If you’ve ever been asked to create a blog post for work and panicked because you don’t know where to start with writing, here are some tips to help you craft a piece of copy you’ll be proud to see online or in print.
What You Need to Know Before You Start
- Know your audience: You should already know who your company’s target market is, but who are you writing this specific piece for? Is it for new and existing customers, staff or suppliers? Each will have a different view of your business and a different set of needs.
- Know your topic: This might sound a bit obvious, but make sure you know exactly what you’re writing about. Is it a news item about a company achievement, such as an award or a successful recruitment drive? Are you describing a new product about to be released to the market? If someone has given you a vague theme but no details, go back to them and clarify it.
- Know the word count, and make an outline plan: Confirm the word count, then make an outline to follow. Bullet point three or four important facts to include, and then allocate a proportion of the word count to each, allowing 100 words or so for the introduction and conclusion.
Other Pointers for Writing
4. Gather all the information in advance: If you’re using quotes from satisfied customers or the MD, speak to the relevant people before you start. Check dates for product launches and any information you need to include. If you have to keep interrupting yourself to email or call people to find out something you missed, this will affect the flow of your writing and leave you feeling disorganised and disheartened. It’s much better to sit down and write your blog all in one go.
5. Put all the information in the first few paragraphs: This is something I learned when I was studying journalism and is a really useful point to remember. The idea is this: answer the main questions – who, what, why, where, when and how – at the start of the piece and then pad the rest out.
This is particularly helpful if you’re writing a press release, as editors cut words out from the bottom up; if you’ve grouped all the important detail at the top, it won’t get lost. Readers also have a short attention span, so you don’t want them to miss something vital because they stopped reading halfway through! Put quotes and facts and figures towards the bottom.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know what you think and if there’s anything else you’d like to know. Part 2 is here.