Struggling to market your business online? Hayley Lyons from CGR Creative offers her 5 best tips for blogging!
Andrew: Hello, Charlotte. It’s Andrew Bowen here, and I am the host of CBR’s B2U podcast, bringing business resources directly to you, presented by CBRbiz.com. Our goal today, and every day, is to connect you to the information you need to start and run a successful business.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably already know how valuable marketing your business online is. In fact, I bet you’re at least exploring the world of social media and online marketing, if you aren’t already completely immersed in it. But for many of us, knowing how to share content online is a challenge, which brings us to our guest of today’s show, Hayley Lyons.
Hayley is a web content strategist at CGR Creative. So welcome, Hayley. Can you tell our guests a little about yourself and what you do over at CGR Creative?
Hayley: Sure. Hi, Andrew. Thank you for having me here.
Andrew: You’re very welcome.
Hayley: As Andrew said, my name is Hayley Lyons, and I’m a web content strategist at CGR Creative. We’re a marketing and advertising agency in the Southend area with a focus on digital marketing.
Andrew: That’s great. So my understanding is that you’ve been blogging for a very long time.
Hayley: Yes, I’ve actually been creating digital content for about 15 years now. I started my first blog when I was 10.
Andrew: Okay, so back then it probably wasn’t even called blogging, right?
Hayley: No, I actually, I don’t even know that I had a name for it. I think it was just my online diary. If anyone remembers Xanga or Livejournal, I was pretty big into those. And also this is a really good reminder to always remember your password because my Livejournal is still floating around.
Andrew: Alright, yes, passwords are very important. Mostly for removal sake, right?
Hayley: Yes, absolutely.
Andrew: Alright, well that feels like a good place to start. Writing…so what advice would you give to an entrepreneur/small business owner preparing to write their first blog post or web content?
Hayley: Okay, Andrew, I’ve actually prepared five of my best tips for writing for web. Are you ready?
Andrew: I can count. I have one hand.
Hayley: Perfect. Okay, so first, tip number one. Be sure to use plain but well-written language. The more syllables you use the less likely your readers are to read and share your articles. You know, our readers, we’re not saying they’re unintelligent, but I actually led a seminar a few months ago, and after some research saw that the content that was the most read was written at a 7th to 8th grade reading level. And as I was preparing for today’s show, I kind of looked up on that again, and now they’re saying as low as a 2nd grade reading level. So keeping your content really simple is important.
Andrew: So don’t be superfluous or ostentatious is what you’re saying?
Hayley: Do not do that. Keep the language simple.
Andrew: Simple, okay.
Hayley: And easy to understand, yeah. So that’s tip number one, plain but well-written language. Tip number two is to make sure it’s well organized. As web readers ourselves, are you more likely to read dense never ending paragraphs or an article that you can skim with bullet points? I mean, most likely bullet points, right?
Andrew: Definitely bullet points.
Hayley: It’s like, you know those text messages that are really long and never ending scrolls. It’s usually because you’ve done something wrong or you’re in trouble. You don’t want to do that to your readers when they visit your website. You want to give them content that they can skim and get the information they need quickly.
Andrew: Yeah, so organize it well by saying here’s what you can expect and then give it to them in a short precise manner.
Hayley: Absolutely. That’s exactly right.
Hayley: Tip number three is to optimize it. Some of you are probably familiar with the term search engine optimization. This basically is the method of making sure that your web content can be found easily via search engines and online. So the best way to optimize it is to use related terms, keywords and buzzwords that are industry recognized but beyond that also to make sure your content is really providing value to your readers.
Andrew: So it’s kind of a balancing act.
Andrew: Is that what it sounds like?
Hayley: That’s exactly right.
Andrew: Okay. So a mixture of jargon and actual plain language so you’re really hitting the search engines and such and then actual people reading it.
Hayley: Something kind of interesting is that search engines are kind of like our web readers. They skim your content so you have to be sure you have those common terms and phrases throughout.
Hayley: And tip number four is, of course, to keep it free of grammatical errors. It only takes one typo to lose your reader’s trust. That might seem dramatic, but it’s true.
Andrew: Yes. I’ve experienced that.
Hayley: And, you know, we’re human. Typos happen. Just be sure that you’ve proof read and read it again and give it to a friend or a colleague. And this is actually a tip from a mentor of mine, is I know that some Word documents will read your content back to you, and that will help you find some of those typos you might’ve missed.
Andrew: Oh great, text to speech.
Hayley: Yeah, it’s awesome.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I should’ve done that on my thesis.
Hayley: It helps. It helps a lot. And tip number five, get to the point quickly. Users want to know right away if your article is one that will interest them. So make sure your topic is focused and clear. Use a strong lead. And you can also be entertaining. Don’t feel like you have to be over-intelligent or over-informative. You can entertain and really speak to your readers like humans because they are humans. And have a conversation with them.
Andrew: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And as the last point is get to the point quickly, I think we did that very well in less than five minutes. But just to kind of recap. So we’re talking to humans. We don’t want to, you know, go over their head with industry jargon because I’m sure that a lot of the business owners or entrepreneurs that are listening may be in the very technical or specific…
Andrew: …realm where they really want to make sure that anybody reading it, specifically funders or possible customers, whether they’re business to business or straight customers, really get what they’re trying to tell them. So these five points are great.
Hayley: That’s right. Awesome.
Andrew: Concise, smart, quick. All those things.
Andrew: Yeah, so is there anything else when it comes to preparing web content that you’d like to share beyond these five points?
Hayley: I think just be yourself. You know, write as yourself. Use your voice, or if you’re a business owner, use your brand’s voice.
Andrew: Awesome, Hayley. Thanks. And, listeners, this is part one of a three part series featuring Hayley Lyons from CGR Creative. Up next we’re going to continue our conversation with Hayley and figure out, now that we have our first blog post written, how do we get people to read it? Thanks for tuning in to CBR’s B2U podcast, presented by CBRbiz.com. Until next time, we mean business.