I hear the same thing over and over again: I Don’t Wannnnnaaaa Wriiiite!
Ok – so maybe they’re not a bunch of whiney-guts like that, but when I talk to clients about writing a blog for their business, their first concern is often this: “I Can’t Write!”
My response is always, “YES YOU CAN! Just let yourself be a beginner first, Madame Perfection-Pants McGee. Nobody is an expert at everything the first time they try it – not even you.”
But I know. Maybe writing is your pain-spot, and you simply want to avoid it sometimes. I hear you guys! I do!
I won’t stop trying to help you overcome the stress you have about writing, and I won’t let you say that you simply can’t do it – Everyone has a Voice – BUT I will offer you a few ways to get around that scary writing monster occasionally while still giving your readers great content that will keep them coming back.
Sooooo here we go – 5 Ways to give your readers great content, and avoid writing:
These lovely little babies are a great way to translate useful information into a fun, pleasing and highly sharable piece of visual content for your readers.
Basically, these graphics have visual graphs, charts, cartoons and text – all together in a pleasing design – using your font and colour palette too, please – and related specifically to your monthly message or theme.
You can make them with most basic word processing software if you don’t have Illustrator or Photoshop to use, or you can make them online with different free apps. Explore the possibilities, friends, and enjoy yourself.
An Infographic may not work for a blog post without any writing at all – I would suggest a clear intro, explaining and introducing the information in the graphic – but it’ll pack a fancy little punch for your readers who are (like all of us) drawn in by a visual.Peppering your editorial calendar with well made infographics for each of your monthly messages is a great way to appeal to the visual readers you want to inspire.
I’ve used infographics in business plans, brochures, presentations and even birthday cards (A Cute Graph of “All of the Gifts I’d Give You if I Could” – including the power of invisibility and the moon), and they are definitely a fun way to engage a person, and get your point across.
Make sure – as always – that you are offering quality information, entertainment and/or inspiration that will lead your readers to trust you and your product or service. Your gimmick should never be cooler than your actual content, so make sure you work on the content too.
<– I used this Infographic (click on it for a larger view), from ContentPlus, in a presentation, to explain how the whole Education/Inbound/Content Marketing thing works. And it worked 🙂
Click to Tweet: Images are fun and effective on your blog, but don’t spend more time on the gimmick than the content!
2. What I’m Working on Now – Picture Posts
So you’re not a graphic designer, and you are even more frightened of trying that Infographic thing than you are of filling the white, blank page with words?
I Got You! Here is another option: Show your readers what you’re excited about right now. What are you working on in your studio, or classroom, or any other where-you-create-your-stuff space you use.
Take pictures while you’re shopping for supplies; pile your beautiful creations in a pleasing way; style a scene using your products, or have some images of what you imagine your creations will be like.
This is a fantastic way to get your readers excited about an upcoming line you are designing, a workshop you are making cool printables for, a giveaway you are putting into fancy envelopes to send out – whatever you’re excited about.
Be creative and translate your excitement into a visual story. Take your time with the images, and style them to match the tone and brand of your blog. If the images are the main attraction, they better be beautiful, buddy!
April Bowles Olin and Mayi Carles (my biggest internet-business-girl crushes) sent out a gorgeous photo of super-cool treat packages they are mailing out to their “League of Supers” members from last year, and I love them!
They are (as usual) being super smart about it too, because they are getting all of us who weren’t members last year really excited about joining this year – just in time for their July launch of their next Connecting the Gaps project.
I’m SO excited!!
That means they used this image perfectly. Take note.
Step by step – oooo baby!
If you didn’t just jump up and start singing along in a falsetto voice, I am old. And sad. But not that sad, because this is a great way to offer SUPER high quality content that will inspire trust and loyalty in your readers’ happy hearts. It’s a great way for you to show your readers that you really know your stuff, and to teach them an actual skill. AWESOME!
- Make sure you do it in a nice step by step format and tell them outright how many steps there will be ahead of time.
- Include a list of materials and tools first, so they can check to see if they need to pick up any sparkly washi tape before beginning (always more washi!)
- Take clear pictures (or video) of each step, captioned with a clear one-liner that explains the process or outcome of each step.
- Finish off with a beautiful photo of the finished product.
- Add a nice bulleted list of overall or general tips.
