Curating a blog is challenging for many business owners. You might have specialized knowledge in your field or profession, but writing about it is very different from applying it to your daily tasks.
5 Tips for a Successful Business Blog
Writing a business blog is made more difficult by time restraints; time spent writing means time spent away from your business during valuable working hours.
A business blog shouldn’t be a chore or a drain on your time; it should be a fun and creative outlet, a means of connecting to your clients and audience, and a way to share your expertise. If you write a business blog (or have been thinking about starting a business blog), these five tips will help you spend less time writing, with better overall results, so you can make the most of your blogging time.
1. Aim for quality, not quantity.
The internet is bursting with content. Even locally, it’s highly likely many of your competitors manage a blog. As a result of the sheer volume of options available to readers, modern internet surfers are highly aware of filler content put out simply to generate clicks. Your audience has many choices when it comes to blogs and articles, which means you are held accountable to the quality of your content. As soon as a reader’s trust in your content has been broken with a post that is uninteresting, badly written, or poorly structured, that reader is likely to move on.
The best way to own your digital stage and become a trusted resource for your readers is to put out high quality content. The judgement readers make when they read your posts is one of value. Your readers are putting in the time to engage with your content; in return, you need to offer them something valuable. This value provides the reader with entertainment or information, or some combination of both.
For these reasons, quality should always be considered over and above quantity. Although consistency is important (as will be discussed below), consistency does not come attached to volume. If you’re putting out several posts a week and seeing little traffic or interest, try changing your strategy to focus less on quantity, and more on quality. Putting three hours a week into one highly informative and engaging blog post will earn you more readers than sinking those three hours into three mediocre posts. If you’re going to put the hours in, make sure they are well-used for the highest return on investment. It’s also important that your readers don’t feel “spammed” by large amounts of content each week. Before you put out a new post, try to make a value judgement on the quality of your content, and whether your readers will deem it worth their time.
2. Plan your posts well ahead of time.
Writing is the process of putting your thoughts on paper. The problem is, your thoughts often don’t pour out onto the page as cohesively as they appear in your own mind. It can take time to develop and organize your ideas. When you break your writing process down, it should be heavily weighted to planning. My own division of time in the writing process looks like this:
50% review and editing
Taking the time to plan your content well ahead of time allows you to flesh out your ideas in detail. One of the best recommendations I can provide for anyone curating their own blog is to plan six months in advance. This won’t be a full writing plan; it will simply be a list of topics you’d like to address, along with the titles of your posts. This way, when an idea pops into your head during the week, you’ll be able to relate it to a planned blog post, and jot it down for further exploration.
3. Don’t just know your audience; be your audience.
Researching your target audience is fine, but what better way to get in tune with their needs and desires than to become them? Spend some time getting in the mindset by reviewing blogs similar to yours. Once you’ve read through a few, you should be able to compare what’s working and what isn’t on those other blogs. You should also be able to spot a few gaps in the information, which is exactly where you want to insert yourself.
You also need to be certain you’re writing on a level your audience can understand. You may have specialized knowledge, but if your audience isn’t familiar with the language you’re using, you’ll need to break it down into the most basic terms. A reader won’t be impressed with advanced terminology; they simply won’t be able to engage with it.
4. Be consistent in your posting frequency and within your content.
Some people are easily discouraged and give up when their blog doesn’t immediately attract traffic, but it takes time and consistency to build up an audience. Someone who sees one of your posts and finds it interesting may not follow you right away, but if they come across another useful post a week later, you might have earned yourself a loyal follower.
In being consistent with the frequency of your posts, you are setting clear expectations for your readers. The reader will become accustomed to seeing regular posts, and might even begin to subconsciously look for them. It’s best to be consistent in the dates and times of your postings, if possible (and it also gives you a deadline to ensure you stay on track!) but at least give yourself a specific number of posts per week or month, and live up to that commitment.
A second measure of consistency to be aware of is in your content itself. Again, readers have expectations, and they are satisfied when those expectations are met. This doesn’t mean you have to write about the same subject every week, but you should try to maintain a consistent sense of style and branding in your posts.
5. The best writing comes from careful review.
Last week, I spoke with the business owner of an interior design company. She writes her own blogs. She is also dyslexic, and she expressed frustration at the low quality of some of the blogs she’s come across compared to her own. I asked her how she battled her dyslexia to produce great blogs, and she told me her secret: read them, reread them, and read them again before putting them out in the world. Her condition is an asset to her writing, rather than a disadvantage. It makes her more aware of the quality of her content, which is something most people don’t consider as carefully as they should.
Any writing professional or professor will tell you that excellent writing is produced mainly through careful review and editing. As I said above, for each blog post I write for my clients, over 50% of my time is dedicated to reviewing and editing my work.
If you struggle with the reviewing process, have someone else read and critique your work before posting it. What better way to test your writing than to have someone in your target audience pre-read it and provide you with feedback?
If you’re still struggling with your business blog, or you just can’t find the right words for what you’d like to say, Fine Point is always happy to provide direction and advice. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have about your business blog.