5 Keys to Writing Successful Business Blogs
Blogs are no longer just the province of the literary-minded. They're now an essential marketing tool for large and small businesses alike. Your web presence needs to be active, and keeping a blog is a good way to let people know that you're here and you're dedicated to your mission. Below are some tips for writing an effective blog post. 1. Concept. The first question you might ask as a blogger is, "What should I write about?" The answer is in your audience. Who are you talking to? What do they need? In my case, I'm an editor, so I'm talking to writers and businesses who might need advice on how their writing can be as good as possible. Think about who you're writing for, and give them content they can actually use. 2. Voice. Decide what your professional voice is, and write accordingly. If you're a small business that prides itself on being approachable and friendly, write as though you might write a letter to a friend. If you're going for quirky, don't hesitate to break out the emojis. But if you're looking to attract corporate or governmental clients, you'll probably want to maintain a more formal register. Look at blogs from around your industry and examine how they approach their audience. You'll find the voice that's right for you and your business. 3. Format. Writing for the Web has its own best practices, because the way we look at a screen is different from the way we look at a book or newspaper. Skimmable content is key. Our eyes alight on headlines, subheadings, lists - any element that breaks up the "wall of text." That's why listicles are so popular: They provide a "handhold" for the eye to grab onto, and once someone's read #1 and #2, they'll want to go on and see the rest. Does that mean every blog article should be a list? Probably not, but it's a good idea to mix up styles and formats so your readers can look forward to something new and eye-catching each time. 4. Simplicity. The simpler you keep your writing, the easier it is to follow. Don't include too many technical details, and don't pack your sentences full of information that makes it harder for your audience to digest. An easy way to self-edit to simplify is simply to read the blog post aloud. Do you find yourself thinking consciously about how you phrase a section? Do you find the words cease to have meaning in your mind? These are all signs that you're trying to do too much. Bring the level down a bit and get back to the bare bones of what you're trying to say. 5. Editing. A typo, an inconsistency, or a bit of redundant information can be enough to make the reader click that "back" button. So get your work edited. A good copy editor should be able to review a blog post of 500-1,000 words within an hour. That includes fixing any embarrassing errors, simplifying or clarifying language, and checking any Web links that might be included in your post. I'm happy to provide a service where I look over your blog entries for a weekly or monthly flat fee that approximates to a 10% discount off my hourly rate. Contact me here to talk about setting up a weekly or monthly retainer plan.