The average business blog owner is doing it wrong. By “it” I mean the content creation and the day-to-day management of that content. The truth is that the average business blog is nothing more than a bundle of boring text that puts the readers that they have to sleep. This is unfortunate, because in 2014 there are few ways better ways to promote your business, gain new prospects/customers, and sharpen your brand’s identity than with a powerful, focused business blog.
Mediocrity is the norm in the blogosphere. But that’s good news for you. Because when mediocrity is so common, a little bit of effort and strategy will put your blog over the top. We’re going to highlight the steps you need to take to elevate your blog’s content, and to transcend the status quo. We’re going to talk about the 3 keys to having a successful blog, but you must first know this: Your blog should represent who you are.
Your readers need to know who you are when they hit your blog. When I say “know who you are” I’m not talking about the name of your business, where you’re located, the type of products you sell—all of that can fit into your About Page. I’m talking about the vibe you evoke, your philosophy, your style, what separates you from the multitude of other businesses in your niche. See, your voice needs to be loud enough to escape the noise. You need to be a white dot on a black canvas.
There are a few ways to do this—ways that you can better express your message so that you stay memorable in the minds of your readers.
Key 1: Having a Nicely Designed Blog
One of the first things they’ll notice is the actual design of the blog. People judge a book by its cover, so make sure that your design is, at the very least, appealing to your audience. No, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel; you don’t need a super-sophisticated, state of the art blog design. A basic and minimal design that is well done (and easy to navigate) can perform better than a complex design in some cases. But know this: your brand’s personality can be articulated in the design of your blog. If you use the right colors, have interesting typography, and select eye-catching images for the individual blog posts, you will stand out. This is called visual branding. Think of this visual branding as a way to get new prospects through the door. No, design alone won’t keep them invested in your blog, but it will help to spark an initial interest.
Key #2: Using a Natural Tone in Your Posts
The tone of the blog is, needless to say, very important. Do you want a free-flowing conversational style, sophisticated business-speak, or something esoteric and technical? The tone of your posts needs to be congruent with your company’s brand. A company that sells software solutions in the B2B sphere will have a far different tone than a florist, for example. The default tone of a blog post will be, in most cases, conversational, as that gives the blog owner the most flexibility in the content that he/she creates. But that is just a suggestion. No one should know your audience better than you, so use a tone that they’ll find agreeable and natural.
Key #3: Having Content That Provides Real Value
Every “epic” piece of content has great value. It’s what attracts the majority of your blog visitors and it’s what keeps them interested and invested in the long run.
In a previous blog post we talked about the effectiveness of long-form blog articles and the process of writing them. One major point that we want to get across is that just because the blog post is long-form it doesn’t make it great. A 1500 word post with little value is like buying a $500 pair of shoes that will fall apart the day after you buy them. Only write a long post if the topic requires it. And if a long post is necessary, make sure it is filled to the brim with value.
Writing a blog posts for a business is a balancing act. You don’t want too much of one thing. If you have a business blog, the purpose is probably to make sales AND build the perception of authority. This is where many bloggers screw up. They get too thirsty and become too sales-focused, often force-feeding their products and services to their reading audience. You are essentially building a house with no foundation if you place the pursuit of sales before your authority.
You gain authority by writing powerful, actionable posts. This type of content offers extreme value to your audience, and they will see your blog as a prime resource in your market or niche.
Throughout your posts, talk about your service or product in a subtle way. Heavy promotion is arrogant and unmindful and your readers will resent you for it. Robust content that offers great, free value is the best way to garner appreciation from your readers and to secure their long-term interest in your brand. You want promotion to seem natural, and you want to present your product as a necessary solution to the problems that your readers may face.
Providing content that your audience will want to consume is an evergreen strategy. It’s predicated on one strong principle: Giving people what they want. It’s about putting the needs of your prospects/customers before your own. It’s a slow process, but very rewarding, and it’s something that can facilitate new sales growth in the long run.