I studied journalism in college and I’ve always worked as a journalist in one capacity or another. Once I started in the inbound world I saw a direct relationship between writing news stories and business blogging. On the surface, news articles and marketing blogs don’t appear to have a whole lot in common. The topics are drastically different (I don’t typically write up a lot of crime stories here at What She Said) and there isn’t a whole lot of room for writing creatively in the news business, but the principles of a powerful news story can make for some awesome blog content.
If you’re a journalistic writer trying to find your way in the world of the inbound blogs, I’ve gathered up four journalistic writing staples that you can start implementing into your blogs:
- Grab the reader’s attention.
Have you ever seen crazy headline and thought “What the what?! I’ve got to read this!” A great headline will grab the reader’s attention and make them want to continue reading. Your blog titles should do the same. Get your reader interested in your content as soon as possible starting with the title. Keep that momentum going into your introductory statements. The beauty of blog writing that doesn’t come with journalistic regulations is you can put some of yourself into the story. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and try to connect with your audience. People want to know someone has the same problems they do or has had similar experiences as them. The obvious truth is that people don’t want to read boring content. Grab their attention early with interesting and fun language and they’ll keep reading for more.
- Be concise.
Being concise is key to writing a news story. It seems like attention spans are lower than ever and people just want the facts ASAP. But don’t take this tip too far and throw a bulleted list out there and call it a day. Keep the idea of conciseness in mind and stay on topic while using direct words to get your point across, don’t dance around the subject. I hate flowery language, which to me is a bunch of useless words that don’t do anything but clog your sentences and distract the reader. Using fancy words or more of them won’t make your content better. People want content that uses simple language and is easy to digest, so give the people what they want!
- Make them care about the topic.
Journalists can relate a topic to how it will affect public safety, school systems, and tax dollars to make people care about their story. How do you make people care about your blog? Try to help them solve a problem they have or teach them about a subject that interests them. Giving your reader resources or tips that will help them improve or learn is a quick way to make them care about your blog. People want to know what’s in it for them. Know your audience and don’t bury the facts. Tell the reader what there is to gain from your awesome content.
- Don’t lie.
In the world of journalism you learn a lot about ethics. If your reporting isn’t honest and accurate you will lose credibility as a journalist. The same can be said about creating blog content. If you don’t think something is useful or if it just plain sucks, don’t promote it as something wonderful. If you’re writing a blog instructing someone on how to improve his or her social media strategy, but you don’t believe the tips actually work, don’t write about it. Don’t write a blog just to have new content to post on your website. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your audience. Lying to your reader will just make them angry and you will lose their trust. If your audience no longer trusts you they’ll want nothing to do with your blogs or your organization. (Which is the polar opposite of what you’re going for by blogging in the first place.)
Next time that blog deadline starts creeping up on you try thinking like a journalist! News reporting is all about getting the reader’s attention and explaining an issue in an honest and concise way. Implementing these journalistic staples into your business blogging is an excellent way to create amazing content.