“Oh!” you say. “Like you just did, Kris?” “Why, yes, my friend! That was a great example of a list of general tips. You are so clever for noticing!” See what I did there? Moving on!
4. List Posts
Duh duh duuuuuhhhhhhh – THE! LIST! POST! – Ost Ost ost…ost…st
That was dramatic. But it had to be, because this is the grand daddy of blog posts right here, my loves.
List posts are everywhere, and for good reason: they are effective, sharable and require a lot less heavy lifting for your typing fingers than other types of written posts. There will still be some writing involved, I know, but you don’t need to do any complicated word-smithery like you would with a big narrative or a researched article, and there are certain types of list posts that require even less writing than the norm:
- Helpful Haves – Create a list of tools you like to have around the studio or office, that help you to do your work, and might be helpful to your readers too. Include images and link out to places where your readers can purchase the resources…including your own shop, right? Just make sure that your links open a new window, so that you don’t lose your reader to a link bunny trail.
- Favourites or Roundups from the web – Keep an Evernote notebook of your favourites from around the web – in relation to this month’s message – and create a lovely favourites page of those images. Link with a new window again, and let the other bloggers know that you have featured them. This is a nice way to make connections in your community, and they’ll likely check you out in response.
- Dos and Don’ts – Make it simple, and make it applicable. Think of a time your readers might ask your advice or search online for quick information because they are nervous about this big thing they are about to do. Then think of the best 5 pieces of advice you would give them: things you learned from experience. For Keyboards and Kickstands, I might write a Dos and Don’ts list for people who are just about to start a Blog. This kind of simple and trustworthy advice in times of stress and worry are an excellent way for you to offer quality to your readers, and you only need to write a few clear sentences for each piece of advice.
5. Partner up and Trade
This last way to get out of writing is a little bit of a cheat, but not really, because you are offering up a new voice to your readers, and you’re sharing yours with a new audience, so it’s a GREAT idea, even if you love writing like it’s chocolate cake.
Look around your strategic partners – either locally or online – and see if there is something you can offer their audience in return for them writing a specific guest post for your blog.
If you are a wedding photographer, you could offer some beautiful advice on photographing flowers for the readers of a partnering floral studio’s blog, in return for a written post about how your clients could pick the best flowers for their big day on your blog.Tradesies!
You can share the workload and offer really wonderful content that covers a wider range of information, opens up your own blog to new people, and solidifies a lovely partnership with another professional in your niche. This is a win, win, win, win…did I miss a win? There’s lots of winning, anyway.
There are lots of ways to get out of hurting yourself, and there are approximately ZERO excuses for not sharing your Voice. So quit trying to hide, and let your Voice out!
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What do you think? The content is still super important, obviously, because you still have to offer great value to your readers, or else: CLICK! They’re gone.
These are not freebie-no-work ideas, but they are a little bit easier to tackle if the words and the blank page scare your heart into I’m-going-to-give-up-and-run-away mode, and they will offer good quality information to your readers to keep them coming back to hang out with you again.
Join in the conversation below: could you try one of these lean-writing posts on your blog? If so, which kind would you like to try?
Remember to Share, Like, Pin and all that lovely social goodness, in case you know someone else who wants to put the pen down, and stop writing for a day.
See you next Tuesday!
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You mad? Excited? Have a perspective to share? Please do!
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This is such a great and useful blog. Glad I found it and thanks for sharing. I always wondered how people made InfoGraphics!!!
Thanks Joselyn! I’m really glad you found Keyboards and Kickstands too. Come back every Tuesday for more Tips, or sign up to get news updates from me every Tuesday (Find the green box at the top right hand corner of this page). I’d love to see you again next week!
Tuesdays are becoming my favourite day of the week! Love your blog posts.
If I were to have a blog (it’s the commitment more than the writing!), I do think I would enjoy writing the how-tos and lists most, even though I never pass up reading a good infographic and LOVE looking at beautiful pictures (Yorke Photography, I’m looking at you!).
What’s your favourite?
You simply HAVE to start a blog. Even if it were just a series of how-to lists and internet-fave roundups – you would make the sweetest blog. I’m convinced of it.
I’m a huge fan of a good info graphic, and I love Chera’s photos too, but I’m starting to really enjoy video posts, to be honest. I’m thinking about trying that out this year sometime.
Want to come over to the office and shoot hilarity on my iPhone together?