Look, very few of us in this world are ever going to be Shakespeare or Hemingway.
The good news is, you don’t have to be to blog about your building materials.
Last week, we talked about finding topics to write about in order to promote your products or services. That’s one of the first, most critical steps in creating a successful brand in today’s digital world, followed closely by the act of actually writing the thing.
But what if you have no writing experience at all?
I understand the hesitation. If you’ve been manufacturing tiles or windows or flooring materials for the majority of your career, you might not have much experience in putting pen to paper creatively. Plus, if you run your own business from top to bottom, time can be a scarce and precious commodity.
Luckily, all blogging takes is a little bit of discipline and a reliable format to follow.
Let’s explore some methods to make your blogging process go smoothly and quickly!
Types Of Blog Posts
“Think like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people.” —William Butler Yeats
As we’ve said a few times on this very same blog, the purpose of effective inbound marketing is to educate people and solve their problems. Your building materials blog is the perfect place to do this, and there are a few different formats through which you can do it.
1. Instructional/How-To Posts
In the context of building materials, this will probably be the most effective type of post you can write. These posts can include subjects like:
- How to install your type of product
- How to use your type of product to fix something
- How to shop for your type of product
- How to get the most out of your type of product
Step-by-step instructions work particularly well for this type of blog post, perhaps punctuated by photos of each step to make it as easy to understand as possible.
2. Anecdotal Lesson Posts
If you’ve been in the business for a long time, you’ve probably learned a lot, met a lot of people, and helped a lot of customers solve some pretty complex problems.
So blog about it!
These posts are great for a few reasons. One, people like to know they’re not alone in their issues. Two, if you successfully helped someone, it gives the reader an idea of how to solve their own problem. And three, it makes you look like a hero—and that’s never a bad thing.
3. List/ Round-Up Posts
I’m sure you’ve noticed that a LOT of blog posts out there these days (including this one) utilize a list format to break down certain topics. These types of posts can include:
- Lists of your favorite products or brands
- Great examples of people using your product
- News and relevant tips from around the Web
- Pros and cons lists
- “Reasons why you should ______”
- Any information that can be broken down easily
This type of post works because the format works for readers. The bite-sized chunks of information are easier to digest, and clearly defined headlines make skimming for answers much faster.
4. Influencer Posts
If you’re in an industry that allows you to partner with other brands and leverage cross-promotion, your blog is a great place to deepen those connections and educate your audience.
A great way to do this is by interviewing other influencers in your field. This helps you abide by the cocktail party rule of content marketing (i.e. don’t only ever talk about yourself), plus it can give your visitors a fresh perspective on a topic you might have already covered.
Another benefit? Once you publish the post, you can encourage the interviewee to share it with their own following, which can bring in new traffic that might not have otherwise come to your site! (But we’ll get into promoting your posts in the next installment.)
Structuring Your Blog Post
“Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.” —Ernest Hemingway
Much like a house or a building relies on blueprints so the builders know where everything goes, a good blog post follows a reliable format so readers know how to digest it.
Your average blog post usually comprises the following sections:
The title of your post, obviously. Generally, shorter is better for both display in Google search results and catching people’s attention. While you want to avoid clickbait (“You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!”), you should use language that will invoke emotion and curiosity.
In traditional journalism, the first few paragraphs of a story contain the most important information. In contemporary blogging, they more often contain a hook that makes people want to keep reading. This where you present the problem and how you’re going to solve it.
3. Body/Key Points
Once you set the stage for your wisdom, it’s time to deliver! As mentioned before, posts broken up into digestible chunks with clear headings are the easiest for readers to follow. You can also include imagery in the body of your post as well to break it up visually.
Tie it all together. This is a good space to neatly recap all the truth bombs you just dropped and an even better place to explain what comes next. That can mean setting the stage for your next blog post or giving the reader a specific action to take, better known as the call to action.
5. Call To Action
Whether it’s a simple text link or a big ol’ fancy banner, give your reader something to click on that will take them to the next step. That could mean a landing page to download more information on the topic at hand, showing them products related to the information you just gave them, or a form to contact you for a quote or consultation.
Proofreading Your Blog Post
“There are 2 typos of people in this world: Those who can edit and those who can’t.” —Jarod Kintz
At this point in the process, you’ve done all your homework regarding topics to blog about. You’ve locked yourself in your office once a day for several days to work on your post, and you’ve constructed what you think is a masterpiece. So you’re ready to post, right?
Slow your roll there, Kerouac.
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of companies make is publishing sloppy, unpolished content.
Now, I know that not everyone is a grammar snob like me, but this isn’t just a snooty little academic pet peeve. Consumers do notice mistakes, and they will absorb them into their overall impression of your brand.
If your blog posts are sloppy, full of typos, and borderline nonsensical, they’re going to view you as unprofessional.
Luckily for you, Microsoft Word and even the free word processors out there have powerful native proofreading tools. You can also add an extension like Grammarly to your browser (if you write your posts directly in your CMS) to cover your ass while you type.
For every blog post, you should always:
- Check your spelling, especially for technical language.
- Check your grammar, especially your punctuation.
- Check your SEO to ensure your post is keyword-optimized.
Once you’ve cleaned up your text, read the post out loud to yourself.
Yes, I’m totally serious.
You might feel like an idiot doing this at first, but it’s a surefire way to find any sentences that don’t make sense or are awkward to read. Plus, if you get bored reading it to yourself, you’ll know that it will be boring to your readers.
Finding The Time To Blog
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.” —William B. Sprague
As someone who comes from a creative writing background, I’ll be the first to admit that sitting down to write on a regular basis can suck.
Sure, it’s great when inspiration suddenly strikes and you’re overflowing with so many ideas that you can’t type fast enough to keep up with your brain. But when you need to stick to a consistent blogging schedule every week—and seriously, keeping up a consistent frequency is key—you can’t always wait around for those lightbulb moments.
Discipline is key when it comes to blogging. This isn’t a vanity project—it’s a business tactic. If you want to be regarded as the expert in your field, you must dedicate yourself to it.
Make Appointments With Yourself
Just as you may carve out time in your weekly calendar for meetings and appointments, you should try to dedicate time in your schedule to sit down and work on your blog posts.
I recommend actually putting it in your calendar and turning off as many distractions as possible during this time. This means no email, no social media, and maybe even no phone calls. If you have your own office, close the door. Put on some music. Whatever it takes to get you in the zone and keep you there, do it!
Start off small. If you can block out at least two hours in a week for writing, you can get more accomplished than you’d think.
“Ugh, Jess,” I can hear you grumble. “I never have two free consecutive hours to do anything!”
Okay, fair enough. Break it out into one-hour or half-hour intervals then. Heck, even 15 minutes here and there is better than nothing!
In the end, it’s not about how much time you set aside—just the act of consciously cordoning off this time will help you write more efficiently each week.
Remember: It Doesn’t Have To Be Shakespeare
“If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.” —Margaret Atwood
One of the most common problems people have when starting a blog is getting over the expectation that it must be literary gold every single time.
Yes, the content on your building materials website is a reflection of your brand, so you should definitely take the time to proofread and ensure that it all makes sense. But your readers aren’t coming to your blog to read flowery prose—they want to learn something!
The whole point of content marketing is to solve people’s problems and establish yourself as the expert. So, before you write a single word, ask yourself: “How can I help?”
If you can answer a customer’s question face-to-face, chances are, you can answer it in writing.
The next step, of course, is figure out how to get these blog posts you’ve slaved over in front of actual human eyeballs. In today’s oversaturated digital world, “if you build it, they will come” no longer applies. So that’s what we’ll focus on in our next post: distribution.