4 Blogging Hacks To Get Ahead In The B2B PR Game
It’s been suggested that present-day PR students should no longer be required to take advanced writing classes. For the proponent of this view, the changing landscape of PR demands better strategists over better wordsmiths.
Food for thought.
It’s true that the world of PR is undergoing considerable transformation. It’s the reason why forward thinking PR professionals have already begun to futureproof themselves, and why we produced this opinion paper on creating PR departments that will stand the test of time.
Our paper shows that improved copywriting ability is actually one of the most-wanted skills for PR professionals trying to diversify in a shifting market.
This should come as little surprise. Today, Account Executives can expect to write considerably more than the odd press release as part of their job role. And increasingly, blogging is becoming a necessary part of the expanding PR skillset.
When it comes to blogging, there’s plenty of best practice that needs to be done (SEO, sharing, post frequency). But ultimately, if your writing sucks, so will your content. Blogs need great writing and great surrounding practices.
So, without further ado, four failsafe writing techniques for the PR professional looking to sharpen up their blogging skills:
1. Start at the start
Begin every post by writing the headline first.
It may feel counterintuitive, but this is the key to tight, focused blog writing. The headline of a post is a promise made to the reader, detailing the information they can expect to receive as a result of clicking on a link and reading your content. Writing your headline before your post means that you’re more likely to stay on subject, deliver the goods that the reader is expecting and keep your promise.
It’s a lot easier this way round than it is trying to shoehorn a piece of rambling, wishy-washy writing into an engaging headline.
When it does come to writing your headline, make sure it’s magnetic. There are a number of well-documented and foolproof techniques for creating headlines that stimulate readership. The listicle (e.g. 7 Reasons for…) or anything beginning with “How to…” are good places to start.
2. Break it up
There’s nothing less appetising to readers than dense chunks of text. It’s a sure-fire way to get people to give up halfway through a blog post.
The aim is always to create a path of least of resistance for the reader. Make your posts easier to digest by:
- Breaking up text into short paragraphs. Vary your paragraph length between medium (7 lines), short (4-6 lines) and really short (1-3 lines). If you’re writing paragraphs over 10 lines long, chances are you’re boring your readers.
- Using headers, sub-headers, lists and bullet points.
- Emboldening, italicising and underlining text for emphasis where appropriate.
Finally – never be afraid to put a pivotal sentence in isolation.
3. Cut it out
As well as being palatable on a structural level, posts should be manageable on a verbal level too. The aim is clear, concise language.
George Orwell had six essential rules for good writing. Here are two of them:
1. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
2. If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out.
In many ways, the key is to stop trying so hard. Simplicity is paramount. Don’t feel the need to clutter sentences with complicated words or constructions. Err on the side of shorter, rather than longer sentences and cut back on waffle with zealous enthusiasm. Adjectives and adverbs should be used sparingly and selectively. One or two in the right place are striking; five or six squeezed into a small space dull the effect.
So cut. When you think you’ve cut all you can, cut again. If you’re struggling, cut out the adjectives and adverbs that seem necessary to your post and then see how it reads. You might be pleasantly surprised.
4. B2B doesn’t stand for ‘boring to business’
When it comes to creativity, B2B marketing is often portrayed as B2C’s poor relation. Try not to conform to this stereotype. If what you’ve written sounds boring to you, don’t subject someone else to it.
A whole post could be written about this – and indeed many have – but in brief, to keep things interesting in the B2B space:
- Humanise. Find the human interest in the piece and share it
- Insert humour (if appropriate)
- Take a calculated risk every now and then
- Talk about benefits to customers not product features
- Be inspired by creative ideas from successful B2B and B2C blogs
Download Futureproofing The PR Department for more advice on getting ahead in public relations