You Don't Have to Be a Great Writer to Write a Great Blog: 21 Quick and Easy Tips for Becoming a Successful Blogger (Part 1)

 

You’ve probably heard a lot about blogs. Many advisors are writing them. And why not? Blogs can be an effective way to establish thought leadership for your firm, drive traffic to your site, and in the best of all worlds, get a new client or two.

You don’t have to be a professional writer to write a good blog. Most advisors don’t have a degree in journalism and aren’t published novelists. Instead, you need a clear idea of what you’d like to say. The determination to put your words in writing. And the willingness to follow a few simple guidelines that will make the process as quick, easy and efficient as possible. That’s what these 21 tips are for (the first 10½ here, the final 10½ in our next blog).

1.) Have something meaningful to say. Don’t just write a blog for the sake of it, or because you want to jump on the blogging bandwagon. Write about what you know, something within your area of expertise. Put some thought in it before you write anything on paper. This tip is crucial—because the more time you spend brainstorming up front, the easier it will be to write a clear, complete blog that truly represents your thinking.

2.) Write about hot topics. To identify trending topics and what’s “buzzing” in the investment community right now, be sure to take your cue from industry articles and headlines, social media platforms, and conversations with clients, prospects, partners and colleagues. Put your own spin on a ball that’s already rolling.

3.) Write in everyday, conversational language your readers can relate to. You don’t want to show off your vocabulary—you want to create a bond with your readers. Use simple words to convey your meaning. Avoid jargon, where possible. And remember, you want to connect with readers both rationally (with your ideas and points) and emotionally (with your voice and style).

4.) Keep it short. The longer the internet is around, the shorter the attention span of its users. So when you write your blog—get in, make your points, dust off your hands and get out. At times, you can make exceptions to this rule. For example, if you consider the content to be of the highest quality without any fluff or weak spots, you can write a longer blog. Likewise if you feel as though you simply cannot accomplish the goal of your post in a short format.  

5.) Take inspiration from other bloggers, but…

6.) Don’t lift from other writers’ blogs. Read other blogs to get your wheels turning, and to inspire your own original ideas on similar subjects. But don’t try posting a translation of someone else’s ideas in your own words.

7.) Focus on a single topic. Again, we circle back to the reader’s attention span. Don’t shift from topic to topic and lead a reader all over the place. Rather, once you’ve earned a reader’s attention, be sure to stay on subject in order to keep it.

8.) Don’t be afraid to write in tried-and-true blog genres. All blogs are different (at least they’re supposed to be!), but it is possible to place them in groupings of similar blogs. In fact, when you start out, try to determine if your proposed blog fits within any of the following genres—all of which are proven attention-getters. We’ve included some sample headlines to give you a sense of what these genres are all about:

  • Advice: "How to accomplish the impossible in 10 simple steps"
  • Collections and “Top ” Lists: "Hottest 20 blogs of a sizzling summer"
  • Reviews: "What we think of the Advisor Revitalizer Snake Oil"
  • Predictions: "Why the Dow Will Be at 20,000 by Year’s End"
  • Motivation: "5 new ideas that’ll send your AUM to the moon"
  • Trouble shooting: "An important advisor tip for the economy’s double dip"
  • Interviews: "Ben Bernanke chats with us over crumpets and tea"
  • Editorial/Personal reflection: "Why I think Dodd-Frank will really tank"

9.) Feel free to use enumeration to organize and title your blog. Readers gravitate toward articles that feature numbers in the title, or that are structured according to a numerical sequence. When you read the title of this blog—“21 Sure-fire Tips”—we’ll bet that it piqued your interest. Humans have a need to quantify and measure. Indulge it when you’re addressing your reader—it works.

10.) Present information in bite-sized chunks. It’s always a good idea to organize your articles into sections. For example, use bullets and subheads to break up large blocks of content. This will help to distinguish one point from another—and [continued in our next blog, see you there!]…

END OF PART I

 

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