For business bloggers who are just getting started and who don’t have a formal writing background, writing an article can be a daunting task. I am often asked ‘where do I begin?’ by new bloggers who know what they want to say, but who aren’t yet comfortable putting pencil to paper. So to speak.
I find that it helps to have a structural template standing by for those times when I’m having trouble getting my thoughts out in an organized manner. A structural format is an organized grouping of sections in a template form that will help you write the appropriate components at the appropriate times in order to lead your reader through the story in a way that is comprehensible. When you write in an organized way, your readers will better understand your point and are more likely to engage in your call to action.
The following structural template is a good one to get you started, and should help when you are stuck for what to write:
- Topic: Start with your topic and write it down in headline form. Each word capitalized. This will be the title of your post. Be sure to add a keyword or geographic location for SEO purposes.
- Introduction: Like introducing a friend at a party, set the reader’s understanding of your topic by giving a brief description. Make it exciting and try to appeal to the emotional level of your readers; don’t get technical at this point. Be aware of your reader’s level of knowledge and be careful not to talk down to them or over simplify. At the same time, you want to keep it simple, short and interesting.
- Problem Statement: Create a sense of urgency or importance for your reader by discussing the typical problem you are addressing. This, of course, assumes that you are talking about a product feature or service point, and that it solves a particular problem. Explain the problem briefly so that your readers can connect with you around a common concern.
- Solution: Now present the solution as provided by your product or service. Be clear and concise, you’ll be tempted to ramble on in this area, but this is the point at which you want to get straight to the point and keep it simple. Focus on the benefits to the customer, and avoid getting bogged down in technical detail.
- Details: Toward the end of your post it is appropriate to delve into a few technical details. Bear in mind that this is where you will probably lose some readers, so keep this as brief as possible, and extremely relevant. Use this section to explain how your product works, or how to use your product. Get into some detail, but keep it short.
- Summary: Wrap it up. Tie your solution to the problem and restate the solution in the shortest terms possible. Make a clean getaway and allow your readers to finish off on an up-beat.
- Call to action: Always present your readers with a next step. Invite them to contact you for more information at the very least, but try to make your call to action more compelling. Give them a reason to engage, or a link to another section of your blog for more information or a place to engage.
There are, of course, as many ways to write a post as there are people. And there is really no ‘right or wrong’ way to do it. You could easily adopt a standard letter-writing structure, or a short-story format. However, when writing for a business purpose online, I find it helps to stick with a standard and basic structure, especially when getting started.
If you would really just rather I read this post to you, subscribe to my weekly Business Blogger Tips Podcast on iTunes!