What should your first blog post be about?

What should your first blog post be about? - The Cafe Wordsmith

You’ve decided to start a blog to market your products and services. You’ve created your site with Squarespace, Wix, WordPress, or some other program, and now it’s time to actually publish something.

You stare at the blank page with the default “Hello world!” title, wondering what the heck to write.

You might wonder, does your first blog post even matter?

How can you start things off on the right foot?

My answer: Your first post DOES matter, but it’s nothing to stress about. Chances are, not many people will even read your first post, at least not at first. Blogging is meant to build an audience, and if you have no audience, that first post might not get much love right away.

I don’t say this to discourage you, but to liberate you! This is your time to experiment. You don’t have to get it perfect right off the bat, and you can always update that post later.

But you have to start somewhere. I’ll walk you through it.

 

Before you start your blog, make sure you have a few other things in place.

Before we get into your first post, I want to make sure you have your two things first:

Your about page. I’ve seen bloggers treat their first post like an about page while their actual about page is pretty sparse. The problem with that is that your first post gets buried in your site pretty quickly and your about page lives on your main menu bar (at least it should!). This is the most visited page on your site, and it serves as an introduction to your readers and tells them what you’re about and how you can help them.

A goal for your first post. If you want to show potential clients that you know what you’re doing, point to your opt-in, or start educating your audience, that’s great! If your goal is just to publish something to get over the first post jitters, that’s totally fine too. When you know the purpose of your first post, it’s so much easier to write.

We’ll talk about your about page in another post, so let’s talk about your goal for your first post and how you can accomplish that.

 

Here’s What Your First Blog Post Should Be About

So what is your goal? What do you want your first post to accomplish? Write that down first. It usually comes down to three things:

You want to get clients

You want to point readers to an opt-in or paid product.

You just want to get it over with so you can stop freaking out about it.

If you’re looking for clients:

If your blog is serving as a portfolio, just jump right out of the gate with a post that shows off your knowledge and why your audience should work with you.

When I first started my business, this was my goal, so one of my first blog posts was 6 Blogging Tasks You Can Outsource. It’s general enough to educate my audience but also specific enough that I can be like “Hey, I can handle all these tasks for you!”

If you want sales or signups:

Your first post can point people to a product, service,  email list opt-in.

This might be your reader’s very first step in their journey with you, so talk about something that would logically lead to your opt-in or product. Ideally, your reader will read/love your post and want to learn more, so the next logical step should be to sign up for your list and get your freebie!

To get ideas, ask yourself what your reader might need to know before they can use your offering. You can also blog about the same topic that your offering covers.

For example, you’re probably here because you want to learn about blogging. One of my early posts was called 5 Types of Blog Posts That Get You Sales because I knew my ideal reader (that’s you!) is interested in blogging. So at the end of the post, I included a link to my blog post checklist to help them use what they learned in that post.

If you just want to post SOMETHING so you can stop losing sleep:

Another great approach is to write about a pillar of what you do. This could mean writing about why your topic is important and how it can help your audience (i.e. Why Your Business Needs a Blog.)

So what is the basis of what you do? Are you a virtual assistant? A social media manager? An OBM? A health coach? Do you make personalized, handmade jewelry?

Write about what you do and how it can help your audience.

Examples: 

“Why personalized jewelry is the perfect gift.”

“Why hiring a health coach is the next step in your fitness journey.”

“How an OBM can take your business to the next level.”

Think something basic and powerful that teaches your audience what you do and how you can help them, but also educates them. That way, they can walk away with something of value even if they’re not ready to click “buy” yet.

The nice part about having a strong foundational article like this is that you can always refer back to it and link to it in other posts!

The main thing with a first blog post is to get over the fear of the blank page. It doesn’t have to win a Pulitzer. Do your best, but don’t get so stuck in your head that you don’t publish anything. And remember, you can always edit it later!

 

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A Copywriter’s Top Writing Tips for Bloggers

WRITING TIPS FOR BLOGGERS

Blogging and copywriting have a lot in common.

They’re both meant to grab readers’ attention, entertain, educate, and, at some point, convert readers into fans.

