There is a really short answer to this question – yes! Or the slightly longer answer – absolutely!
I love to read (unsurprisingly!) and just like the oft repeated tips for becoming a better author, should you wish to write your own book, the best way to become a better writer is to read more. It is like any skill…the more you do of something and the more time you take to understand the area – the tricks, the shortcuts, the heroes and the baddies – the better you will be come when doing it yourself.
Let’s explore a bit more about what to read and why…
Share your target audience experience
My first recommendation is that you read blogs that your target audience might read. Hang out where they hang out. These blogs don’t have to be from the same profession or the same style as your own, but it is interesting to see what your ideal client might be reading, where they go for information and what their interests are more generally. You’ll get a better sense of the tone they enjoy and the frequency and length of what they read. Lifestyle and magazine style blogs and articles are a good place to start or think of complementary businesses to your own. For example, I read blogs and articles written by web designers, graphic designers and also virtual assistants (VAs) as they all share similar clients to mine and offer similar style support services.
Also consider blogs which have similar tags via WordPress or perhaps Medium or Blogger that you use on your blog. Who is writing and what are they writing about that your target audience can easily find and could be reading too?
Read competitor blogs
It is really important that you know your competitors and you read your competitors’ blogs. Think about the big brands in your industry. They are indirect competitors but they are likely to lead trends and share innovative thoughts or research. Read also your as direct, smaller and local competitors. Take a look at what they are blogging about and what areas they focus on. This is not to copy ideas – it is to help yours standout, help you understand the USP of your own blogs and to identify gaps in the market.
Read for pleasure
Forget your business for a moment and find some blogs that you simply enjoy or find really interesting. Being an avid reader of a few blogs will naturally help your writing style. You reflect the styles you feel most drawn too. Reading makes you a better writer and it is nice to read something you enjoy. You will feel inspired by bloggers you admire and, in turn, you are supporting a fellow blogger.
Now…Analyse the blog content and style
By reading a broad range of blogs, you can start to analyse your own blog, by comparison. You can evaluate what you like about others’ blogs and what seems to draw you in. You can consider which blogs you get drawn back to or that you commit to read regularly and which ones you don’t. Then consider why – is it the frequency – too little or too much? Is it the length of the posts – too long or not enough depth? Is it the style – too formal, too informal, too negative?
What lessons can you take from this analysis for your writing?
Assess blog visibility
Think about how you ‘find’ the blogs you end up reading. Is it always through a direct visit to the website and then the blog page? Do you subscribe to blogs (or if you decide to following reading this), do you then read a blog every time you see a notification or if you get an email in your inbox? If you don’t and you keep ignoring a certain blog, think about why and what it is about the ‘message’ that isn’t hooking you in. Are you finding interesting blogs via social media posts?
By considering this, you can analyse how potential clients may find your blog. If you rely on search engines to help people find your blog, are your keywords working hard for you and have you done everything you can to optimise your content. If you have a group of loyal subscribers, are you emailing them regularly and creating quality notifications and also hooks to get them to return to every post.
If you advertise posts on social media and get a lot of traffic that way – are you taking full advantage of this? Are you posting at the right time of day and frequently enough about your blog? Are you posting on the right platform too? Again, compare blogs similar to yours and consider if you are doing all you can to get your blog posts in front of readers.
Read Blogs. Support Bloggers
At the end of the day, most bloggers are just trying to share a passion, educate their readers and, if it is a business blog, promote their company. By reading lots of blog posts, commenting on them (if appropriate) and giving a good qualitt post a like (or even better, a share) you are supporting that blogger. I believe in karma so ‘share the love’ and perhaps it will also come your way….and, in the meantime, just by reading a broad range of blogs I assure you your writting will improve and ideas will start to come flooding in.