Now that business blogging has become a new staple of marketing, a lot of small business owners are considering launching their own.
But without a background in writing, some might hesitate. After all, writing is intimidating to a lot of people.
This leads to the question: do you need to be a “writer” in order to blog?
The Fear of the Red Pen
A lot of us have been raised to view writing as scary, if not downright terrifying. We’re worried that a grim-faced English teacher lurks in the shadows waiting to pounce on our draft with a vicious red pen.
In high school, writing was about endless rules. Grammar rules, syntax rules, usage rules, and punctuation rules were hammered into us - and our grades hinged on whether we got them right or wrong.
In the real world, there are no English teachers or red pens out to get us. But a lot of people are still intimidated by all the picky writing rules, and that fear can prevent them from trying to blog.
Here’s the Good News
Blogging is not like the writing you learned in high school.
When you blog, your primary focus is communicating, not following rules. You aim to share stories and information with your audience. Blogging is the tool that lets your unique voice be heard.
Grammar and punctuation only exist to help us communicate clearly. In her interview on How They Blog, author and writing professor Denise Hughes compares grammar and punctuation to a sound system.
When we listen to someone speaking through a sound system, we think about what they’re saying, and we don’t notice the microphone and speakers.
Grammar and punctuation should be the same way. Their purpose is to help convey your message to your audience. Beyond that, they should be invisible to your readers.
Remember: a comma never changed anyone’s life.
Your blog is supposed to help you connect and communicate with your readers. As long as you’re doing that, you’re on the right track.
So, Do I Have to be a Writer?
You don’t have to be the next great American novelist in order to create an effective blog for your business. You just have to be committed to clear communication. So be confident and don’t get hung up on little writing rules.
As you begin to blog, here are three key tips to keep in mind:
Don’t try to sound like anyone else. Focus on developing your unique voice and telling the stories that set you apart.
Understand your customers and speak to their questions, needs, and concerns.
One fantastic resource to help you get your blog off the ground is our kit, “Business Blogging 101.” It’s perfect for the first time blogger and helps answer a lot of basic questions. If you already have a blog and want to take it to the next level, check out our Blog Optimization Tool Kit.