Sometimes we talk so much about blogging strategy and techy stuff that we forget that the foundation of blogging is actually writing!

I’m a writer who learned to blog and write sales copy, so I want to share some of my favorite writing tips for bloggers. Some of these will work whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, or blog posts, and others are more specific to blogging and copywriting.

Here we go!

My Favorite Writing Tips for Bloggers

Speak directly to your reader

Take one: If we use the words “we” or “us” a lot, it’s easy for our readers to disconnect from our writing. We want our readers to feel like we’re talking to them!

Let’s try that again.

Take two: If you use the words “we” or “us” a lot, it’s easy for your readers to disconnect from your writing. You want your readers to feel like you’re talking to them!

See the difference? That second one felt like I was talking to you, right?

If it makes sense, use “you” and “your” instead of “you guys,” “you all,” “we,” “us,” or the super formal/pretentious “one,” as in, “If one uses the words ‘we’ and ‘us’….” see what I mean?

Change the order

If you’re writing something that just isn’t flowing or making sense, try moving sentences or paragraphs around. So much of writing and editing is just organization!

Even if it doesn’t make sense, try switching up the order just to see if it flows better.

Embrace the crap draft

That’s what I call the very first draft of anything, because, let’s be honest, that’s what it usually is.

I also call the very first draft the “dump draft” because you’re just dumping ideas onto the page. Worry about organization and mechanics and stuff later.

I recently wrote a post about this. Spoiler: editing while you’re drafting will only slow you down, and I promise it won’t make your writing any better.

In fact, it might make your writing WORSE because you’re writing with lots of inhibitions, which can block some good stuff.

Have you ever heard the saying “Write drunk, edit sober?”

This quote is often misattributed to Ernest Hemingway, and I’m not sure where it actually came from, but there’s a little truth to that.

I’m not saying you should down a few margaritas before drafting your posts, (I’ve tried it and doesn’t actually work that well. Shocker, right?), but the point is, don’t censor yourself while you’re drafting.

Trust me, the first draft of this post was a mess. I set a timer for 15 minutes and dumped the whole thing in one go, and I think it’s a lot more interesting because of it.

Keep everything

When you’re editing, you’re going to have to cut some sentences, paragraphs, and even whole sections from your post.

When you’re drafting, you’ll probably go off on tangents and write some stuff that just doesn’t make sense for the final post. And that’s okay!

But that doesn’t mean that stuff is bad. It just means it didn’t fit the post.

When I’m editing, I keep another document open to paste anything I delete from my draft. (I do this for non-fiction, blogging, and fiction writing, by the way.)

Those other bits might be great kick-off points for a new post, a social media update, or to include somewhere else.

Knowing that you’re not losing anything will also sharpen your editing skills because you won’t be so attached to those bits. They’re not gone forever, they’re just getting recycled!

The passive voice is to be avoided

That heading was super lame, right? It just sounded…weak and floppy.

How about this: Avoid the passive voice.

Better, right?

You probably learned about passive voice in your school English classes, but here’s a quick refresher: Passive voice is boring, stiff, and formal. Active voice gets our attention.

In active voice, the thing that does the action (AKA the subject) is named or at least implied, and it comes BEFORE the verb (the action) in the sentence. In “Avoid the passive voice,” you’re the one doing the action. I could also say “You avoid the passive voice.”

In “The passive voice is to be avoided,” we don’t know who the doer is. Who is to avoid the passive voice?

Here’s another example: 

The dog ate my homework.

This is active voice because we know who or what is performing the action in this sentence (the dog) and the subject (also the dog) comes BEFORE the verb (ate) in the sentence.

Let’s switch that to passive voice: 

My homework was eaten by the dog.

The subject comes after the verb. Not as punchy, right?

Passive voice can come in handy if we don’t know who or what is performing the action (As in “The door was painted red”). Otherwise, it’s just flimsy writing.

Only use the passive voice if the doer is unknown or unnecessary.

Here’s an in-depth lesson on passive voice and when not to use it.

I hope this was helpful!

 

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