I have to get this off my chest: Most bloggers are terrible at their craft.  This is not an assertion that wins me a lot of friends in the blogging community.  I get that, but unfortunately it’s true.  They’re lousy at it because they consistently violate the unwritten rules of blogging.  Here are my common sense tips for writing blog posts that will actually get read.  Really!

Quit selling

The purpose of blogging is to develop a trust relationship with your readers. Think of blogging like you were at a business social.  Imagine if you were at a party and someone went from one small group to the next interrupting the conversation by handing out business cards and telling everyone how great they are at what they do. What would you think of that person?  When you’re blogging and you consistently sell your product or service you are like that annoying person at the cocktail party trying to get everyone’s business.  DON’T DO THAT!!

Provide great content

Instead of selling, provide your readers with great content. Always answer the question your readers are asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?”  Imagine you’re back at the business social.  Instead of selling yourself, you respectfully listen, ask insightful follow up questions and when the conversation begins to wane you provide an interesting tidbit that actually benefits the listener.  How do you think they would respond to you?  Wouldn’t they want to get to know you better?  Of course they would.  In the same way when you provide great blog content, you become a trusted advisor that may eventually lead to real business down the road.

The blog’s title is everything

Over the years I’ve written what I believe is excellent content that unfortunately very few of my readers elected to read.  Why?  Because the blog title did not grab their attention so they chose not to open it. I am convinced that creating interesting blog titles is an art.  And without a creative, thought-provoking blog title your blogs are not going to get read either.  Find an online site that helps you create intriguing titles for your blog.  I use CoSchedule.  I suggest a title and CoSchedule gives my title an overall score.  It allows me to try various words until I finally have a title that yields an optimal score.

Write content your readers want to read, not on topics you’re qualified to write on.

One of the most common mistakes bloggers make is writing solely on topics that they are qualified to write on.  I keep track of the open rate and the click thru rate for all of my blogs so I know what my readers like to read.  My blogs can be divided into one of nine categories.  Shown below are my readers’ preferences on what topics they like to read from most the popular to least popular:

  • Current Events
  • The Economy
  • CRE Market
  • Interest Rates
  • The Federal Reserve
  • Principles to Live By
  • CRE Investing
  • Miscellaneous
  • CRE Financing

Notice that the topic I’m most qualified to write about, CRE Financing, is at the very bottom of the list.  Apparently my readers are not really interested in how to finance their properties, the topic I’m most qualified to discuss. Instead, my readers would prefer I write on all sorts of topics that I have no qualifications whatsoever to write on.  Go figure!  So I’ve learned to write on these topics that my readers prefer to read, not on topics I’m qualified to discuss.  You need to do the same.

Give your opinion

Want to be boring?  Never give your opinion on anything.  Most bloggers are fearful that stating an opinion on a controversial topic will backfire.  But they’re wrong!  Yes, you may lose a reader or two that asks to be removed from your distribution list.  That may happen but deep down most of your readers want to hear what you think on  controversial topics.  In 2016, during the presidential race, I first made my opinion known on what I thought of Donald Trump.  A few months later, I gave my opinion on Hillary Clinton.  Neither opinion was favorable to the candidate.  Those two blog posts are among my top five most read and most commented blog posts of all time.  Yes, I lost a few readers but it was worth it.

Write so it’s easy to scan

People are busy these days.  They are inundated with emails littering their inbox, of which, most are junk.  In order for them to easily read your article make it effortless for their eyes to quickly scan.  Have an eye-catching picture, use bullet points, and have plenty of white space.  Make sure your paragraphs aren’t too long and your sentences are short.  When you do these things, you’re making it easier for your readers to get the gist of what you are trying to say, in the shortest amount of time.

Have software that tells you your open and click thru rate

In order to excel at blogging, you need to know how successful each blog post is.  Which blog topics are popular?  Which blog topics are not?  Who is reading your blog?  Who are your most avid readers?  I use ActiveCampaign which provides me all sorts of interesting information that helps me understand how to improve my blogging skills.  If you don’t know this very basic information, you’re flying blind.  You will never get better at the art of blogging without having this basic information.

Those are my thoughts.  I welcome yours.  What would you add to my list?  What would you delete?  And most importantly, why?

Do you have a need for financing? Contact me at doug@marshallcf.com to set a time for us to talk.