Imagine you majored in computer science. You chose this because you knew you'd have options for a career—you could either work for a company or freelance. You were also a communication minor because you love to write and have a talent for it. Ten years into a career, having worked for three different companies, Jill is restless and feeling unfulfilled. She thinks she has chosen the wrong career.
However, you have another option. Remember your passion for writing? Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to give that a try. Maybe it’s time to write—not the literary kind of writing, but more the journalistic variety, because that was your training.
Maybe you should go into business blogging.
What is Business Blogging?
Business blog writing is all about creating content for businesses that don’t have their own writing staff. They need to maintain a blog that will bring value to their brand, appeal to customers, and reel in new customers. The problem is that they don't have anyone to do it.
Of course, each businesses' blog is unique. The content depends on what the business is. If you have experience in a particular industry and can bring technical knowledge to your excellent writing, you will be set.
Here’s how you can accomplish this.
Simple Steps for Successful Business Blogging
Choose One or Two Niches
Here's the deal.
First, you must identify which business niche (or niches) you like and have some expertise. The options are endless here! The key is to be specific.
Do the Research
Spend a lot of time reading business blogs in the niche(s) you have chosen. What are the trending topics? What do audiences want and need in the way of education, entertainment, and inspiration?
Let's go back to IT as an example. Trending topics include new technologies that businesses should be using to keep a competitive edge—especially data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
Your niche can be anything including interior design, marketing, e-commerce, insurance, finance, travel, entertainment, etc. It doesn’t matter. You need to have a passion for that niche, keep yourself current, and do the work to make yourself somewhat of an expert in the field.
Get Yourself Out There
This is easier said than done, but there are some specific steps you can take to promote yourself.
Create a website. It doesn’t have to be astounding, but it should be a place where potential clients come to learn about you, your background, your expertise, and to read some sample posts. Once you have actually published some of your posts for clients, you can then ask for references to publish on your site too. You will constantly improve the site.
Get a LinkedIn profile. Not the one you have for your corporate position, but a new one for your freelance persona, building upon your niche expertise. Link to your website. Join niche discussion groups, publish posts on the site, and link to those in discussion groups.
Register on every freelance writing site possible. This includes sites that may not be directly related to your niche. For example, a lot of writing service sites host blogs on a huge variety of topics. Check out Best Essay Education, Supreme Dissertations, and Trust My Paper for starters. They all have copywriting services and clients who are looking for blog post writers. Doing this will build your portfolio as well as gain some references.
Accumulate Ideas Constantly
This may seem old school, but it's not a bad idea to keep a pen and notepad with you all the time. Or, have an app on your phone for jotting down ideas when they hit. Don’t think you will remember them later because you won’t. These notes will provide the starting points for future posts.
Submit, Submit, Submit
There are plenty of business blogs in virtually every niche, and some are quite popular. Follow those blogs, participate in discussions, and develop relationships with the owners. Submit amazing posts for possible publication. This is a continuing effort until you are established.
Now to the Meat of the Writing
Blog writing is unique. If you have been following blogs in your niche, you understand a few things already. Blogs are always…
- Written in clear simple language
- Written in active voice
- Formatted so content is broken up into small chunks so that readers can “snack” on your post
- Using visuals that will capture the attention
- Focused on solving problems, educating, entertaining, and/or inspiring readers
That's not all!
There are additional steps involved that will generate more engagement, a greater following, and put you in high demand of businesses that want your articles. Keep reading to find out what that is.
Tell a Story
Popular blog posts engage readers by telling a story upfront. It can be a personal experience or even a short piece of fiction. You want to make a point of the content that will follow. This story can be in text, or it can even be a video that introduces value in fun or entertaining way. It should answer the question, “Why should I read this post?”
And, certainly, you can tell more stories throughout your post. They will always capture attention.
Sam Keason, Director of Copywriting for WowGrade writing service, says this: “The best copywriting content resonates personally with readers, no matter what the topic. Probably the most effective method to do this is to tell stories that engage and that lead to solutions and provide value.”
Always Have an Outline
It does not have to be anything formal, but you need to have a map that gives you a sequence of the points you will be making. Start by listing all of the ideas you have for this post. Then put them in the order you will cover them, usually the most important first.
If you are writing for a client, there may be some requirements that you must include. One example is opt-in forms of calls to action to make conversions, such as needing to provide an email address for a newsletter subscription or a download. Make sure you have placed these in the right places in your outline.
The outline will give you the sub-headings you will be including in the post, and under those subheadings, you can identify the items for bullet points or lists.
Read, Read, Read; Research, Research, Research
The one thing you will come to understand is that blogging involves continual reading and research. You have to read the most popular blog posts of others, even outside of your niche so that you can learn what engages and compels an audience.
You must also conduct continual research in your niche so that you identify trending topics and the issues and problems that your target audience faces.
These things are never-ending if you intend to be successful and pull in clients because your own writing is so amazing. Eventually, you will find your own voice and it will resonate. Jean Keller, HR Manager for Studicus, puts it this way: “When we look at hiring bloggers for our copywriting department, we want to see a history of creative composition and expertise in at least one niche. Our business clients come from all sectors, and we are on the constant lookout for seasoned blog writers.”
Find the Questions and Answer Them
There is a number of sources for trending topics in your niche. Use them on a regular basis. You will find the questions that the audiences in your niche are asking, the problems they need resolved, etc.
And write about them. You don’t need a place for them right now, just keep writing. Get better headlines, write better introductions, add new information. And hold onto those posts. You can improve them as you keep current on the topics over time. When a client asks for a post on the topic, or when you can find a place for publication, then you have an up-to-date post to offer.
Be Consistent and Regular
Whether your posts have been commissioned by a client or not, you must write often. You will never develop your own style if you don’t. And if you are holding down a day job while moving into blogging, then you must set aside time on a regular basis to write. If you don’t, then you will never see yourself as a blogger. Posts can be put in your portfolio; they can be submitted for publication. Just make sure to put on your blogger hat as much as you can.
What's the bottom line?
Successful careers in blogging do not just happen. They are the result of hard work, specific writing skills, and the creativity to engage audiences. They involve significant research; they involve writing, and writing, and more writing. They involve making lots of connections, networking, personal branding, and promotion. They involve becoming an expert in one or more niches and courting those companies that need content in those niches. They involve finding influencers in that niche and turning them into ambassadors for you. This is not a career that develops overnight. But those aspiring business bloggers who follow the tips above have every chance to become career writers with solid income and freedom for which they long.