30 Tips To Make Your Business Blog Sizzle
Even the marketers, PR and communications executives who write the posts don’t want to read them. Once they finish their blog post, they think their job is done.
These posts consist of vacuous words thrown onto the blog containing nothing that sounds remotely human. Their focus is me, me, me and enough about me what do you think about me. So it’s no surprise these blogs and the posts they contain are largely ineffective.
YET–68% of marketers plan to increase their use of blogging in 2014, the top area in which marketers plan to invest according to Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
- 74% of B2B marketers plan to increase blogging activity.
- 63% of B2C marketers plan to increase blogging activity.
WHY? Because blogging is owned social media, content marketing and search optimization rolled into one.
There are great examples of B2B and B2C blogs that drive key business results such as lead generation and sales. BTW, this blog post from River Pools generated over $2 million!!!
Here are some other great examples:
What sets these blogs apart from the mass of meaningless business blogs?
These successful business blogs offer the 5 basic content formats their target audience wants and needs. Readers look forward to their blog posts.
You can accomplish this too. A successful blog that serves your target audience content that sizzles is doable. But it takes hard work and resources.
My recommendation: When it comes to blogging, go big or go home. If you can’t allocate the resources a great blog deserves then focus your marketing efforts elsewhere because who needs another boring blog?
10 Tips to make your business blog sizzle
1. Sound like a living, breathing human being.
Every blog has real people behind the scenes. Sound human by adding personal touches to your blog. This doesn’t’ mean overshare information that even your own mother doesn’t want to know.
- Use the second person (aka you). Write to your audience as if you were talking to them in your office or on the telephone.
- Get rid of the corporate gobbly guck and other superfluous formality. Craft your content from your heart. Develop your writing sensitivity to understand what resonates with your audience.
- Add stories to make your points real to your audience. Contrary to popular belief, specifics make your content more universal.
2. Get your blog a personality.
Face it – no one wants to read a boring blog, just like no one wanted to hang out with the class dork. Everyone loves a winner. Even if your blog isn’t a winner yet, you have to act like it is until your audience believes it.
- Have a consistent approach to your reader. Are you teaching or spouting opinion? More importantly, what do your readers seek from your information?
- Create a persona for your blog. What traits does you blog have? Is your blog easy going, friendly, or confrontational? (Note: This isn’t about your personal personality but rather the blog’s personality.)
- Let your brand show through. Continue your branding in every aspect of your blog.
3. Become the go-to expert in your field.
You may need to polish up your bonafides to do this. It can take years of work to become an overnight success. Peg Fitzpatrick is a great example of this. She makes it look easy. She’s currently the head of social strategy for Canva and works with Guy Kawaski on social media marketing strategy and innovating the world of social media. But she worked to get there. I met her through #UsGuys and 12Most. Peg just dives into the fray and learns what’s needed.
- Read everything in your field. You need to know your stuff.
- Share content by the experts in your category. Not just once in a while but on a regular basis.
- Mention the experts in your original content. Don’t forget to link to them.
- Be where the in-crowd is in your field. Ian Cleary of Razor Social did a great job of this when he was building his social media CV by interviewing me and others at Content Marketing World.
4. Be the “all the news that’s fit” source in your niche.
People actively seek out the latest gossip and news on subjects they find interesting. It’s not just the National Inquirer. When I worked at The Economist, people loved the obit section (yes you read that correctly!) The key in today’s content stuffed world is to define your niche so that you provide specialized insights that they can’t get elsewhere.
- Look at the top 3-5 blogs in your category to determine where there’s an opening. Then define your blog to fit that niche.
- Augment your original content with curated content. This helps position you as a tastemaker.
5. Let me entertain you.
Everyone needs some fun in their life. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling to a boring B2B market, they still need fun. When I worked at Citibank in the early days of the Internet, the first thing everyone looked at wasn’t their email, it was Dilbert!!! How can you provide something that makes your audience smile and feel happy?
- Be optimistic to stand out from the pack. There’s enough bad news out there.
- Participate in fun memes. Don’t just rely on silly cat videos, but show that you know how to have fun.
6. Offer your readers eye-candy.
The saying goes: “Show them, don’t tell them.” Many of us learned this in nursery school when we brought in our favorite objects. People are visual creatures. They’re naturally attracted to images. Use them to make your content more effective.
- Add photographs to pull readers in. At a minimum, use an image at the top of your post.
- Incorporate other forms of visuals such as infographics, charts and quotes. Faciliate information gathering.
- Integrate video. Become your own director to tell your story.
7. Get some blog bling.
Like real life, your blog has to dress the part. It has to build confidence in the visitor’s first few seconds or they’re gone. If you want to be a success, you need to look like one.
- Get off free hosting like Blogger and WordPress. Get your own turf, aka URL. If necessary, get technology help. (BTW—my webmaster, Larry Aronson is great!)
- Add blog design. Use the best quality graphics you can afford. Plan for your future position.
- Color your blog. Incorporate your brand colors in a strategic way.
- Set brand guidelines. Be consistent so that you cast a bigger shadow.
8. Guide readers through your content.
We’ve been trained to scan information looking for the important nuggets. Take advantage of research to make attract and keep readers. Don’t make them think.
- Outline your points. This way readers get them bing, bing, bing.
- Bold key take-aways. Make the important information stand out.
- Use your numerals. Don’t write them out.
- Show some excitement. Emphasize your major points with explanation points!!!
9. Be nice to the robots.
Help the search engines provide better quality information for their audience. In turn, this will yield more visitors to your blog. (Here’s what 15 SEO experts recommend for optimizing your blog.)
- Focus each post on a specific keyword phrase. Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion makes an important point. You need to focus on keywords that generate revenue not traffic.
- Incorporate Google Authorship. Andy Crestodina explains the details.
- Feel the need for speed. While this sounds geeky, it has an impact on your search rankings. Your blog must load quickly!!!
10. Give your readers a reason to raise their hands.
Blogging is a long-term relationship, not a one-night stand. Don’t push visitors to buy or move on. Of course, you can nudge them in the right direction with links and calls-to-action.
- Encourage them to sign up for your email. Heck, give them a goodie for sharing their information with you.
- Ask them to share your content with their friends and family. Make it easy for them and give them the options they want. This includes printing. (Yes you read that correctly.)
You have the potential to make your business blog sizzle. Just follow these 30 blogging tips and support your efforts with resources, both people and budget.
What challenges has your business blog faced? What help do you need to make your business blog sizzle?
Join me at Social Media Marketing World this coming Spring in sunny San Diego, California, where I'll be presenting a session on Blogging.
Free Blogging Guide —
In today’s content-driven world, writing matters more… not less. Ann Handley offers 10 tips for crafting a better blog post.
Based on Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley.
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- 64 Blog Tips To Increase Your Blog Reach (Hat tip to the Beatles)
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