When you login to Content Runner to look for work, you see the title of the offering and monetary offer in addition to the category for each assignment. Blog post is a popular category among clients with good reason. Blogs allow companies to speak to their customers in a less formal tone of voice about issues that affect them. Although they are not an essential part of a business website, they engage people in a different way.
For example, a chiropractor’s website typically includes information about the services offered, staff biographies, hours of operation, types of insurance accepted, and similar details. Most people use this information to decide if they want to do business with the organization or not. On a chiropractor’s blog, he or she may choose to discuss different types of chronic pain and what types of treatment would be most appropriate for each. With a blog, website readers feel more like someone is speaking to them directly. It helps them identify with the chiropractor as someone who understands their unique challenges.
What to Know Before You Start
Writing a blog post for a client is more challenging than writing one for yourself. You need to understand the client’s target audience and the message his or her company is trying to convey. As an independent contractor for Content Runner, you’re free to ask for a link to the client’s website or existing blog. They may not always have one, but when they do, it’s extremely helpful to get a feel for the tone that the website’s visitors are already accustomed to reading. For those who don’t have an outside link, ask clarifying questions to ensure that you understand their directions correctly.
On Content Runner, clients typically choose their own blog topics. However, your working relationship may have progressed to the point that you’re the one doing the choosing. In that case, ask the client about common problems the company or its customers face to give you ideas for blog topics. You can also check the Frequently Asked Questions page on the client’s website for ideas on what you could expand on in the blogging format. As you’re formulating your list of possible topics, always keep benefit to the reader in mind.
Write an Outline and First Draft
Success in the blogging world is measured by how many times people shared the post on social media networks and how many page views it received. While you won’t necessarily know that information, understand that high numbers in both of these areas are your client’s end goal. If you can write blog content that people read and share a lot, the client is likely to want to work with you on an ongoing basis. However, you need to create an outline long before you ever get to that point.
You probably remember your English teacher describing how to prepare for a writing assignment by first drafting an outline of what you want to cover. The same basic principle still applies. After settling on your topic and ensuring that you have a good understanding of the target audience, your next step is to create an outline. This helps you create flow to the post so it doesn’t come off as clunky and uninspired later. A chronological outline, which includes the points you want to address in the order you want to address them, allows you to make a smooth transition to the actual writing.
You’re now ready to write your first draft. Here you want to fill in details of the points you included in your outline. Don’t worry yet about it being perfect. The goal is just to write and get the words out there. The time to edit ruthlessly is when you know you have included everything you want to say.
How to Stand Out from the Competition
The Internet is a busy place, which means dozens of blog posts about your topic probably already exist. This can actually work to your advantage. Before you start writing, take a few minutes to do a Google search for your topic. Scanning the blogs to see what the writer covered is important, but reading the comments at the end is even more helpful to you. This gives you the opportunity to learn what worked and what didn’t for that particular writer on a topic you will soon be writing about as well.
Finding and using your own unique writer’s voice is another way to produce excellent blog content for your clients. The last thing you want to do is sound just like everyone else who has published a blog on this topic. As long as you stick with the tone the client requested, feel free to use the words and style that feel most comfortable to you.
When researching content for a blog post, make certain that you use and cite reputable sources. The people reading your post want to know that the information is credible and not just made up to make them feel a certain way or take a certain action. Some Content Runner assignments let you know specifically which sites to avoid using as references.
Start with a Bang and End with a Request
Whether your blog post is 200 words or more than 1,000 words, people won’t read past the headline and first few sentences if it doesn’t grab their attention. If you’re assigned the task of creating a title, make it short, to the point, and dynamic. It should give just a hint of what the blog post will cover so the reader wants to continue. It’s also important to establish a connection with the reader before the end of the first paragraph. Empathize with his or her situation and then let the reader know how you’re going to make it better.
At the conclusion of your blog post, let the reader know what you want him or her to do with the information you have just provided. This is the call to action. Many people link to a contact us page or suggest scheduling an appointment with the business to learn more. However, you can leave this part out if the client specifies that the blog post should be informative only without even a hint of marketing.