5 Tips for Better Business Blogs
More and more companies are making blogging a part of their marketing program. After all, blogs can help boost SEO, attract more people to your site, demonstrate expertise, and more.
However, although blogs have now been around for decades (that’s right, since the 90s), many people don’t understand how to write an online blog. That’s why we’re sharing our top tips here.
One: Create the Blog Headline First
Some people want to write the article and then create the headline. However, blogs without a sharp, well-defined topic are not only hard to read, but they also lack SEO "umph." Hard-working headlines make a promise to the reader (remember, we promised you five tips). Well-groomed headlines also help writers stay on topic and reduce redundancy.
Two: Provide Links to Original Sources
In any type of writing, provide links to the statistics, research, and reputable studies that validate your content. When you share the source of your data, you’re not only demonstrating credibility, but you’re also enhancing SEO. That’s because Google and other search engines give you SEO points when you link out to highly reputable sources.
This advice comes with one big caveat: it does NOT help your credibility to link to a blog that mentions a stat or research. Back in J-School, they called that lazy writing. If you can’t find the source for your data and provide a link to it, don’t use it.
Three: Know Your Audience and Write Directly to Them
When you’re writing a blog post–any post–have a specific reader in mind. Instead of writing blogs for homeowners with septic tanks, write a blog for homeowners who want to know exactly how to care for a septic tank. Instead of writing a blog about eye doctors, write a blog explaining cataract surgery in laymen’s terms. Narrow your topic whenever possible.
Be specific. Write to one audience and ignore the others. This laser-focused approach will help you communicate more effectively, attract a particular type of audience, and more clearly demonstrate your value and expertise to any kind of reader.
Four: Make Your Blog Scannable
Sometimes bloggers must face the cold, hard truth. Online readers tend to scan. Even though bloggers may agonize over the composition of every sentence, most people will simply browse the headlines and pick and choose which paragraph (if any) they want to read.
As a blog writer, you’re going to have to make your peace with this behavior. And it’s also important to understand that business bloggers, as a rule, should ignore news or lifestyle bloggers’ styles. After all, those writers have a different agenda. They are trying to tease out the content, keeping “the good stuff” until last, in order to fill the space with ads. Conversely, most business bloggers want to attract qualified leads and drive home a message. With this in mind, it’s wise to give the reader as much information as possible upfront using subheadings.
Five: Keep it Simple and Easy to Read
Readability is the key to an engaging blog. You need to make sure that your train of thought is SUPER easy to follow. How do you do that?
Create an outline and stick to it. It forces you to organize your thoughts and makes repetition painfully obvious.
Create active voice sentences. Avoid passive tense. If you’re not sure of the difference, Grammarly offers a nice tutorial.
Stick to one point of view. Switching from one point of view to the next is all too easy to do and makes your piece hard to read. In blogging, that means that you must intentionally choose to write in the first person (“me” or “we”) or third person (“the company,” “this industry”). You can choose to address your readers directly (“you”) or refer to them in the third person (“customers,” “readers,” etc.). If you’re confused, Grammarly comes to the rescue again, with a good explanation.
Don’t be scared of transition words and phrases. These are phrases like “accordingly,” “after all,” and “importantly.” These phrases make the text easier to read, and Yoast recommends them to boost SEO.
If you must use industry terms, marketing speak, or “fancy university words,” be sure to explain them. With few exceptions, blogs are a poor place to show off your vocabulary. As a rule, we make sure we don’t use more than one highfalutin word per blog. (See if you can find ours in this blog!)
Bonus Blogging Tip!
Blogging is one of those skills that looks easy but actually takes a fair amount of thought and practice. If you want to take your content marketing to the next level, contact the folks at Cup O Content. We work with top bloggers and content developers across the U.S. We’ll help create content that meets your business objectives, engages your readers, and boosts your SEO.
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Want to learn more secrets to effective blogging? Check out these articles from Cup O Content.