Business blogging has become an enormous part of how companies promote their brand online. In fact, according to data from HubSpot, “companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 - 4 monthly posts.”
Frequent blogging helps companies improve their SEO—partially by creating more pages for Google to index. It also helps companies maintain their position as “thought leaders” in their industry—at least when the blogs they put out are high-quality. Once written, they can be shared across multiple social media platforms to boost traffic and drive new leads to your content.
While maintaining a high frequency of posting is a good idea, there’s more to it than just dumping a random article on your website every few days. You need to write better blogs—ones that readers will actually enjoy or benefit from. Good blogs capture the attention of readers, making them more likely to want to engage with your company.
With that in mind, here are a few tips for writing better business blogs:
1. Don’t Just Sell Stuff
There’s a time and a place for a blog that puts forth your product as the solution for the reader to buy. People don’t generally come to your blog looking to get sold a product. Instead, they’re there looking for help and advice.
If all of your blogs are just “X reasons why our product rocks,” don’t expect to keep readers for long. Now, don’t get me wrong, taking a few minutes to highlight your product on the blog every once in a while isn’t the worst thing in the world—but it shouldn’t be the focus of everything you write.
The goal of a blog should be to do one of the following:
- Solve some problem for readers;
- Educate readers; or
- Entertain readers.
So, when you write a blog, keep in mind what you think your readers would want from it, and write it in a way that addresses that desire.
Speaking of what your readers want…
2. Research Your Audience
If you’re going to write something that answers your audience’s needs, then it might be helpful to know something about that audience before you begin.
- How old are most of your intended readers?
- What’s their average education level?
- What are their interests?
- Where do they get most of their information?
- What’s their favorite way to engage with online content?
Having the answers to these questions tells you a lot about your audience—both who they are and what they will respond to. A highly-educated audience might enjoy more technical details and complex phrasing, while others might prefer simpler explanations that use analogies to break down complex subjects and make them easier to understand.
Knowing where they get their information, on the other hand, can help you promote your blogs more effectively by allowing you to advertise/promote your blogs where they’re likely to be found.
So, get to know who your audience is and create a profile of them. This profile, or buyer persona, can come in handy whenever you want to write a piece of content that addresses the needs and wants of that audience. In fact, using buyer personas when you write content for your website can help ensure that you attract the right people to your site.
3. Draft an Outline of What You Want to Write
Before you spend a bunch of time trying to write out a big article, take a few minutes to make a short outline of your most important points—even if said points are a little abstract or lacking detail.
Getting started on a blog post is, surprisingly enough, a lot easier when you have a general idea of what you want to write about. Plus, it can help you write a better, more focused piece of content for your blog.
4. Think About How Your Blog Looks
This step is something that you can worry about after you’ve written your rough draft, but it can have an impact on how your blog is perceived by readers.
When someone looks at your blog, is it just a massive, nigh-impenetrable wall of text, or is it something that’s fun and easy to read? Odds are that people will like the “easy to read” option better.
There’s a lot that can go into the visual appeal of your blog, such as:
- The blog’s length;
- Size of individual paragraphs;
- If/how you use images and bullet lists (like this one) to break up the text;
- Header text;
- Use of bold or italic text to draw the eye; and
- The layout/design of your blog page.
All of these elements can affect the visual appeal of your blog as well as its readability. A long, blocky article with no visual breaks and a bland design just isn’t going to capture a reader’s attention like one that has well-placed pictures, easily-searched headers marking out different sections, and other visually impactful details.
5. Get Someone Else to Edit Your Work
Here’s a scenario that totally has never happened to me at all (fingers crossed): You’ve just spent way too many hours writing your latest blog. It’s late, you’re tired, and you’re convinced that all of the time you’ve just spent on the blog must mean that it’s absolutely perfect and no one could possibly find fault with it.
You release your magnum opus to the world and, two or three days later, you’re making a ton of edits. Why? Embarrassingly enough, the post is filled with typos and other errors that need fixing—errors which the unlimited and seemingly omniscient audience of the internet were kind enough to point out to you in great detail.
When you spend enough time on a piece of work, it gets harder and harder to see the errors that you’ve made—you know what you meant, so it’s hard to see what could be confusing to a reader. Most of us just aren’t equipped, out of the box, to be perfectly objective about the quality of our work the instant it’s finished. Although, there are some who are their own harshest critics, and find that nothing they write is ever good enough for their own standards.
Either way, before you submit your blog to the world, it’s probably a good idea to hand it off to a friend or coworker and have them edit for you. Or, if you have one, get a professional writer/editor some time to go over it. Another person will be able to take a more objective look at your work and spot any errors or flaws that you might have missed.
6. Give Your Reader Something to Do After Reading
If you read a lot of the articles on the Bluleadz blog, you might notice that more than a few of them end with some kind of call to action or “next steps” for the reader to take. For example, one blog might call for the reader to learn more about the subject by reading an eBook or another blog on that subject. Another blog might end with a request to “contact us for more info” to give us a chance to talk to the reader directly.
The end of the blog is a great chance to convince the reader to take some kind of action while they’re thinking about the subject.
When giving the reader something to do after reading your blog, consider what kind of blog you’ve written. Who’s the audience, and where are they in the buyer’s journey? The next steps for someone who’s just starting to think about a problem they have is going to be different from the next steps for someone who’s trying to decide on a solution, after all.
One way to sidestep the problem of trying to anticipate where in the buyer’s journey your audience is would be to use “smart” Calls to Action (CTAs) at the end of your post. Smart CTAs can show different things based on whether or not the viewer has completed certain actions—such as downloading a specific “top of the funnel” resource. This allows you to change what each person sees based on what their individual “next steps” should be.
Need more help with creating awesome blog content for your business? Check out our ultimate blogging checklist for more tips and tricks to creating great content! (See, that’s an example of a “next steps” suggestion right there!)