I am writing today to explain the writing process for bloggers and marketers who want to improve their writing skills.
Blogging is not just expressing your thoughts. Blogging is about solving a problem. When you blend marketing with blogging then it becomes solving a problem & selling a product without being salesy.
I started blogging in 2015:
.. after failing at two startups and losing more than $10,000 in my first startup.
I did not know anything about writing but I learned how to solve the problems in my startups. The biggest reason for our startup failure was solving the imaginary problems that our customers never faced.
By the time we learned about the real problems of our customers, we were out of money to continue the startup.
I used the same problem-solving skills and expressed through my articles. I improved my writing skills with time and there is no big magic. It’s all about practice and persistence.
In this post, I will explain the mindset, the common mistakes people do in writing and then nitty gritty of an awesome blog post (title, paragraph formation, credibility, usage of words – skills that are used in copywriting)
Select Your Favorite Section
- Common mistakes people make when writing
- Mindset Change from ‘A Blogger’ to ‘A Problem Solver’
- Golden Nuggets of Blogging
This is counter-intuitive advice. You should not write what you want to write but you should write what your reader wants to read.
No one cares about you. People care about themselves.
You can take up examples of your work, express your emotions and tell them your stories in your blog post. But the primary focus should be to find out why someone would read your article.
People would get bored to death if you keep on writing Me, Me, Me without giving them what they want to read.
Writing is more like a science than art. It’s not like singing that whosoever is born with a sweet vocal can become a great singer. You can learn the basics of writing and then practice to become excellent at writing.
The problem is that people learn the skills from wrong places.
Choose your mentors wisely. Follow the advice of someone who has walked on the path on which you are walking. Listen to someone who is 2 steps ahead of you.
I have seen people failing even after joining the courses. You don’t have to join a course to become better at your writing. You can observe the writing of people whom you admire and practice in a similar way.
I never read books on journalism or English writing because I did not want to become like a media journalist. I followed people in my life that I want to become like.
SEO is our aim but that does not mean we should only focus on keywords. There are certain articles which are written for keyword targetting only, but those articles may not be Game Changer for you.
Keywords are the last thing that I focus on when writing my articles. The quality of content goes down when our mind is filled with keywords.
If you want to become an authority in your industry then shift your focus from keywords to your audience. Ofcourse your blogs will rank with keywords but Google also gives preference to context rather keywords.
There is a science to get faster ranking on high competition keywords when you build a strong context & relevance in the eyes of Google. I will talk about that sometimes later. Let’s focus on writing amazing content.
“Write Short Articles Because Human Attention Span is Less than Gold Fish (8 sec)”, A media reported some similar shit and people went crazy to write short articles.
“1800 words articles went most viral – A report after analyzing one million blog posts”, Another media company posted this article and people started pumping up words mindlessly in their articles.
Everything works within a context.
The egg becomes hard in boiling water but the same boiling water makes a potato soft.
The internet is boiling water. It depends on you what you put in the boiling water, you would get the results accordingly.
Ask yourself if you want to write for
- A news or entertainment blog that gets viral on social media
- B2B startup whose audience is top executives or startup founders
- A mother who is reading while feeding her baby and interacting with her friends on WhatsApp at the same time.
- A research scholar or student who gonna read your article word by word
- A tech guy who is following your instructions to fix a defect or install a tool
Or a blogger like YOU, who makes a plan to publish at least one article every week but could not get sufficient time to publish on schedule. A blogger like YOU, who does a lot of research and spend a lot of time on the article but receive a lukewarm response from the audience.
I am writing for a blogger like YOU – so that you can spend your time doing the right things when writing the article – so that your audience love your articles every single time. I do not care about how many words the article would be finished. I do not care what media reports are saying. I know what to write and why.
If you want to be a really really good blogger then stop trying to be a blogger. Become a problem solver.
Identify a problem that your audience is struggling with and solve that through your blog post. If you notice, all my articles start with describing a problem and explain the possible solutions.
If you don’t know what are the problems of your readers then ask them. Ask your readers directly via email or phone. Analyse discussion forums like Quora, Reddit and Facebook Groups to learn about the problems that your target audience is struggling with.
Take help from SemRush tool to do Keyword Research that will reveal thousands of problems worth solving. Your potential readers are already looking for a solution by searching on Google – why not to capture a big opportunity.
Find out why the problem is still not solved. If the problem has already been solved by someone else then why your audience is still struggling.
Today I am trying to solve the problem of writing a high-quality article but honestly, I am not the first person to advise on writing good articles. But I may be the first person to write in a way where you can identify your common problems, find a framework to solve and then learn the tactics of good content writing – All in a single article.
The problem would be unsolved for people who would learn the craft of writing a good article but fail to dedicate time to implement. There could be another article to solve the problem of becoming productive & committed to work.
The problem would remain the same – How to Write A Great Article
But the solutions are different for two set of audience
- One who wants to learn the nitty-gritty of writing
- Second who wants to improve productivity (to overcome writer’s block)
Your article would be of great quality when you know why your audience is not able to solve the problem even when the advice is already available on the internet.
Titles are the most important but neglected element of the blog post. You are doing a big mistake if you are not giving deserved attention to the titles of your articles.
