As companies look for ways to expand their digital strategy, blogging has become an effective tool for brands to share their story and engage with their target audiences. It’s also a very misunderstood tactic.
For most companies, a blog is a great tool to drive traffic to a website and encourage some sort of conversion – shop a sale, sign up for a newsletter, give a call for service, etc. Blogs are an excellent way to ensure fresh, new content is being uploaded to your website, which is vital for SEO.
OK, so it’s easy to say “you should blog,” but it’s a whole other task of actually doing it – and doing it well. So often, we see brands start a blog on their website only to abandon it weeks in. While it can seem a daunting task, it really doesn’t have to be with a little bit of planning.
Top 10 Blogging Tips
To help give you a runway to success, here are a few simple tips to keep in mind as you kick off blogging.
Don’t over think it
You aren’t writing your dissertation here – you just need to have a piece that gives a few minutes of information and entertainment. Create a quick outline of what you want the reader to get from your blog and then start writing.
Keep it simple
No need to be a Faulkner or Joyce – in fact, they would both be horrible bloggers. Focus on making clean, easy-to-ready sentences the reader can skim and still get the gist of what you are trying to convey. A good blog is generally between 500-750 words so don’t worry about creating overly complex sentences. Just say what you need to say.
Remember why you’re blogging
If you are writing for business and not personal, chances are you are doing it for a reason other than “it’s fun.” You’re trying to drive traffic to your website – or make some other conversion. Think about what key messages from your brand you want the reader to know and weave those into your blog.
But, it’s not an advertisement
In the same breath, you don’t want to be overly promotional. You’re trying to position yourself as a knowledge expert so make sure the blog is entertaining and informative for the reader. In short, make sure there is a value-add for the reader to take with them.
Think like the reader
Your job as a content marketer is to think like the end-user – what are their hopes, dreams and desires. Write to your audience in language they will understand and solve a problem for them. A good way to help with this is to utilize Google Analytics to see what words and phrases people are using to find you. Incorporate those into your blog because it will help drive traffic to you.
Make it easy to skim
Most readers are only going to spend a few minutes, if that, on a blog, so write in a way they can do a quick read. Utilizing headings, bulleted lists and short, journalistic paragraphs are great ways to help improve readability. Including internal links where people can read more about a certain topic you are discussing as well as external links to help underscore an argument are effective tools as well. If you are using WordPress for your website, there is a tool called Yoast, which will give you feedback on the readability and SEO-optimization of your blog.
Visuals help share the story
You should always have at least one visual, if not more, to help illustrate what your blog is saying. Images throughout give the reader a second to collect their thoughts before moving to the next section – again, improving readability. While it’s nice to have custom photography, there are a number of sites with royalty-free images, such as Pixabay (where the above image came from).
Create a content calendar
Coming up with ideas of what to write can be the single most difficult part of blogging. This is where a content calendar comes in handy. Sit down with your team and brainstorm topics in advance. Think about and what’s going on in your business cycle and in the lives of your readers over the year and then overlay relevant topics.
Share the love
The blog doesn’t always have to be written by one person – and it shouldn’t. Having several contributors makes it interesting and brings unique voices to the table. It also makes managing the blog A LOT easier. At Sabo PR, for instance, we have six team members who contribute to our blog and have a set schedule of when each person is up. So, really, we’re only writing a blog every six weeks, which is very manageable.
Stay on brand
Having multiple contributors doesn’t mean that your blog should be the wild west for your brand. Make sure you are selecting individuals who understand your company – what its core values are, what its mission is, what makes it tick. They will then act as brand ambassadors while still bringing an interesting perspective.
If you aren’t already utilizing blogging as part of your digital strategy, I hope you will reconsider. There’s no question that having new quality content uploaded to your website on a daily basis is a great way to drive traffic and help position you as a leader in your industry.
What else would you add to this list? Let me know!