The Easy Way for CEOs and Founders to Write Blog Posts
By John Welch on February 6, 2020
"A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
~ Richard Bach
A Writer’s Life for Me?
I hated writing.
I was home-schooled and I followed a rigorous curriculum that tested the limits of my juvenile attention-span and willpower. My English classes included stories in which I was largely uninterested. I was even less interested in the reports and tests I had to complete.
But, in order to graduate high-school, I had to do the work. So I did the work (usually amidst loud protestations as my mom would be glad to corroborate).
As it turned out, once in college, I was really glad my high-school literature classes were so grueling. I had become a decent writer during my time in the trenches.
When I graduated from college and entered the professional world, I started writing on LinkedIn and for the companies that employed me. I started getting feedback from people in my network and at my various jobs that I was a good writer. They enjoyed reading my articles.
If you had asked me a few years ago “are you a writer?” my answer would have been a resounding “NO.” If you ask me now, the answer is a fairly confident “yes.” I never aspired to be a writer. I never cared much about whether I could write, and I never saw writing as being a significant part of my professional life. Everything I know about writing was picked up along the way–just like you would learn how to make manicotti or play chess.
If I can learn how to write, so can you!
If you’re reading this post, it’s likely that you’ve realized how important blogging is to your digital marketing efforts. I’m going to share with you a simple and straightforward way to start writing blog posts right now that will draw search traffic and increase website conversions.
If you’re reading this post and you haven’t made that realization yet, read our post on why blogging is the one marketing activity you can’t ignore, then return here for my tips!
The Blog Paradox
The blog paradox is the idea that those who are the most qualified to write blogs for a company are also the least likely to have the ability or the time to do so. Usually, a business owner or technical expert would be the best possible person to write a high-quality blog post.
However, in most cases, business owners do not have the time to write consistently and highly technical people do not know how to write in an engaging and easily understood manner.
This means that in most businesses, there are pages upon pages of potential blog posts churning around in the heads of business owners and technical experts that will never see the light of day. Why?
Because those folks are caught in the blog paradox.
The Writing Process
People who aren’t writers think the writing process is some magical thing that only writers understand. It’s like an instinct or a vision that the rest of the world just doesn’t have. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The writing process is exactly that, a process.
Any process can be learned, no innate ability or instincts required.
Most of us have done some sort of writing in our lives. Even if it was just book reports in high-school or that history final you barely passed in college.
So where to start?
What is the number one rule you learn in any literature class? Start with an outline.
The Non-Writer’s Guide To Outlines
I’m guessing when you read the word “outline” just now your eyelids started feeling very heavy. There are some words in the English language that are better than Tylenol PM when it comes to inducing sleep. Don’t pass out on me, I’m going to share an outline process that will transform your blog writing.
It’s simple and it works.
Step 1: Dictate
Dictating is the easiest way to create blog outlines. This can be done either with a recorder or with a person on your staff. I strongly recommend that you use a person on your staff, maybe someone on your marketing staff or your front-desk person.
Having a real-life person with whom you can simply share your thoughts on the topic about which you want to write makes the process of getting thoughts to paper more natural. Think of it as a stream of consciousness, but you can go back and remember everything you said perfectly.
This dictation will begin sparking ideas or bringing up questions that you can write about and solve. You will be able to convey the information in a simple and clear way like you’re speaking to a prospect or a networking partner–after all, you know something about the topic you’re writing on (and you have Google to fill in any blank spots).
Step 2: Organize
Once you’ve done a brain dump, now you can organize that information into a clearly defined outline. I like groups of three a lot (something you will notice immediately if you read much of my writing). Find a way to group your information in 3’s or 5’s. This makes your post easier for readers to skim to find valuable pieces of information.
Try checking your points against the topic, to discover sensible ways to group the information. For example, you might pick a topic like “How to Increase Your Sales Conversions by 30%”. In this instance, take the information you dictated - either to a staff member or a voice recorder app - and find 3-5 ways that you can group the information.
Something like this:
- Tip #1 - Change Your Language
- Use the word “you” and stop using “I”
- Ask open-ended questions and wait for a response
- Stop saying “does that make sense?”
- Tip #2 - Be Intentional
- Schedule your outreach
- Have a reason for every touch
- Offer value without any expectation of getting something back
- Tip #3 - Practice Empathy
- Imagine you’re reading your email as the recipient
- Research your prospect’s industry challenges
- Protect their time for them
This kind of point-by-point organization helps you clarify exactly what you’re saying.
Step 3: Flesh It Out
This last step is the part that you likely think of when you think of writing a blog post. This is where you add in the relevant information and flesh out the points.
Here’s the magic though.
Since you did the first two steps correctly and efficiently (because you’re awesome at dictating all of your jumbled thoughts and picking out the 3-5 higher-level ideas), you’ve already done about 80% of the work. The hardest part is getting the information out of your head and organized, the easy part is putting in the details!
More good news: you already know these details like the back of your hand, that’s why you’re in business.
If you performed steps 1 and 2 well, you’ll have a 500-800 word outline created. From that baseline, you’re just adding in the details and before you know it, you’ve got a 1,200-1,500 word blog post.
Make the Information Accessible
The most important part of writing a blog is making complicated topics easy to understand. The reason your prospects can’t do what you do is that they don’t know what you know. You’ve been in this industry and running your business for 5, 10, 15 or more years (or the equivalent valuable information to share!).
This means you have tons of information that is helping you do what you do so well.
The secret to writing high-impact, high-conversion blog posts is to teach your prospects how to solve their problems without you. In order for them to be able to do this, they have to understand exactly how to do the things you do.
This is where most blog posts fall short. In an attempt to make the blog easy to read, they fail to deliver actionable and relevant information. Lucky for you, I have a foolproof method for making complex information easy to understand.
You Need Feedback
Earlier in the post, I mentioned that it’s better to dictate to a staff member than a recorder. The reason is that when you dictate to a staff member, you can tell them to ask you a question every time you say something they don’t understand. This is also why it’s more useful to use someone who doesn’t have great awareness of the inner-workings of what you do. This could be someone like your finance person or your receptionist.
Sit down with this person, whoever it may be, and start dictating your blog ideas to them (asking them to take thorough notes). Then, every time they ask you a question, answer it until they understand clearly what you’re saying. Now, have them write that solution down in the format that makes sense to them.
This is a very powerful way to create easy-to-understand blog posts while still sharing detailed, complex information.
DIY Blog Posts
Blogging is critical for website traffic and conversions. If you do nothing else for your marketing efforts, blog. It’s the cheapest and most effective way for small businesses to market themselves.
Using this process to create your blogs will generate posts that attract traffic and convince them to buy from you.
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