“Title + Featured Image + Short Description” is the first interaction with your reader. If you fail to convince him to click on the article then you would lose the opportunity to showcase what you have written in the article.
I am giving you some formulas which never fail to get a click from the right audience.
You can become [This] Even If You Have [Never Done This]
For example, You can become A Freelance Writer Even If You Have Never Written Before
Another way to apply this formula is to find desires or fears of your audience.
- Becoming A Freelance Writer
- Finding Clients for Freelance Writing Project
- Want to Start A Blog
- Earn Money Online
- Never Written Before
- Got Rejected from Upwork
- Don’t Have Technical Knowledge
- May Get into A Scam
Look at the example – 11 Ways to Earn Money Online Without Getting Into a Scam
One thing in one paragraph
Talk about only one point in one paragraph. Write to the point. Keep the paragraphs short.
That may sound like simple & obvious advice but most of the writers do this mistake consistently in the initial days. I fix my paragraphs in the editing phase.
It’s easy to convey short & crisp information in bullet points. Give breathing space to your article. The reader can focus on what they want to read.
Be careful, too many bullet points would also make your article like a to-do list. Make a balance and don’t overuse any of the technique.
Snapshots & Data
This increases the credibility of your article and the reader would trust what you are saying. Another reason to include visual data is to give a break from text. Too much text would make your content boring because not all readers like to read word by word.
They need to get the message as quickly as possible and a single snapshot can say what 1000 words won’t.
Reference to claims
If you are claiming something then add the reference to original research document.
Rather than just saying that “Postive content goes viral than negative”, I would like to give proof of authentic research that “as per Johan Berger’s research positive content picks up social virality faster than negative content” – and give a link to the research.
Use common words
Don’t use corporate jargons or difficult words that people need to refer in the dictionary.
My biggest disadvantage was that I was not proficient in English. My vocabulary is average.
The same became the advance when I started blogging. My target audience was not English scholars or journalists. I was writing for people who graduated from similar colleges and doing the similar kind of job that I was doing.
It was easy for me to convey my messages using the simple to comprehend English without any difficult words. Later I discovered that most of the marketing gurus were suggesting to write in simple language but their students were still trying to impress readers with their vocabulary.
Language is just a way to convey your message. The work is done if you can communicate what you want.
Use power words
Power words grab the attention of the reader and connect with them at the emotional level.
Here are some of the emotions (and sample power words) that put a human into the action.
Love & Lust
- Pissed Off
You can make a list of power words to emotionally connect with your readers. The words would come naturally to your writing as you practice.
This is the most powerful and well-known formula in marketing that we apply in content writing and marketing.
Let me explain with the example of our article related to Investment in Stock Market in India.
The attention-grabbing starts with the title (where I used ‘even’ clause) and the article keep the reader hooked with examples and promises.
Reader’s attention is the most scarce resource. Your readers will hit the back button if you failed to get the attention within a few seconds of starting your article.
Once they pay attention, we have to keep the content simple yet powerful to make them interested in reading further.
In the second part, we should keep disclosing the secrets or make them wonder what’s coming next.
The 7 steps to identify profitable stocks makes them interested in the process. You readers would leave the article in between if they lose the interest.
You must take care that your content has all the ingredients that we discussed in “#2. Writing Powerful Paragraphs”.
Your content should make the reader desirable in the product, service or process. If there is nothing to be desirable then I wonder why we are writing the article or what problem we are solving.
In this example, the article is intended to make the reader desirable to invest in the stock market.
The segment “Portfolio Construction” and “Portfolio Allocation” does that job. At a subtle level, the entire section of Interest is moving the reader from a casual level to a more serious level.
Normally ‘Action’ is defined as buying decision in business terms but we define ‘Action’ as anything measurable that you expect from your reader.
It could be as simple as downloading a PDF or subscribing to your blog.
You can define the action as per your business. In this example, the action is loosely defined as constructing a portfolio and embedded in the “Desire” section.
I could put the action to sell E-book or Course related to stock market investment but that’s not my focus area at this time.
Stories inspire people to take action. People remember stories and forget the information.
No one would remember the information that I provided in this article but you would remember the story of my startup failure that I shared in the introduction. I also said that I became better in content writing by practice and anyone can learn the art of writing.
You may not be interested in writing today but whenever you would have a desire to learn writing – your mind will remind you of the story of a guy who failed at startups but got the success with writing.
There are several methods of using stories in your articles but my favourite is the 3-part-story format.
Part 1. Present A Problem
Part 2. Agitate & Stir
Part 3. Solve The Problem
Problem-Solution is the building blocks of great content – that’s what makes every blog post a Game Changer, every single time.
A buck becomes ten when you use the storytelling to present a problem and make it interesting by agitating with the facts & figures.
In the end, you come up with a solution or present multiple solutions for the readers. The marketing trends & platforms will come & go but the storytelling methods would never go out of fashion. Storytelling was working 30,000 years ago when humans started carving caves, storytelling worked when sages wrote Epics like Ramayana & Mahabharata, storytelling worked in printed media and it will work on any online media.
It’s the one skill that will separate great writers from good writers.
Learn bit by bit and become a better blogger & writer in 2019.
Can you please do me a favour? It would be a great help if you can share this article with someone who wants to become a better blogger.