One of the things we hear a lot is “it’s easy for you to write a blog, you’re a writer. I work in IT/law/accountancy – I couldn’t possibly do it.”
So, as part of our series of articles to help you write better content, we’re handing over to our friend Chris who writes a very successful blog, and who works in financial advice . We hope this inspires you and demonstrates the real benefits of blog writing, whatever profession you are in.
Chris Budd is the MD of Ovation Finance and a keen blogger. In this guest post Chris shares the story of his blog, and the rules he follows to keep his writing on track. It’s bringing him great results as you’ll see.
Chris’ blogging story
“I started blogging three years ago, because I liked the idea of writing a blog, not with any great business objective in mind. However the benefits to the business have become very clear. Blogging certainly raises your profile. My blog articles have had over 20,000 views, and have led to me being asked to speak at industry events, which leads to more work.
I know this has won us clients directly too. There’s one high profile client in particular who got in touch after he read a blog I’d shared on the morals and ethics of the financial advice world. And that one client has opened the door to several more. Writing about ideas and sharing them via a blog online certainly works for me.”
Chris’ thoughts on what to write and how to write it
“Writing interesting content can seem daunting. It doesn’t need to be.
There are many other excellent blogs on how to find great content, and the importance of doing so. In this blog, therefore, I’d like to offer some thoughts on the words themselves.
The title of the blog is a lovely line from author Neil Gaiman. If you’ve not seen it before, watch this amazing speech he gave to some art students. His underlying message – Make Good Art – could equally be applied to writing.”
Rules for writing
“I follow a few basic rules whether I’m writing blogs or fiction, but they have one overriding principle in common – be yourself.
- Don’t force it. If you’ve nothing to say, don’t speak. A rule that could be applied a little more often on social media, I reckon.
- Write about something you are passionate about. Ever had a conversation with someone who looks and sounds bored? Boring, isn’t it. It’s much easier to sound interesting when you are interested.
- Don’t try too hard to be funny. For me, this is the curse of the amateur blog. Being funny or witty is incredible difficult if it doesn’t come naturally, and it’s really not necessary.
- Talk to me. Imagine you are talking to a friend as you write. This helps the language to remain simple, which in turns helps clarify the point you are trying to make. But…
- Don’t refer to yourself too often. Self deprecating doesn’t really work in print, it just detracts from the point.
- Be positive. Tell us something we don’t know, share an observation that may not have occurred to us. But DON’T whinge. There’s nothing more boring than a moaner.
- Leave it. Write something, then go back to it later after you’ve done something else.
- Review it. Before you read your blog again, ask yourself what point you were trying to make? Did you succeed?
- Less is more. Is there anything you can cut out that takes away from your point?
- Take the pith. Keep it short and snappy. Blogs are everywhere these days, so try following this basic format:
- Get their attention (headline)
- Make your point quickly
- Conclude, perhaps with a call to action
- Get the hell out of there”
Inspiration from the experts to pin to your wall
“Two quotes from the experts to finish with that I have pinned on my wall and refer to often when I am writing. The first is from Elmore Leonard:
“Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.”
What do you skip when you read a blog? If you don’t like it, chances are others won’t like it either. So leave it out.
The second is from French philosopher Blaise Pascal, who said:
“My apologies for writing a long letter, but I did not have time to write a short one.”
A good blog is short, to the point, and elicits a reaction. It takes time to whittle thoughts down to their real meaning, so don’t be in a hurry.”
Chris Budd is Managing Director of financial planning company Ovation Finance Ltd. He is also a qualified business coach. He published his first novel, A Bridge Of Straw, in 2013 and blogs extensively on these sites plus The Adviser Lounge.
Do let Chris know if these tips are useful. He’d love to hear your thoughts and is happy to answer any questions. Cheers Chris!