About 15 years ago, it was virtually unheard of for businesses to have their own blog. At the time, blogs were mostly diaries in disguise (Livejournal, anyone?), and very few companies had even heard of the concept of blogging for business. Content marketing was anything but a topic of conversation, and some small businesses lagged behind on having any type of web presence at all. As the concept of having a company website became more and more prevalent, keeping the website updated and maintained became another battle. It became clear that having a company website was anything but a fad, and businesses soon had to incorporate ideas of standing out from their competition online. The web was a blank canvass for upcoming business blogs, and the competition was about to explode throughout the new millennium.
Fast forward: it’s now almost 2015. While not every single company possesses a blog these days, many of them do. It’s interesting to see companies that have a smart blogging strategy in place, and those who aren’t too dedicated to managing their own blog. If companies aren’t currently blogging, the typical reasons include:
- Not enough time
- Fresh out of ideas
- Don’t know where to start
20 Techniques To Blow Up Your Business Blogging
If you manage a company blog and you’re experiencing one or all three of these set backs, today is your lucky day. I’ve been around the blogging block a time or two, and I can tell you what kind of techniques work for creating, managing, and writing your very own blog. The following tips will enhance your online presence while having a blog that’s easy and entertaining to read for your customers. After all, isn’t that overall goal?
1. How’s That Headline? Did you know that 80% of customers will read your headline, but only 20% will actually read anything beyond? Think of all that hard work you put into your blog, only to have your customers click the back button. Writing powerful headlines is an absolute must for generating any kind of engagement. Think about it from your own point of view: if this blog post was entitled “20 Ways to Write a Nice Blog Post”, would you ever click on it? If I were a betting woman, I would definitely bet no. No one likes a boring read. Put some thought into that headline.
2. Verbs, Not Adjectives. While adjectives have their place, using verbs in your blog has the potential to create some very compelling copy. Some of my personal favorite verbs include:
Putting verbs in your headline or copy inspires people to take action. Taking action leads to conversion. What does this mean? Verbs are power words for your blogging strategy. Not to mention, they are pretty fun to write with. Give it a try.
3. Spark Some Emotion. Notice that all of my favorite verbs are related to some form of emotion. If you want to write a strong blog, you’re going to have to write something that sparks some form of emotion: preferably a positive one, since most people aren’t going to respond too well to negative emotion.
Connecting to people on an emotional level gives them something that they can find as relatable. If you can get your customers relating to your company or product, that’s a big part of the battle. That’s when they become emotionally invested, and that is exactly what you want.
4. Become an Inspiration. Isn’t it great to feel motivated and inspired? Help your customers feel the same. While inspiration can come in many forms, use your sources to better your community or the life of a person in need. If you have an interesting background of how you came from poverty and built your business from the ground up, people will want to hear your story. Depending on your industry, you can take this in many directions. You can inspire people to get healthy, get an education, or even seek treatment for an addiction.
5. Write Longer Posts. Sorry folks, but two paragraphs are not going to cut it. In fact, three or four paragraphs probably won’t take you very far, either. Studies have shown that long content (think 1500 words minimum) performs and converts better than content that’s considered short. Your audience is looking for engagement, and long (well-written) content is a surefire way to get your audience thinking.
You’ll be spending some extra time at the keyboard, but it’ll pay off in the long run.
6. The Presentation Factor. Have you ever received an e-mail that was literally one giant block of text? That e-mail could have contained the secrets of the universe, but the presentation ruined everything. And it was such a great topic!
When you’re writing your blog, it’s important to establish exactly how you’re going to present the information. If you are currently using the one-huge-text-block strategy, it’s time to start thinking in punctuation and paragraphs. Be careful on how you present.
7. Playing with Paragraphs. Paragraphs are mandatory when it comes to almost any kind of content writing. As a general rule, most paragraphs are about six sentences long. I like to play with paragraph lengths and keep them around 100 words if at all possible. When I hit around the 100-word mark, I then divide the paragraphs up using sub headers.
8. Standout Sub Headers. Yes, your headline has to be top notch. However, that’s no reason to skimp on your sub headers. Use the same techniques for writing strong headlines, and incorporate those into writing your sub headers. Your sub headers are typically in larger or bold font compared to the rest of your text, so think of them as additional opportunities to grab attention. Sub headers need some love, too!
