Whenever we start talking to organisations about our business blogging services, we always explain that they can have as much or as little involvement as they wish. Some prefer to be really hands-on, working closely with us during all parts of the blogging strategy, while others take more of a back seat, providing input only as and when needed.
A lot of our clients naturally tend to sit somewhere in the middle, with one of they key parts they get involved in being the development of blog post ideas. Something we actively encourage, as alongside our knowledge and experience of blogging, our research team’s work and our client’s understanding of their industry, we are able to develop the most suitable content possible for their audience.
When clients want to get involved at the blog post ideas stage, however, we always discuss the process in-depth with them and what we’re looking for as topics. The reason behind this is our focus for the blog posts can vary widely on the client’s original ideas and we need to ensure that they are as beneficial as they can be when produced for client and customer alike.
Covering a range of different points, these three give you an insight into the things we tell our clients when they’re looking to be actively involved in developing blog post ideas.
1. You need to think like your readers
It might sound a little cliché (or like an ancient Chinese proverb), but it’s important you look at your blog – and the ideas for the content – as if you were a reader, not the writer. The blog obviously needs to have a commercial focus, but it generally shouldn’t be in the blog posts themselves, as this is likely to do nothing more than put readers off.
Imagine your blog was attached to your sports equipment website as an example. Although the footballs you have on sale and the new tennis rackets you’ve just got in are likely to feature on your blog, as a reader, is this really something you’d want to be reading about every day?
You need to be focusing on sports in general, linking back to your website occasionally, such as through an overview of the last cricket match or an insight into the next boxing event. Remember, blogging is about engaging with your readers and it’s not about selling to them – develop a community feel where readers return regularly and your blog will grow considerably and organically to the extent that when you do publish the occasional piece of sales-type copy, your audience will be more likely to respond to it in a positive way.
2. Topical pieces often work very well – as long as they offer something different
Some of the most successful blog posts are those that are produced around a topical news item. As the subject is already being heavily discussed, you can essentially piggy back on its success. It doesn’t have to be something that’s directly related to your organisation or industry either – however, it has to be understood that you can’t simply replicate it or put your own spin on it.
Think about it logically. Your readers will no doubt have read all about it on news websites, heard about it on the radio and seen it on TV, so why would they want to read all about it again on your blog?
What you need to do is use the topic in a way that’s going to make the post stand out. Without doubt link back to the news item, but the piece in general needs to focus on something different. Something that’s going to make the reader want to get to the end of the piece and believe they’ve just read something from an organisation who aren’t simply churning out the same content as everyone else.
The reason we’re mentioning this is when we get e-mailed a link to a news story from a client, their expectations of the post that’s created around it aren’t usually what we recommend and so it’s important to know why – and understand the impact of not doing so – from the start.
3. Your business blog isn’t the only one out there
Getting inspiration from other blogs is always a good idea. Part of our research team’s focus is to look at what a client’s competitors are doing, what worked for them and see if we can develop content that follows the same path in some way.
But what we never do is blatantly copy content, ideas or focus. Not only does this show a lack of imagination, understanding of your audience and a generally poor business approach, but it just provides the same content to your readers.
What a lot of organisations fail to realise is that even if their blog has hundreds or thousands of regular readers, it’s unlikely to be the only blog those readers visit – and if you therefore don’t provide fresh, unique content, when they visit your blog, they’re going to be quickly put off as they’re just seeing reworked copy from another blog.
The most important aspect of blogging is to provide content that’s fresh and unique. People don’t want to be seeing content that they’ve read elsewhere, even if you do take a slightly different spin on it. As we said, getting inspiration from other blogs can be great, but you have to realise that the end product is likely to be vastly different, as that’s exactly what your readers will want.
We always encourage our clients to be as involved as they can be in our business blogging strategies. We’re more than happy to develop and implement their blogging and social media strategies with only minimal involvement from themselves, but as we always aim to be as transparent as possible with our services, when our clients see exactly what’s happening and how we approach certain aspects, their involvement can not only be beneficial to the strategy, but to their organisation as a whole.