It's rare that I come across a company today that doesn't have a blog. We all get it - blogging is a great way to share your brilliance, connect with your audience AND attract new visitors to your site. Sadly, it's also rare that I come across a really GOOD blog. Whether it's because most bloggers are writing for bot's (a mistake I'll address in a future post) or marketers are just overwhelmed with the volume, consistency, and creativity that good blogs require, the blogs I subscribe to (and read) on a regular basis are few and far between. How do you create blogs that are read? Shared? Remembered? How do you create GOOD blogs?
- Have a voice. The Bing definition of blog is “a personal journal”. Wikipedia calls it a discussion. Regardless of your industry and the purpose of your blog you should write like a human FOR humans and have a singular (and hopefully) conversational voice. Does that mean you can't have multiple bloggers? Not at all. Some of the best blogs are made up of a few rotating bloggers. Each has their own voice, but all follow the same “tone”.
- Speak to one audience. In one blog I read I jumped from a painfully in-depth fix clearly meant for developers to a coming soon webinar on how a certain ERP system could help me with my product inventory to a special pricing offer for a CRM system. Huh? If you can't write for one audience, your audience likely won't take the time to sift through your blog for what interests them. As a prospect, I can guarantee a 3 page post on a bug and the fix is not likely to do much to pull me in. If you do want to share technical info - create a separate blog or a tech notes area of your site. Speaking to one audience doesn't apply to just technical / non-technical blogs either. I also don't want to spend a lot of time weeding through industry or job function info that doesn't relate to me.
- Make me think or at least nod. In simpler terms I'd say - be interesting and add value. If you're publishing a lot of content about why I should buy something from you I'm not going to continue reading. Give me something interesting and I'll gladly sit through (and maybe even pay more attention to) the ads. In case you're wondering, the ratio for business value content versus promotional content is 80/20.
- Keep it short (or serialize). No kidding - I just scrolled through 10 screens to read a SINGLE blog. Well, actually, I didn't read it. I gave up long before that second scroll. By their very nature blogs are short. The Content Marketing Institute recommends 400-1000 words with the caveat that the closer to 400 the better (if case you're curious, this post is 557 words). If your blog is getting too long, serialize it. In fact - what better way to write once (and use often) AND keep your audience coming back.
So that's it - a few steps to a good blog. If you found this interesting, blog is the letter B in my serialized post, The ABC's of Content Marketing now appearing on Cultivation Station, The Partner Marketing Group blog. Check it out and leave me a comment if you'd like me to expand on any of the other A-Z topics!