So you’re blogging. Awesome. Once you’ve gotten the hang of managing a business blog, it’s time to start asking yourself the tough questions. Like is your business blog readable? Is it attracting positive attention – heck, is it worthy of attention? Is it useful? Accurate? Purposeful? Persuasive? In other words, does your company’s blog rock? Yes, we’re asking you to ask yourself the tough questions because there’s no such thing as successful business blogging without introspection.
The fact is, the importance of regular infusions of content cannot be overstated. Not just any old content, however. We’re talking top quality, original content that positions you – or the persona of your business – as a thought leader in your industry. You need to be creating and sharing content that is, at the very least:
- Free from errors
- Posted regularly
- Leveraged across all platforms
We would love to assume that you’re doing all that and more on your business blog, but we’ve looked at enough company blogs to know that too many otherwise awesome businesses are failing themselves and their customers by scrimping on content development. What else should you be doing, right now, to maximize the return you get for your content creation efforts – particularly on your business blog? How about:
1. Thinking critically about your real intended audience and what they want to read. Which might be different from what you and your colleagues like to read. Facts and figures can be interesting but probably aren’t going to cut it these days unless interspersed with a whole lot of meaningful stories that actually engage your audience.
2. Sharing your expertise passionately while putting a real face on your company. We’re not saying it has to be your face – we get that some folks have a face perfect for radio – but it should be someone real vs. a stock image. Maybe your partner has a great headshot. Or the marketing manager. Whoever it is, your blog is going to get a lot more attention if it is, or at least appears to be, written by a real person. Hello, AuthorRank!
3. Is that a wall of text we see? Cut it or break it up with pictures and charts. Give people something to look at so they can take a break from all that reading every few paragraphs or so. Infographics and infodoodles can punctuate your point and give your audience something fun to share with their friends on Facebook.
4. Address the reader. Use the active voice. Throw in a few lists. Pretend you’re writing directly to your favorite client – though stop short of addressing every other sentence to Jim personally. Don’t be boring. On the other hand, don’t try to be too clever, either. Keep it real.
5. Stop blogging for SEO and start blogging because you legitimately want to share what you have learned over the years. Blogging for SEO used to be the way to go, but now we all know the marketing tricks and seeing all those obvious keywords is just plain annoying. If you really want to get your blog noticed – and shared – don’t write until you have something of value to talk about. The SEO will take care of itself.
6. Never, ever, ever use your blog as a sales promo vehicle. Your business blog should be where you pass on the kind of amazing insider information that your clients and potential clients aren’t going to find on your competitors’ sites. That is the whole point of business blogging, after all. You’re giving customers a little to earn their trust and loyalty by proving that you are the ultimate authority.
Let’s say you’re worried that you’re doing all of the above and your business blog is still not as interesting as you think it is. The simple solution – and the main way to reassure yourself or your writer – is to run your blog past a few people, whether that means sharing a few posts with your husband, sister, or an intelligent friend. Make sure your readers understand they can be as critical as they want to so you don’t get sucked into the alluring world of empty praise. For the purposes of this exercise, you want the straightest of straight dope.
How would you rate the readability of your business blog?