Writing can be one of the most challenging things we have to do, especially when English is not our first language, but in today’s world having a blog is absolutely necessary to reach out as many people as possible and make sure that our business thrives. Nowadays Internet rules in so many aspects of our lives that wold be unthinkable to stay out of the net. It is becoming “the” way of communicating with our prospective customers and writing a blog does not need to be a struggle because actually it is quite easy…and believe it or not, fun.
Once upon a time…
When I was writing my dissertation, the Internet was known only by a very low percentage of people and its information was extremely limited. Wikipedia was not even an idea and I had to spend weeks just researching paper files in dusty old libraries. Despite the experience being very Indiana Jones‘s style – and I absolutely loved it – I struggled to write. I realised that it had been years that I had not written a single line and I didn’t know where to begin. I sat every single oral exam no problem and there I was, completely panicked and with no clue what to do with a written assignment. It took me 2,5 years to complete it and I still cringe every time I think of that time.
Why writing is so difficult?
Of course writing a blog is a very different matter but for some of us it can be as terrifying as putting together the best man’s speech at a wedding. For me the secret is enjoying the journey. There are some people who are naturally gifted at writing and do it in such a light and entertaining way that are a joy to read, but the majority of us need practice.
As grown ups we tend to think that we should have all the knowledge or the skills just because of our life experience, but it is far from being true. We still need to develop skills in order to become good at things we normally do not do and writing is no exception. We are simply and purely out of practice but we pretend to run a marathon from day one. It does not work that way.
Once I read an example somewhere about the concept of drawing that I find quite appropriate to explain why we fear writing.
If we ask a primary school class how many know how to draw it is highly likely that more that 3/4 of the children will raise their hands. If we go back to the same class after 4 years, the number of pupils confident in their artistic abilities drops sensibly to end up with less than 5% during University time. It is impossible that a person forgets an ability that clearly had during their childhood, nonetheless it happens consistently. And why is that? Because drawing is hardly a skill that is considered important in our schooling system and the more we are out of practice the less we feel confident about our abilities.
As we grow up we tend to conveniently forget that to develop any skills we need to get out of our comfort zone and just do it, no matter how. We will get better and better but before doing ok we need to go through some not-so-great stuff.
Some tips on how to start writing
Make it fun.
Take the challenge as a game and be sure you celebrate every time you finish a blog post and publish it on your website. It is an immensely rewarding sensation when you finish something and see the results in front of you. Even more when you will receive the first comments.
Write around one single keyword.
Today we have a very powerful tool called Google Keyword Tool to check what your prospective clients look for. Offering your expertise about those subjects is the best way to offer a solution to their problem and help them.
Plan your blog posts on your calendar (or you will forget about it).
Decide how many times a month you will write and stick to it. It does not have to be every week and in any case it will soon become fun and addictive!
Make it a story. A real one.
Start with something short and sweet. A simple story behind the photos you publish is going to be winning. Stories have the power to make us feel connected because we recognise our story in others’. Everybody loves a story and knows how to tell one. It doesn’t matter how simple.
Make sure you infuse your personality in what you write.
You and your set of skills are unique and unique is your taste, your style and your service. Your brand needs to be consistent, recognisable and your content should reflect it as well. If it doesn’t, it will confuse your customers and remember that a confused mind doesn’t buy.
Write about what you know.
Share valuable information. Be generous and don’t fear competition. There’s always going to be some copycats but they cannot reap your soul. Your style and your vision are unique and you are always going to be a step ahead.
Avoid editing while you write.
It is the most important piece of advice of all. It takes the focus away from what you want to write and it discourages you because of the continue editing. It doesn’t matter if it sounds “shite”. Write the entire post first and then you can take care of the form, the grammar and the proofreading.