Writing business blogs can sometimes feel like washing up – a time-consuming chore and a distraction from more important things.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Firstly a well-managed blog can become a central part of your business, attracting customers and keeping them engaged. Businesses with blogs attract 55% more traffic than those without, and have 434% more chance of being found in searches (Hubspot 2010).
So it IS important. And it needn’t be a chore. With the right approach, you could soon be creating fun, engaging and creative blogs that provide real value to your customers, and that you just might enjoy writing along the way.
Here are six tips to do just that.
1. First impressions count
Headline, lead image and opening paragraph are the holy trinity of blog posts, or any online article.
According to Copyblogger, 80% of people will read a headline while only 20% will actually read the post. To convert more of those browsers into avid readers, you need something to hook them in. Try to keep it simple short and punchy as well as addressing the question or problem you will be tackling.
Questions are very good at pulling readers in because they demand an answer. They’re also good for SEO because they tap into what people type into search engines. If someone is having DIY problems with a lightbulb, they’re likely to type something like “how do you change a lightbulb?” or “how to change a lightbulb”. If your blog post is titled “How to change a lightbulb – 5 easy tips”, it has a strong chance of popping up high on the rankings for this search.
Notice also that there is a number in this headline. That’s because research shows that numbers catch readers’ eyes when scanning the web for information.
The lead picture works in tandem with the headline to pull the reader in and involve them emotionally. Use something that is relevant to the post but also which has some kind of emotional value. So if you’re blogging about how to succeed in marketing, you could use a picture that expresses joy or celebration. It’s always good to include a human face as nothing in the world expresses emotion better.
The third element in the holy trinity is the opening paragraph. Use it to identify the problem you are going to solve and give a very brief outline of how. In the opening paragraphs of this blog I pointed out the issues of blog writing in an emotive way that busy business people can identify with. Then I reassured them that there was a solution and told them I would provide it in an easily digestible way.
2. Keep it Personal
Tone is very important in a blog post. You want to keep it personal, informal and full of your personality. Don’t be afraid to include humour and slang but steer clear of technical jargon and corporate speak. Make it easy to read by breaking up the structure with subheadings, pulled out quotes and pictures or infographics.
Keep paragraphs short and don’t forget you are addressing a real person, a real person who is interested enough to have got this far. How would you explain what you’re trying to say to them if you were sat over a hot drink in a local coffee shop?
Being personal is more than just finding your own voice. It’s about finding your unique perspective on what you are writing. There is something about you and your position in the world that gives you a uniquely-placed view on your topic. Finding that and expressing it will make your blog sing and, more importantly, stand out from all the others.
3. Let the Outside In
Like people, no blog is an island. Modern SEO is about interacting with the rest of the internet, so you need to make sure your post is properly hooked up. Links aren’t just for reference, they are an integral part of SEO, launching your blog up the rankings. So where you refer to another blog, article or piece of research, include the link.
And don’t forget to include share buttons to the most popular social media sites. What’s the point in writing the best blog post ever if no one can share it?
A picture or infographic tells a thousand words so use them. They help keep the reader engaged and they also help to break up the text, making your post more readable. But make sure they are relevant and that they support the emotional tone of your post. There are now lots of online sources for copyright-free pictures. Some to try are –
4. End With a Bang Not a Whimper
The end is just as important as the beginning. You want your customers to leave feeling satisfied, like they have just learned something of real value. Make your ending punchy and memorable by all means, but more important than gimmicky endings is to make sure you have achieved what you set out to.
Did you answer the question you promised at the beginning? If not, you need to go back and work on the body some more. If you’re sure you have, then remind the reader of this, perhaps with a brief recap.
You might also try to keep the reader engaged with a call to action. This might be an invitation to comment or it might be a series of links to other posts on similar topics.
If you can get readers to remain on your website, that’s great. But don’t forget, if you have answered a question, solved a problem or given them something of real value, it doesn’t matter if they don’t click that next link. They will remember you as a trusted source of information and advice for next time.
5. Keep it Up
Don’t start a blog if you’re not going to keep it up. There’s nothing more pointless than a blog that tails off into obscurity after a few weeks. Or one that starts strongly with a post or two a week then becomes erratic with gaps here and there as other priorities take over. Consistency is key if you want to build up a loyal following.
Planning a long term strategy is crucial before you start writing. Make a content calendar, perhaps based around key dates in your industry. This will keep your content relevant as well as making sure you never run out of things to write about.
If the responsibility might become too much for one person, think about spreading the writing among members of staff, getting them to offer their unique perspective on aspects of the business. You could also invite guest bloggers to contribute or even farm posts out to professional business blogging services. Just make sure it doesn’t die a quiet and slightly embarrassing death.
So don’t worry. If you follow these tips blog writing will soon become natural, fun and – more importantly – good for business.
Good luck! I’m off to do the washing up…Did you know that business websites with blogs attract more traffic than those without? Click To Tweet