As a dietitian and copywriter, my writing has come a long way from the scientific, jargon-heavy snoozefest writing that I learned how to conjure up in school.
Was the writing accurate and perfectly cited? Yes.
Was it inspiring to the everyday reader? Heck no.
If you’re looking to improve your writing, be it a blog or copy on your website, here are the five things you need to know about writing articles to make them work harder for you and your business.
Begin with your ideal reader in mind
Who is it that you love working with, or who you dream about working with? In school, we tried to help everyone with our work. But in business, we need to be speaking to exactly one person: your ideal client.
A client with gestational diabetes has very different worries and needs than a parent trying to navigate feeding their child or a college track star. We can’t speak effectively to different groups of folks because what they need, what they’re worried about and the language that they use is all different.
A woman tracking her carbs and talking about carb exchanges isn’t speaking the same language as an athlete learning about carb loading and recovery snacks.
Using the right, inner circle language lets your reader know that you understand them, their worries, and are the right dietitian to help them.
Next most important topic? You’ve gotta learn some SEO.
Get to know SEO
SEO – search engine optimization – is the strategy involved in getting your website content in front of your target audience. It is something that is quick to cause fear and overwhelm, but I promise, if you can make it through the DICAS internship application and match process, you can conquer SEO.
SEO is kind of like playing board games (and full disclosure, I’m a mega board game nerd). You begin with Candy Land, learn some basics about board games, and then move on to Sorry, Monopoly, and Boggle. And if you’re ready to level up to uber-nerd: Agricola.
One of the most fundamental SEO strategies is to learn about keywords. Keywords are exactly the words and phrases that folks type into Google when they’re searching for answers. In order for a topic to help grow your business, you need to make sure that people are actually looking for that information.
Don’t waste your time writing content that no one is looking for: keyword research lets you know if a topic is worth your time and energy to cover it.
Once you have your keyword, here are 8 Places to Use Your Keyword within your blog project to get the most bang for your SEO buck.
Next up? Make that title really great.
Have a good title
What is the biggest deciding factor between someone opening up your blog post or continuing the scroll?
Make sure that your title is attention-grabbing and demonstrates value. This takes practice, of course, but there are a lot of tips rounded up in this blog post: How to Write a Great Blog Title & Grab Your Reader’s Attention.
Plus, if you’re a type-A dietitian looking for a way to score your efforts (I see you, gold-star seeker), the blog post above has a tool that you can use to rate how attention-grabbing your title is.
Tip: clear over cute. Don’t use a title if it has the potential to confuse your readers – they will be confused and then keep on scrolling. Dangit!
Next tip? Don’t try to mimic any other writer.
Sound like yourself
Writing can feel scary and vulnerable. We aren’t usually taught this kind of writing in school – we’re more focused on plowing through our textbooks and digesting the latest peer-reviewed studies. We are far more trained as scientists – which we are – than the businessmen and women we’d like to be.
Even if you admire plenty of other entrepreneurs, confidently keep in mind that your ideal audience wants to work with you. Don’t try to mimic anyone else’s style or catchphrases – your best writing sounds authentically like you.
Your own voice will take some practice to emerge – that’s 100% normal – but with time and practice, you’ll develop your own writing style.
Some of us are more casual than others. Some are more formal. Some love puns while others prefer to stick to the facts only, ma’am. There isn’t a right or wrong answer here: you being you is the best way for your ideal clients to find you.
And now: don’t blow the ending.
End with a CTA
As dietitians, we tend to be far more comfortable with teaching than in selling – yikes!
We want to help and coach and encourage and nurture.
(Which is totally great…I do too!)
But here’s the thing: if you just write a blog post with a whole-lotta information and then think that your ideal readers are going to just take the next step to work with you without a nudge, you’re gonna be disappointed.
(and brokity, broke, broke)
People hire help when they believe that they have found an expert that understands them and can help them. It typically takes several interactions before someone goes from “exploring” mode to “taking action” mode.
Having a blog reader join your email list is a great nudge forward towards becoming a client.
They’re not going to join your list if you end your blog post without the CTA to do so.
Asking your reader to book a discovery call is a wonderful way for them to get to know you, and for you to see if they’re the right fit for your business.
They need a nudge to book that, too.
Blogs are an excellent way to provide value and demonstrate your expertise. Don’t miss out on the chance to nudge them forward: end with a calm and confident CTA.
P.S. The only reason that you should feel icky about calmly and confidently asking your readers to take the next step forward is if you’re hawking a sleazy product or service. But since I know that you’re not – dietitians are ethical creatures – get on with your bad self and get that next client. Tell your readers what to do next.
Just publish. Don’t get stuck in overwhelm or perfectionism. Your readers are ready to see your content, to get to know you, and feel confident, excited, and relieved that you can help them.
No single blog post is going to make or break your business. But just like with nutrition, it is what you do most of the time that matters. Consistently showing up for your clients, providing value, and nudging them forward is how blogging and other writing can help your business to grow and grow.
If you’re finding that writing is taking you forever or feeling like something you dread doing, it could be that you need to set some boundaries around your time (I recommend no longer than 45 minutes of solid writing time at once), to have a better structure and some new knowledge so that you don’t feel so lost in the weeds.
Or: you just need some help with skill-building – I can help with that! I’ll be introducing you to my writing course in just a moment – stay tuned!
Key Takeaways: five things you need to know about writing articles
Just like staying on top of the literature for your own nutrition niche, writing is a skill set that is never done growing and evolving. The five things you need to know about writing articles covered here (plus a bonus) are a great place to start.
- Begin with your ideal reader in mind
- Get to know SEO
- Have a good title
- Sound like yourself
- End with a CTA
And the bonus tip? Just publish. A draft is not providing value to your audience and it is not helping your business to grow.
If you’re looking to grow your writing skills, so that you can effectively and efficiently connect with your readers, The Writing Course for Nutrition Professionals is just what the doctor ordered!
Not only does it cover copywriting magic tricks to more authentically and more confidently connect with your readers, but I also share tricks on how to stop wasting time writing and how to use SEO to make your blog posts perform better on Google.
What are you waiting for? Grab your seat, right here!
P.S. See that CTA? Gotcha! Everyone reads the PS!