Have you often thought ‘I should start a blog?’ but then the thought has seemed too overwhelming and you’ve not pursued it? On top of everything else you’re doing, writing may seem to be an extra chore, however, with self-publishing platforms and blogging sites, it’s never been easier to get your message out to a wide audience.
While writing may not immediately deliver results for your business, many entrepreneurs see it as a crucial part of their activity. You don’t have to be a great writer, you just need something to say – whether it’s through blogging, writing a book, or even tweeting your ideas to your followers, writing has many benefits for entrepreneurs.
It forces you to look for new ways of thinking
Writing encourages to you communicate not only your own ideas, but to observe the thoughts and ideas of others. You will become more aware of others’ way of thinking on a regular basis, generating inspiration for new concepts you may not have considered.
Become an expert in your field
We all know it’s a cliché to say that by doing these things you will be perceived as an expert, but you need to consider the process of becoming an expert. Writing makes you think deeper about the details of your ideas and really explore what you’re trying to communicate. The more you write, the more you will learn about your subject, and the more your audience will trust you to deliver a great service or product. Sharing your knowledge and educating your audience allows you to demonstrate your own expertise. The more you get your name out there by regularly sharing content, the more those in the industry will begin to notice – you will soon be positioning yourself amongst those experts.
If you’re green, you grow. If you’re ripe, you rot. Learning new skills is always a priority in business, if you stop learning, you will fail. Learning a new skill such as writing takes time and dedication, and is a valuable experience for you as an entrepreneur. The ability to construct and shape your ideas into a coherent piece of text provides you not only with a creative skill that can be applied to other parts of your business, but can enhance your communication skills as an entrepreneur. I have found that sharing my ideas in a public domain has enabled me to become more introspective – I have begun to identify my own weaknesses and how they impact others, from which I can learn and become a better leader.
It’s a great marketing tool
Blog posts are a great way to let your audience get to know you and it provides a taster of what you can offer, acting as an effective way of drawing potential customers in and leading them on the journey to eventually buying from you. If a reader likes your ideas, they will be compelled to follow you, and these people, in turn, will inevitably be the ones who help develop and distribute your ideas and products. You may also be able to develop future products that complement your blog or book.
I began by writing and sharing blogs relating to aspects of business that interest me – I used the platform to educate, share my opinion on current issues in the industry and argue my points on business concepts I felt would interest my readers. From these, I collated key insights into ‘bites’ of knowledge that became a series of blogs, videos and later, a book – Canny Bites: 52 bites of business wisdom for leaders and entrepreneurs. This process meant that my audience were with me every step of the journey, from blog to book. The content in the blogs acted as a teaser to what was coming in the product, meaning my readers were already hooked onto my thinking and have in turn have purchased the book.
How to start writing
You may have all the intention in the world to write, but the hardest part is often getting started. It takes time, dedication and practice to find a way of writing that works for you.
Decide on your target audience
Who exactly are you aiming to communicate with? This could be an individual, with specific needs and traits, rather than a group of people. Have this person in mind and write to them each time and offer them solutions to their burning questions. Taking time to revaluate your content is key – ensure you are creating content that you would find valuable if you were in the reader’s position.
Get into a routine
Setting expectations for your audience is key – consistency in producing blogs will let them know how frequently they will see content from you which in turn will help to build and maintain your audience. In terms of writing and publishing, it’s good practice to put together a schedule that allows you to set aside time for research and writing. But don’t feel like you have to write for the sake of writing. Forcing an idea or not giving yourself enough time to research or constructing your ideas won’t benefit anyone. Give yourself time think about the message you want to get across and the people you want to reach – this will ensure your post flows more naturally and come across as being authentic.
Allow people to reach you easily
Let your readers get in touch with you, whether that’s via email, Twitter, or even by providing your phone number. Making yourself approachable allows your audience to engage and can create some great connections. It’s also very rewarding when people react to your posts – whether that’s with an idea that has sprung from your post, or even just a comment to say they enjoyed it. I always try to include a question at the end of my social media posts, videos and chapters of my book to make the reader think and encourage them to respond to me via the channels offered.
There’s no formula for writing the perfect content – it all comes down to communicating ideas that are worth sharing.
Safaraz Ali is an author, social investor and a Judge for the Great British Entrepreneurs Award and is based in Birmingham. His book, Canny Bites: 52 bites of business wisdom for leaders and entrepreneurs, is available from http://www.cannybites.co.uk/