than not something you should think about as the customer progresses through the sales funnel. Solving problems is what will entice those prospects on to your website and tip them into the top of your funnel.

Blogging is excellent for getting prospects into the start of your sales funnel. Understand your potential readers, turn them into prospects. Later you can assure them you’re a brand they can trust and then sell to them.

5. There’s no such thing as free traffic

And don’t let anyone tell you there is. It’s one of the internet’s great lies.

Your time is worth something. If you or your business is engaging a writer to do it for you, they cost money. And you have the briefing, editing and managing to account for.

No. Traffic isn’t free. Nor has it ever been.

Since traffic isn’t free, you should be careful to spend your blogging wisely. You can’t produce all the content you’d like to, so be clear what the most effective content is and prioritise it.

6. You haven’t been realistic about resources

Because traffic isn’t free and because great content doesn’t write itself, you need to make the budget or staff available.

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Otherwise. Tumbleweed…

No content for the past six months.

7. You don’t understand SEO

Writing for your audience is a great piece of advice. I would never disagree with it. Picturing your ideal customer as you write is a challenge in itself. You can be proud of yourself if you’re already doing it.

But SEO is more than simply writing for your audience. Are you sure your site is going to enable Google and other search engine crawlers to read your content efficiently? Can your readers find the content they’re looking for? Can they read your blog on their mobile? And that’s just the technical stuff.

But do you understand how semantic relationships can make your content more appealing to people and the search engines? Do you understand how doing your homework with Key Phrase Research can lead to better theming to make a better read for people and a more understandable piece for the search engines?

I’ll stop before I start disappearing down the SEO rabbit hole. I’m sure to write more about SEO soon.

8. Your writing is lousy

There’s a reason for copywriters. They do what a lot of people struggle with. What a lot of people are frightened of.

If your writing is terrible, or you’re terrified of a blank screen, get in the specialists.

How can you write blogs everyone needs to read?

  1. Know who you’re writing for
  2. Know what they care about — what are their problems? Where is their pain?
  3. Be absolutely clear about why you’re putting scarce resources into a piece of content
  4. Learn SEO. Get the right people to your blog
  5. Write well. Or learn how to. Or get in an expert
  6. Publicise your content where your audience is
  7. Repeat. Regularly. To a schedule

Become a Business Blogging Badass with my 7-day email Masterclass. Do I need to say it’s free?

This post was previously published on Medium.

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Sep 13, Grand Remembrances

Today is Grandparents Day in the United States. Being a Grand is a special honor. I feel very blessed that my wife and I have two grandchildren. We were able to visit them today. Yes, we are still being cautious with the coronavirus, but we also find it very difficult to not see them when they live so close. So today we did drop by to visit Jacob (age 10) and Sophia (age 7) along with their parents. We brought donuts and caught up with them. Our grandchildren are still pretty young and this is a precious time in their lives – and ours!

I wish I had known my grandparents better. We never lived in the same place. Dad was a career Air Force pilot, so we moved around a lot. But we did get to see them once in a while when they would visit us, or we them.

A Plague of Giants

There are five known magical ‘kennings’ or types: air, water, fire, earth, and plants. Each nation specializes in of these kennings, and the magic influences the society. There’s a big pitfall with this diversity of ability and locale–not everyone gets along.

Enter the Hathrim giants, or ‘lavaborn’ whose kenning is fire. Where they live the trees that fuel their fire are long gone, but the giants are definitely not welcome anywhere else. They’re big, they’re violent, and they’re ruthless. When a volcano erupts and they are forced to evacuate, they take the opportunity to relocate. They don’t care that it’s in a place where they aren’t wanted.

I first read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and loved them (also the quirky The Tales of Pell), so was curious about this new venture, starting with A PLAGUE OF GIANTS. Think Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Elemental magic, a variety of races, different lands. And it’s all thrown at you from page one.

But this story is told a little differently. It starts at the end of the war, after a difficult victory, and a bard with earth kenning uses his magic to re-tell the story of the war to a city of refugees. And it’s this movement back and forth in time and between key players in this war that we get a singularly grand view of the war as a whole. Hearne uses this method to great effect.

There are so many interesting characters in this book that I can’t cover them all here. Often in books like this such a large cast of ‘main’ character can make the storytelling suffer, especially since they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other for the first 3/4 of the book–but it doesn’t suffer, thankfully. And the characterization is good enough, despite these short bursts, that by the end we understand these people and care about what happens to them.

If there were a main character it would be Dervan, a historian who is assigned to record (also spy on?) the bard’s stories. He finds himself caught up in machinations he feels unfit to survive. Fintan is the bard from another country, who at first is rather mysterious and his true personality is hidden by the stories he tells; it takes a while to understand him. Gorin Mogen is the leader of the Hathrim giants who decide to find a new land to settle. He’s hard to like, but as far as villains go, you understand his motivations and he can be even a little convincing. There’s Abhi, the son of hunters, who decides hunting isn’t the life for him–and unexpectedly finds himself on a quest for the sixth kenning. And Gondel Vedd, a scholar of linguistics who finds himself tasked with finding a way to communicate with a race of giants never seen before (definitely not Hathrim) and stumbles onto a mystery no one could have guessed: there may be a seventh kenning.

There are other characters, but what makes them all interesting is that they’re regular people (well, maybe not Gorin Mogen or the viceroy–he’s a piece of work) who become heroes in their own little ways, whether it’s the teenage girl who isn’t afraid to share vital information, to the scholars who suddenly find how crucial their minds are to the survival of a nation, to the humble public servants who find bravery when they need it most. This is a story of loss, love, redemption, courage, unity, and overcoming despair to not give up. All very human experiences by simple people who do extraordinary things.

Hearne’s worldbuilding is engaging. He doesn’t bottle feed you, at first it feels like drinking from a hydrant, but then you settle in and pick up things along the way. Then he shows you stuff with a punch to the gut. This is no fluffy world with simple magic without price. All the magic has a price, and more often than not it leads you straight to death’s door. For most people just the seeking of the magic will kill you. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Ahbi and his discovery of the sixth kenning and everything associated with it. But giants? I mean, really? It isn’t bad enough fighting people who can control fire that you have to add that they’re twice the size of normal people? For Hearne if it’s war, the stakes are pretty high, and it gets ugly.

The benefit of the storytelling style is that the book, despite its length, moves along steadily (Hearne is no novice, here). The bits of story lead you along without annoying cliffhangers (mostly), and I never got bored with the switch between characters. It was easy to move between them, and they were recognizable enough that I got lost or confused. The end of the novel felt a little abrupt, but I guess that has more to do with I was ready for the story to continue, despite the exiting climax.

If you’re looking for epic fantasy with fun storytelling and clever worldbuilding, check out A PLAGUE OF GIANTS.

The post A Plague of Giants appeared first on Elitist Book Reviews.

The Artwork Of Gary Choo

Gary Choo is a concept artist/illustrator based in Singapore. I’ve know Gary for a good many years ( 17, actually ), working together in animation studios in Singapore like Silicon Illusions and Lucasfilm. Gary currently runs an art team at Mighty Bear Games, but when time allows he also draws covers for Marvel comics, and they’re amazing –

The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo
The Art Of Gary Choo

To see more of Gary’s work or to engage him for freelance work, head down to his ArtStation.

The post The Art Of Gary Choo appeared first on Halcyon Realms – Art Book Reviews – Anime, Manga, Film, Photography.