9. Always Use Images. Try to include an image with every blog post, even if it’s just one. Images break up the monotony of text-headline-text-headline. Keep in mind that some people are visual learners, and graphics can help relay your information in different ways than text alone. You don’t have to hire a photographer, but it’s nice to have some unique images to go along with your blog post.
10. But Refrain From Super Generic Stock Images. Let me be clear and say there’s nothing wrong with using stock images at all. However, remember that there are batches of stock images out there that almost every other company is using. If you have to resort to bad stock images, use them sparingly. Just remember that you might come across another company using the exact same photography as you. Try to stay unique in every aspect of your blog that you can.
11. Remember Who You’re Talking To. As you craft your blog post, it’s easy to forget that you’re not talking to your word processor: you’re talking to people. Write as if you are having a conversation with another person on the other side of the screen. Expect people to comment and reply back. Once your blog is published for the real world to see, people will likely have something to say.
12. Use Your Competitor’s Blog as Inspiration. Whatever your competitor is blogging about, you can do it better. Don’t outright steal their ideas, but use their blog posts as an edge. If you read their blog post for the week and it feels like there are gaps in their information, take advantage of this opportunity and fill the holes with your own unique blog posts. Chances are, this is information that your customers are already looking for. Many companies will hold back on giving away too much information because they think that their customers will take the valuable info and run. This isn’t always the case; giving away valuable information for free makes you an authority. Customers will buy from authoritative companies.
13. Don’t Overcomplicate Your Message. Blogging is not meant to be a mysterious and super complex marketing strategy. Blogging is about giving your brand a voice and reaching out to customers who are looking for relevant information. You can easily break down your thoughts by using bullet points, short paragraphs, and images. If your blog is easy to digest, you won’t have to worry about readers grasping your message.
14. Plan Ahead. Planning ahead for your upcoming blog can help save a ridiculous amount of time. If you’re normally hard-pressed for ideas, take an hour or two per week to dedicate solely on discovering great content ideas for your blog. It’s so much easier to sit down at your computer in the morning knowing exactly what topic you’re writing about that day. Staring at a blank screen waiting for an idea is a one-way ticket to writer’s block.
15. When You’re Tired, Take a Break. It’s a common sense technique, but don’t push to write more when you’re burnt out for the day. Personally, my quality of writing takes a drastic nosedive when I’m running out of steam. Some people may thrive on this, but it’s important to realize when you’re at your max. Step away from the computer for a while and even take a catnap or go outside for a walk. Your creative juices will come flowing back when you’re feeling refreshed.
16. Answer Questions. Customers are coming to your website because they’re looking for information: most times, that information is coming in the form of a question. Try to make sure that every blog post answers a question in one way or another. Answering questions for customers adds educational value, which in turn helps you build your brand.
17. Tread Where Competitors Won’t. This technique is one of my favorites. I personally love tackling topics that competitors will not (or have not) addressed. For example, if you work in an industry where price is typically not revealed until late in the buying process, write a blog post addressing this issue. Better yet, write a blog post that gives price ranges for your products. You’ll be surprised at how much traffic you can generate by blogging about taboo topics in your niches.
18. Be Consistent. Consistent blogging is best practice for establishing a regular publishing flow with your customers. If you write your blog on Monday morning and publish it after lunch on a regular basis, your audience will come to expect your regular publishing schedule. This is beneficial for customers who might be scoping out your blog for deals, promotions, or new products. Try to pick a day that works for you and stick with it.
19. Leave Them Hanging. OK, so only a little bit. Building anticipation through your blog is a great technique for getting your audience to come back for more. This is especially true if you’re offering a free product, making a big announcement, or you’re about the spill the beans on something juicy. You know the feeling you get when your favorite TV show leaves you feeling like you’re at the edge of a cliff? It can be frustrating, but you know you’ll be back for more next week.
20. Don’t Try to Be Everything to Everyone. Catering your blog to everyone under the sun isn’t beneficial to anyone. Blogging isn’t about throwing everything you’ve got at the wall and hoping that it sticks. You want to write to a specific audience so you can maximize your traffic and conversion rates. Even if you’re a company that sells paper plates, don’t try to boil an ocean with a one-size-fits-all blogging strategy.
These techniques have personally helped me throughout my blogging career, and it’s helpful to refer back to them whenever I’m in a pinch.
If there’s anything that you take away from these tips, always strive to remain relevant and helpful to your customers.
Remember: if you build your blog around addressing your customers’ needs, you’ll always come out as a winner in the end.
Image credit: alexskopje / iStock