How to Write Blogs for a Living (and Other Content Too)
If you’ve perused through our blog collect for the last few years, you’d get the impression that I like to write blogs. And you’d be right. While I wear many hats here at Vision, my favorite one must be “content creator,” and my favorite part of that has to be writing blogs, both internally and for our varied clients. If you’re interested in what it takes to write blogs for your company or for clients (if you want to make a living as an independent blogger, a lot of this advice won’t be as useful), let’s take a look at what it takes.
Know What the Client Does (and Does Not Do)
If you’re writing on behalf of someone, either under your own authorship as a member of your company or ghostwriting for a client company, your first step is always knowledge. You need to know not only what they do (what their services do, what their products do) but also their needs. What are their demographics and industries? What sets them apart from the competition? Why are they selling their product or service? If you can’t get what you need from their website or notes, talk with the client or get later feedback on your article.
Think of a Topic and an SEO Keyword
Once you’ve got a good idea of where the client is coming from, it’s time to construct a topic for a blog about it. There are several paths to take:
- Explain a core term or concept of your client.
- Relate a current event to your client’s products or services.
- Answer a common problem that your client’s products or services solve.
Once you’ve got a good topic, it’s time to create a keyword and then a title out of that. A keyword is a phrase someone might search for on a search engine (check out my blog, SEO Basics: What is a Keyword? for more details on that). For example, the keyword might be “What Does Auto Insurance Cover” and from there you can create the title “What Does Auto Insurance Cover When I Get Into an Accident?”
Find Compatible Resources and Do Your Research
After you’ve got your topic, it’s time to flesh it out with some research. Find resources that can provide you with information on your topic. Common resources include content from your client, including their website, notes, or information they have provided directly. Encyclopedia resources like Wikipedia (or Investopedia, etc.) are a great way of getting basic information on the topic. Search the web for surveys, statistics, and the like: you might be surprised what shows up when you do.
Know Their Writing Style
If you’re working for or with a big company that produces a lot of content, chances are they have a style guide. For everyone else, you’ll have to wing it. To preserve the style of your clients, look for some key styles around spacing and punctuation.
- Double Spaces: While mostly dead due to the advent of modern typing, some people still like double-spacing after the end of sentences.
- Oxford Comma: Wars have been fought if during lists you need to include a comma before the “and” or “or” and will probably continue for all time.
- Quotes, Colons, and Hyphens: How to handle punctuation with quotes (inside or out)? Do you capitalize after colons and semicolons? And what style of hyphens to use (I’m a fan of the en dash with spaces on both sides).
Proof Your Document
After you’ve written your document, you need to read and proof it. You may have a perfect hand and brain when it comes to grammar and spelling, but for the rest of us, technology and procedure can help find and fix any errors.
Turn Up Your Spellcheck and Get Grammarly
Thankfully modern word processors come with a decent spellchecker which you can make better. For example, in Word go to your File < Options < Proofing and start playing around with the settings. In addition, there are some great tools that can help improve it even further. I use Grammarly, which can catch even more as a plugin on Word, as well as tagging along in my browser or a standalone app.
Get It Internally Proofread
Even with all this technology, nothing is better than another set of eyes. If you’re going to be writing a lot of content and/or have fellow content writers, I suggest getting peer review set up. If you have an editor, well, why are you reading this article? Also, if you’ve got people more familiar with the client’s wants (such as client leads) or the client themselves are willing to approve it before it goes up, those are great resources as well.
As mentioned in the title, these tips and tricks can be applied to many forms of content: such as ad copy, website page content, social media, and more. Speaking of websites, blogs, social media, and advertising, I’d be remiss to point out if you need assistance with any of these to contact us here at Vision Advertising. We’re a full-service digital marketing agency with specialists who are just as passionate about their work as I am about blogs. Speaking of those, make sure to check out more of my blog related content below: