The A-2-Z of business blog writing: E is for Editing

HTWB knifeEditing is a topic writers (and editors, natch) have been arguing about for decades, if not centuries.

Writers often say that (nonfiction, especially) editors are ruthless butchers who shred good writing right down to its knickers [Read more…]

What can you blog about? Jargon busting

small__503600331 (2)Getting good business blog ideas is becoming an increasing headache for many business people. In this series, we take a look at some key areas of inspiration to help trigger ideas for your next blog post. This time, we look at jargon busting. [Read more…]

Blogging: never mind the toy-toys – it’s quality time

small_2493066577Why has it taken so many so-called “expert” bloggers to get up to date with what’s actually important in blogging today?

Nearly two years ago I wrote this article which, since then, has had nearly 25,000 views on this humble wee blogsite here.

A lonely voice in the wilderness for a long time. But in the last few weeks, finally, I have seen a number of other bloggers – and even some of the so-called “expert” bloggers – take this issue up with a vengeance.

The other day one even wrote an indignant article criticizing British bloggers and social media users for misusing the word “blog.” Much as I totally agree that correct terminology is important for the sake of clarity, I wonder why it has taken this person nearly two years to come round to that way of thinking?

Where have all these “blog experts” been, and what have they been doing?

This is a matter for speculation, but it strikes me that they were all far too busy putting the blogging cart before the horse to realize that things were changing and they were concentrating on the wrong things.

These people got into blogging because they thought it was a cool way to use lots of whistles and bells basically to sneak subtle advertising messages in under the cyber-radar. Their idea of good blogging was to use advertising and direct mail copywriting techniques from the 1960s to grab readers’ attention and then, mixed up within some supposed editorial chit-chat, were all the right keywords and selling messages getting readers to buy, sign up, download a freebie, etc.

small__503600331 (1)Some of these characters even started out by saying that “blogging” and “writing” were two different things, although I have a funny feeling they would find that concept a bit embarrassing now. And ironically that was appropriate in their case, because what they put in their blog posts certainly wasn’t writing. Well, not good writing, anyway.

However now, many so-called blogging experts purporting to help clients blog better have become keen to show how good writing is key to success. All of a sudden.

Of course, I couldn’t agree more. (And the fact that recent new Google initiatives like Panda and Penguin plus Penguin 2.0 force bloggers to focus much more on quality of content than on hard-selling junk, is not entirely unconnected with the change in focus!)

But how come all those “experts” have taken this long to get around to promoting good writing, especially when I and other professional writers like me have been offering such services for years (and making quite a good living out of it)?

And given that these people started out as “bloggers” – some of whom even sneered down their noses at “writers” – how can you trust them to show you the right ways to write for successful blogging now? It’s all very well selling clients colorful gargoyles and whizzing bow ties to make their blogsites look “professional,” and then selling them all sorts of further toy-toys to measure this and get metrics for that. But if the writing – those humble words that cost nothing – is cr*ppy, the whole thing will fail.

Tech and toy-toys should support good words and other content

I’m hardly an expert on the tech elements of blogging. I make no secret of it; I don’t like toy-toys unless they do something very, very valuable that supports the words / pictures / moving pictures / audio. Words and other editorial content are the dog: tech and toy-toys are the wagging tail.

Frankly, I don’t want to learn about all that side of the blogging spectrum for two reasons: 1) I’m not technically minded and 2) if I were to learn about it in detail that would probably obscure my vision of what the pure content should be doing. The writing is what I’m good at; it’s why people hire me; and it’s what gets their audiences interested and engaged in the first instance.

When my clients ask me about the more tech elements of their blogs, I cheerfully refer them to my good friend Babs Saul (who masterminds this site) and/or others who have the right expertise and qualifications.

As blogging has grown exponentially, so has the number of real experts and so-called “experts” available to help you do it well. My feeling, and that of many others in the business as well as all my clients, believe that is you want a special blog, you need specialized guidance and advice.

If you want to know what to blog about, stick with HTWB

blogging,writing,blog writing,business,newsletter,HowToWriteBetter.net,How To Write Better,Suzan St MaurFollow us on here in the coming weeks for some fab free blog writing advice, with two new blogging series starting in September, too.

And if you need more in-depth help give me a holler. I’m not cheap, but I’m very, very good at making your blog writing work.

Let’s blog on together. The write way…

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family…

photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via photopin cc
photo credit: Wesley Fryer via photopin cc

SEO is dead: long live SEO

small__7460433450Google updates, whether we like it or not, usually have an influence on how and what we write – especially for business. To find out just what changes are taking place now, I asked digital business expert James Coakes to share his views on it and how it is affecting content creators…

The latest Google update has started to roll through the index and many are questioning whether SEO is dead. Some in the industry are removing SEO from their names (SEOMOZ became MOZ at the same time as Penguin 2 arrived). [Read more…]

These Boots Are Made For Bloggin’ … by popular demand

medium_88993263 (1)After last week’s laughs with my re-write of the lyrics to Paul Simon’s wonderful track, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” re-interpreted into “50 Ways To Win At Blogging,” I’m thrilled to say that I got a whole load of shares and support from folks saying “hey – do one of these a week!”

So I’m going to try for a while, at least.

These Boots Are Made For Bloggin’ [Read more…]

Blogging: a fresh look at “posticles” and “artiposts”

medium_2493066577 (2)Nearly two years ago I wrote this post wondering just how blog posts and articles might cross over, although at the time they were usually considered to be very different animals. Now, though, how have we moved forward? If so, in which way or ways? Have blog posts finally graduated from being, well, blog posts, to being shortish articles? Or are they still considered different and inferior to articles, at least if journalists and other traditionalists are to be believed? Although this is only my opinion, I think the traditionalists are having to curtail their sneers at the better bloggers and accept that blogging is now 21st century article writing. Here’s why… [Read more…]

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