I should have said I wanted to be richerDecember 21, 2016
If in doubt, leave it out – my rule for avoiding common grammar mistakesApril 28, 2017
Nobody wants to fail, so we’ve a few tips to set you up for success when it comes to blogging for business.
There are lots of reasons to write a business blog – to show off your organisation’s personality, to be in control of sharing news and insights or to highlight specific projects you’re involved with.
Think of blogging as talking directly to your audience in a way you can control – but remember that, like a small child at a large table full of cakes, they won’t stay in one place for long.
Here are some guidelines for writing great business blogs.
1. Have a plan
Step one should be to create a content calendar so blogs complement current and planned activity. Don’t miss the opportunity to promote things other parts of the business are focusing on or organising. Equally, don’t be afraid to capitalise on the time of year with tips or other relevant content. Creating a calendar also gives you a good opportunity to divide up the writing if you have a large enough team, while retaining overall editorial control.
2. Compelling headlines pull readers in
As with all comms, first be clear on your audience. If your organisation is large you’re likely to have multiple audiences, so tag your blogs into categories they can easily identify with and explore. Then create headlines that intrigue and make them want to read more – it’s less statement of fact (á la press releases) and more building intrigue.
For more detail on types of effective headlines, here’s a great Buzzfeed article.
3. Tell a story
Ever since cave men drew on the walls we’ve told stories – and they are scientifically proven to be more memorable and activate more parts of our brain than simply giving facts or recommendations.
All stories have a beginning, a middle and an end, but great ones also appeal to all of our five senses and allow us to relate to the tale being told. Here’s some more info about storytelling and some examples of how to convert facts into stories.
4. Carefully craft your tone of voice
A blog is your opportunity to reinforce your organisation’s tone of voice by speaking directly to the reader. Depending on the company you can have a bit more fun and make blogs more personal (a little like we’ve done in this blog) or keep it business-like. Again, the appropriate tone of voice will be guided by the target audience and your intention for the piece (what you want to convey and what you want them to do).
5. Use headings and sections to break up the content
We know readers scan lots of internet content, so sub-headings help guide them and short sections make the copy more visually enticing, rather than appearing heavy going. Headings also give you another opportunity to intrigue the audience and keep them reading.
6. The Goldilocks principle
Too short? Too long? Or just right? There’s lots of discussion about what is the optimum length for blogs and the simple answer is – it depends on why you’re blogging. If improved SEO is your aim then the longer the better (and you need to do plenty of key word research and approach your structure in a much more scientific way than we are discussing here. It’s an expert craft and not something to take on lightly).
What we can say is, people’s attention spans are shorter than ever and reading on screen is harder than on paper, so less is more – 350-500 words (about a page) would be good. If you have a detailed topic, think about breaking it down into different blogs (think chapters) and writing then posting them as a series.
7. End with a call to action
They’ve stuck with you and read to the end of your blog, hurrah! What do you want the reader to do now? This could be simple sign-posting (find out more here…) or a direct call to action about getting in touch.
8. Maximise reach using existing channels (social, newsletters, email)
Blogs don’t magically get traffic, so make sure you promote your beautifully crafted content on all of the channels you can. Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to post as you also get credit as being the author – which you may not otherwise on a corporate site.
Have you got any tips for not failing at blogging? What has worked for you? If you’re not sure where to start or want that blog off your monthly to-do list, give us a call to see how we could help.