Thinking about marketing your franchise? Blogs and news pieces are a great way to grab people’s attention. You don’t have to be a brilliant writer to create an interesting blog. To help you get started, we’ve put together some of our top tips for writing a great blog.
If you’re looking for a fresh way to market your franchise, a blog is one of the best ways to draw potential customers to your business. It’s less in-your-face than advertising and will offer your audience something genuinely interesting to read before encouraging them to become a new customer.
You don’t need to be a budding Stephen King to write a great blog, but there are a few things to bear in mind when creating engaging content. Our editorial team has produced thousands of pieces of content over the years, so we know a thing or two about nailing the humble blog. Here’s a step by step guide to writing a blog post that shows your business off in the best light.
1. Brainstorm ideas
Before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys), have a think about the topic of your blog post. You may already have plenty of inspiration before sitting down, thanks to recent events with the business, like a charity fundraiser or a franchisee milestone. Nothing springing to mind? Don’t panic. Here are just some of the content avenues you could choose to explore:
- Current events - Take events in the news, ideally those concerning your industry, and make your stance known or use them to spark discussion among prospective and current customers. Try not to make your content too controversial, as you risk alienating some readers. As you would on a first date, it’s probably best to stay away from divisive subjects like politics and religion.
- Topical - Regular celebrations like Christmas, Easter, Mothers’ & Fathers’ days, Eid, Hanukkah, Halloween and more are great to use as content springboards.
- Industry related - Use recent changes in legislation or regulation, advances in industry tech, prominent events like conferences or awards or other sector-specific topics to start a conversation.
- Thought leadership - Use your team’s expertise to position yourselves as industry experts. Your staff will be an incredibly valuable resource here, as their technical or practical knowledge will impress customers and show them you’re a franchise they can trust.
2. Plan your blog
Planning your content can actually be more time consuming than the writing, but it’s something that will make the process easier and improve the results. It’s worth saying here that there isn’t a ‘correct’ way to approach writing; if you sit down and the words flow out immediately, don’t feel the need to break your flow to follow a rigid planning structure. Some writers find it easier to get their ideas on paper and edit them after.
However, if you’re not a natural writer, creating a plan will make the process much easier for you. You can make sure each paragraph of your piece has a clear focus that’s easy for the reader to follow, rather than jumping from one idea to the next.
A good rule of thumb is that 60% of your time should be spent on planning and research and 40% on actually getting the words down. Here’s an example of how you could approach blog planning:
1. Think about the overall purpose of your blog. What’s the main thing you want the reader to know, feel or think after reading it?
2. What are the points you want to cover? List them out as bullet points - each one will be the focus of a paragraph. If you’ve got more than five or six, see if you can combine any similar ones.
3. Have you got any specific information to include? If you know you want to work certain quotes or statistics into the piece, pop them under the relevant heading.
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3. Get researching
Now you’ve got a better idea of what you want to say, it’s time to do a bit of research. Your perspective and ideas on a topic are no doubt interesting, but research can help you in two ways.
Including relevant sources and external perspectives will bolster the credibility of your blog, particularly if you’re talking about a topical subject or positioning yourself as an industry expert. Linking to popular websites is also a great way to boost your website’s search engine ranking and improve your blogs’ SEO (search engine optimisation) - arguably the most crucial aspect of digital content.
Even one link to an interesting statistic or quote will make your blog more engaging and more likely to reach the right people. If you’re looking for more SEO tips, check out ‘A Complete Guide to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)’.
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4. Review your work
Once you’ve finished your first draft, it’s time to look back over what you’ve done. If possible, get a colleague you trust to read over it and give you their honest feedback. Have you:
- Used a good mix of long and short sentences to add more variety and a better flow?
- Used several short paragraphs rather than one block of text for each point?
- Kept the language simple? Too much jargon or frilly language won’t appeal to many readers.
Programmes like Word and Pages have built-in spell and grammar checkers that catch the worst mistakes, but they’re not always 100% accurate. Instead, try using services like Grammarly, which can also offer advice on vocabulary choices and tone.
Looking to elevate your writing? Tools like Hemingway will help you master the art of concise writing if you’re prone to being verbose. You can also rely on the good old thesaurus to stop your writing becoming too repetitive and to spice up your language - just don’t go mad and sprinkle four syllable words throughout the blog. The best blogs are those that are sophisticated yet simple to understand.
5. Make your blog work harder
Once your masterpiece is complete, you’ll be itching to get it up on your website. But after spending hours making it perfect, you need to make sure it’s seen by as many eyes as possible. One simple way to maximise the impact of your blog is to share it far and wide. Tweet a link out to your followers, share it on Facebook, post it on LinkedIn, or even convert your written content to video form for YouTube - but that’s a whole other topic for another day…
Mastering the art of writing
Hopefully, these tips have given you a bit more confidence and the skills to produce a brilliant blog. The main thing to remember is not to worry; your readers want to be educated or entertained about something you know well, and won’t be judging your writing as if it’s a Booker-winning novel. With a bit of practise, and the help of a few handy tools, your blog content will soon be working hard to win you new customers.
Want more tips on everything franchising? We’ve got a huge catalogue of articles to browse, covering everything from marketing to recruitment to mental health to podcast recommendations.
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©