Do you remember LiveJournal? If you were a teen of the web in the early 2000s, you probably had one. There, young people of all races, religions, colors, and creeds joined together to air their grievances and celebrate their successes– From getting a date for prom to finding out their parents forgot to buy their favorite eyeliner. It was a jungle out there, but it proved that blogging was going to be big business.
Nowadays, it seems that everyone has a blog or has tried to keep up with one. While there’s emotional and psychological value in talking through the things that you’re experiencing, it’s easy to let life get in the way. One month, you’re blogging about your first year as a parent every day, the next month you’ve forgotten what your password is for Weebly.
The Relationship Between Blogs and Businesses
Unfortunately, as a business, you don’t have the luxury of dropping the ball. Consumers (yes, even those who can’t keep up with their own personal blog) are looking to you for content that inspires, educates, and entertains them.
We live in an era where we look something up online before we ask our friends. In fact, if you’ve ever sought out local restaurant recommendations, you’ve probably started with Yelp or a local Google search to narrow down the results, then asked a friend about a particular place that caught your eye.
Potential customers are continually seeking out validation and information. They want to know that others have the same concerns and problems. They want to know what the solution is. They want to see why they should accept your solution. When you create excellent blog content, you’re walking them through that process– Identifying that there is a problem, walking through the solution, and placing your product at the forefront of that solution process.
Selling Your Brand
Here’s an example. Let’s say that you sell bed sheets that wick away moisture and keep sleepers cool in the summer. Your company name is “Dry Dreamzzz.”
Problem: It’s hot and uncomfortable in the summer, especially if you’re sleeping on traditional bed sheets. These bed sheets can trap heat and moisture, making you restless all night.
Solution: A bed sheet that wicks away moisture and allows for a more rapid evaporation process would help draw heat away from sleepers. That would keep them cooler during summer siestas.
Why Your Product?: Dry Dreamzzz bed sheets are the first of their kind to stand up to the heat gun test. Using a heat gun attached to a probe, we’ve proven that our sheets keep sleepers up to 10 degrees cooler than traditional linens.
When you write blog content about the benefits of sleeping at lower temperatures, fun summer activities that are even more fun when you’re well-rested, and the most comfortable pillows for side sleepers, you’re acknowledging that people have concerns about their sleep and you’re here to validate those concerns and offer solutions.
The 10 Business Blog Commandments
Writing a business blog can be fun, fulfilling, and bring in some major hits to your page. It all depends on how serious you are about using the blog as a draw for potential customers. There are certain rules that every business blog writer should follow to capture audience attention and avoid a PR catastrophe. We’ll call them the 10 Business Blog Commandments.
1. Thou Shalt Use Catchy Titles
The first thing that your readers are going to see is the title. If it’s boring or, even worse, doesn’t tell the reader what they’re going to be reading, they’re going to scroll straight past it. Have some fun with alliteration (“Silky Sheets for Sweaty Summers”) or use strong verbiage and buzzwords (“10 Good Reasons to Hate Flannel Sheets”).
2. Thou Shalt Always Use a Call to Action
Let’s just put it out there: the primary purpose in sustaining a blog is to get customers to buy what you’re selling. It’s called content marketing for a reason. Once the reader has consumed your content, you want them to have a directive to follow. Whether it’s contacting you to set up a consultation or checking out your product landing page, give them something to do.
3. Thou Shalt Not Talk AT Your Readers, But Instead Talk to Them
Your blog content should be an invitation for your readers to engage with the post, with you, and with each other. While it’s always a little risky to allow an open forum or comment section, people who enjoyed the post enough to comment are the people who are going to share it on social media. Speaking of social media…
4. Thou Shalt Use Social Media Shortcuts
On all of your posts, you should include hyperlinks that create a quick way for the post to be shared as a tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram post. Make it as easy as possible for readers to share your content. Shares mean more readers, and more readers mean more purchases.
5. Thou Shalt Not Act Like an Infomercial
We know, we know. We just said that you should always use a call to action that helps you make a sale. If you’re crafty, though, it doesn’t have to be obvious. Approach your blogs like you’d approach someone you want to ask on a date. Obviously, you’re not going to propose marriage five minutes after you get your entree. That would scare people away. Instead, be subtle, build relationships, and take the leap when the time is right.
6. Thou Shalt Use Links
Always direct readers to other parts of your website, and especially your blog. It’s called “link building,” and it makes potential customers stay on your site longer. You can also link outside of the site to credible sources that help your readers find out more about why your product is valuable.
7. Thou Shalt Not Steal (Without Proper Citation)
This one should be pretty obvious. If you use other people’s information, especially word-for-word, link back to it. It’s proper etiquette and can help you remain a credible, honest source.
8. Thou Shalt Analyze
Use programs that analyze data about who came to your blog, how long they stayed there, and what pages they visited afterward. Use the Google Analytics program, or let professionals monitor and adjust according to the readership. Data allows you to meet your readers where they are, then create content that helps meet their specific needs.
9. Thou Shalt Schedule (With Some Hesitation)
Create content often, but don’t overwhelm your readers with it. Many companies stick with a once-a-week blog cycle that can sometimes include “evergreen” content that is always relevant because of its timeliness. One caveat, though. Check through your scheduled posts often. There have been cases where a scheduled blog post was written before a tragedy and seemed insensitive when it was published. Let’s assume that you run a company that sells passport holders and often write about fantastic vacation spots. You’ve scheduled a post that tells about ten amazing vacation spots in Florida; then a hurricane destroys the coastline. You’re going to want to take that post out of the rotation, as to not seem insensitive to real-world events.
10. Thou Shalt Work With Professionals
If you don’t have the time or energy to put into your blog, let professionals do the writing for you. Think of it as an investment in your marketing plan. Creating quality content isn’t easy, and it requires consistency. If you don’t feel that you’re going to be able to keep up with your posts, let someone else handle it.
That’s where we come in. NATIV3 wants to help your business or organization create a blog that brings readers in and keep them there. Check out how we’ve helped others or drop us a line! We’re so excited to hear from you!