Until the nineties, ‘blogs’ didn’t exist. In the years after Justin Hall launched Links.net – which is thought to be the first blog ever created – various blogging platforms sprouted from the depths of the web, including LiveJournal, Open Diary and Diary.com. These sites provided users with a way to chart their feelings, record their ups and downs, and maybe even meet new friends who could relate to their experiences.
Fast forward to 2019, and the concept of blogging is still very much alive and well. The difference is, it’s now being adopted by millions of businesses who want to use quality, heartfelt content to attract attention from their audience, in the same way that individuals used them to connect with like-minded people all those years ago.
Why bother with a business blog?
Every digital marketing expert will know just how important fresh, engaging, unique content is for any business. Having a dedicated blog allows you to showcase this content.
The statistics certainly suggest that effective blogging will be good for your SEO – and for your reputation. Data from Hubspot showed that companies that blog regularly enjoy 97% more inbound links than ones that don’t. Meanwhile, a survey by BlogHer revealed that more than 80% of US consumers trust information they receive from blogs, and more than 60% have made a purchasing decision as a direct result of something they’ve read on a business blog.
Writing regular blog content that is interesting and readable brings a whole heap of benefits. It’ll increase your website’s authority, generate more online traffic and, ultimately, boost bottom line.
Sounds ideal, right?
But writing a great blog takes time, effort and marketing knowledge. You’ll definitely need to put in the hours to reap the rewards.
Things to bear in mind
To craft a truly brilliant business blog, you’ll need to:
Write for your audience
When you’re writing from a business perspective, you need to provide something that people want to read, not just something you want to write and share. This means you need to know your audience.
Think about what your ideal client looks like.
Many marketers will sum up a buyer persona with a statement like:
“My target audience is male, under 30, of average income and likes sport”.
But does that really paint a vivid picture of what this person looks like?
“Andrew is 28. He’s in a junior management role, and has a “work hard, play hard” mentality. He loves watching Premier League football with his friends on a Saturday afternoon, and stays fit enough to occasionally turn out for his local football team”.
Suddenly, you can almost see Andrew in your mind’s eye. With a clearer, sharper image of this young man in your head, you have a far better chance of writing content that will really resonate with him.
Find the right tone
Sarah Kennedy, the British TV and radio broadcaster, hosted a show that was incredibly popular back in the late 90s and early 00s. Why was it such a hit? Because she made it personable! She found her voice, and she stuck with it – which made her likeable, and above all, authentic. Adopt a similar principle, and you will strike the right tone with your readers.
Remember, too, that although many people will eventually read your business blog, it needs to deliver a one-on-one experience.
Sarah hit the nail on the head when she once commented that people do not, by and large, sit in big groups listening to the radio together. More often than not they are sitting at home or in the car, with only the radio for company – so in an attempt to really connect with her audience, she always imagined she was speaking to one person, not the thousands of listeners who tuned in every morning. This approach worked, and she went on to become one of the most revered and powerful people in her industry.
It’s not a sales pitch
Your blogs need to provide useful information to your reader and help to establish yourself as an authority in your business niche. Sure, you might create the occasional product- or service-related blog posts that focus on something specific that your business can deliver, but these should be the exception, not the rule.
Relate your content back to what you do. Use it to demonstrate your expertise. If you follow this formula, the conversions will take care of themselves.
Make your business blog readable
Huge chunks of text just don’t do it for today’s web-savvy skim-readers.
Web users must be able to review and digest your content quickly by following clear signposts to key points. These people won’t usually read business blogs in their entirety – they will scan the copy for the words and phrases that interest them the most, so these need to be placed prominently in your headings and sub-headings. Short paragraphs are best, as they won’t overwhelm the eye, and you can get away with careful use of bullet points and bolded text; the former for clarity, and the latter for impact.
Don’t try to do it all yourself
Adding several voices into the mix will give your blog extra appeal (and take a little of the weight off your shoulders). If you run a larger company, invite managers and heads of departments to contribute their ideas and experiences to the platform.
If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you could always give customers, suppliers or associates the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog. This can have some pretty big implications for your onsite SEO, though, so we’d recommend getting some advice before opening up your blogging platform to anybody and everybody.
Have a plan
Getting the right message across to the right people at the right time is the aim of the game. This won’t just happen by chance. You need to plan what you’re going to write, then promote it as well as you can. Everything you create needs to be in line with your broader marketing strategy; your wider business goals.
If you struggle to see the bigger picture and need some help putting together your content strategy, ask for help. A little input from a professional content marketer at the start of your blogging campaign will make all the difference!
Choose the right image
A picture tells a thousand words, so make sure there is at least one to accompany every business blog post you produce. Unique, branded photos are best – but if you don’t have these to hand, use a site like Pixabay or Unsplash to find an appropriate public domain image for your piece.
Does your main competitor consistently irritate you by producing great content? Well, they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so have a think about how you could repurpose their ideas for your own blog!
Disclaimer: we’re not talking about replicating other people’s content. That wouldn’t be ethical, nor would it be good for your SEO. But you can certainly take some cues from the trends discussed within your industry, and the things other people feel inspired to write about. Come at a popular topic from a slightly different angle, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a brilliant business blog post that your audience will be eager to share.