Corporate blogging is a different ball game than personal blogging, not only in its technique but in its goals and purposes. When I write blog posts on my personal website, I write about things that I feel particularly interested in or passionate about. I write about myself, and I try to relate my experiences to those of other people. When we recommend blog posts to our clients, we’re thinking about their customers – what will interest people and cause them to actually read what we’re saying? What will they be likely to share with their friends? What can we do to ensure that they enjoy their reading experience enough to come back?
In other words, the reason for blogging (or doing anything at all) for business is to get sales.
That’s a simplistic explanation, though – we might write a blog post to improve SEO, which would lead to an increase in website traffic, which in turn would hopefully increase sales. The end goal in corporate blogging can get overshadowed by more immediate goals, which is why it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. That being said, the following tips are methods that we’ve tried out and that have been successful when we write effective blog posts for our clients.
1. Write for your audience. Getting your audience to act in ways that you want them to means thinking about what they want and what will get them interested enough in you to take action. Keep it clean and simple – tell them exactly what you’re trying to say and don’t try to disguise it. If you want them to comment, reiterate that point at least twice. If you want them to click through and look at a product, put the link in giant rainbow letters (maybe not literally, but you get the idea). Don’t try to trick them with a headline that has nothing to do with what you’re saying. When it comes to the Internet, people don’t like to be confused – they like it when you hold their hand and lead them exactly where they’re supposed to go.
2. Stay focused. Much in the same way that high school teachers taught us to write papers, there needs to be a clear thesis in a corporate blog post and it should be obvious to me, as a reader, what that thesis is. (My thesis in this blog post is telling you what to do in order to write better corporate blog posts. If you weren’t sure of that by this point, then I’ve not done my job well).
3. Keep it interesting. A blog post that is strictly sales, with no relatable points what-so-ever, is not interesting to read. On the other hand, we haven’t had a lot of success with blog posts that are purely interest-based, and have no call-to-action-type of point to them (i.e. a post that says “you should do A, based on B” is more interesting than an informative-type blog post about B with barely a mention of A). Including graphics, quotes, or other creative material that relates to your message is always a good way to keep people reading, as long as they feel that they’re gaining something by doing so.
4. Stay enthusiastic. Your audience can tell if you are completely bored by what you are writing – it comes across in your wording and sentence structure. (We all have a reading voice in our heads. If when you read over your words, that voice speaks in a flat monotone, your audience will read it the same way. It helps to have another person read over your post before publishing.) I’ve found that clients have varying priorities – some are ardent about maintaining a professional voice on their blogs, while others will allow me to use my own voice here and there to spice things up. Even if I’m trying to write as professionally as possible, however, I can still include points that relate to my audience; I can still tell them earnestly how much the product or idea I am promoting will help them. There are always ways to present a topic that make it feel fresh – it’s just a matter of finding them.
5. Keep it readable. This post is too long – it’s longer than 700 words (turns out I had a lot to say). When addressing a general consumer audience, 500-700 words is about all of the focus you’re going to get out of people (especially when there are sliders and banners on either side of your words, links to other places within your text, and Facebook and e-mail inboxes likely sitting open in other tabs with notifications coming out the wazoo). The Internet is an impossible place to hold someone’s attention, and marketing companies are essentially spending all of their time playing games about who can make their content the edgiest and flashiest and most compelling. The more concise you can be with your information, the better chance you have of getting to your point before your reader can click away into oblivion, never to see your site again.
While it’s important to self-promote when you publish a blog post (make sure you push it out on your social media platforms), a solid, well-written blog post with lots of relatable content will essentially promote itself among your audience. And when it comes to blogging in a business sense, you can never be too far ahead of the game.