Designing and building your business blog is without doubt a difficult process. A lot of time and effort needs to be invested in all aspects, with much of the time often dedicated to seemingly simple things, such as colour schemes and the sidebar layout.
Once up and running, it can be thought that the most difficult part of the blogging process is out of the way. However, many people often forget the difficulties associated when writing suitable copy for their blog.
Generally a more conversational, social platform – and the content that’s produced should usually follow this same path – it can be underestimated just how difficult it is to produce blog content that’s suitable for your target audience. Content that follows the basic guidelines of blogging and which is of benefit to SEO, whilst always providing value to your readers and engaging with them in such a way that they want to find out more about your company.
Looking at some of the more common mistakes we often see with business blog copy, here we provide an insight into five things your business blog content really shouldn’t do.
Sell, sell, sell
You can use a business blog to provide information to your target audience. You can use it to advertise your products or services. You can use it as a lead generation tool. What you should never use it as, however, is a base for nothing more than sales copy.
We always tell our clients that if used effectively, a business blog can be a great way to promote your products and increase sales, but what readers don’t want to do is read a blog post where every other sentence is sales-based.
They want to read content that speaks to them and which is of use. They want to be engaged with and told about your products or services in an interesting way.
Sell to them like this and you’ll see some great results. Use your copy to give them the hard sell and you’ll find you lose readers in droves.
Be too personal
A bit of personality is always good on a blog. Whether that means drawing on personal experiences or simply using phrases such as ‘I’ or ‘we’, a personal touch added to content can make readers feel more engaged with the company.
Add too much personality or individuality to your blog posts though and you risk alienating people. Readers have visited to find out more about your company, your products / services or your views on a certain topic – they don’t want to be reading about what you had for lunch, where you took your children at the weekend or how expensive petrol is, unless there is some direct link to content that is actually of use or interest to them.
Whilst there’s no doubt a blog can be used for a variety of sales or marketing-type reasons, it should in no way pressurise the reader into doing something. Reading a blog post should be an enjoyable experience. It should be something you look forward to doing when you have the chance during the day.
What it shouldn’t be is something you worry about doing because you’re concerned you’ll be pressured into buying or signing up to something.
You shouldn’t tell them that they have to find out more about your products or services. You shouldn’t force them to sign up to your newsletter or subscribe to your RSS feed. You shouldn’t continually throw links to your social media accounts at them. By carrying on like this, you’ll do nothing but make readers click away from your blog.
By explaining to your readers where they can find out more information about your products or services and how they can sign up to your newsletter, subscribe to your RSS feed or follow you on social networks, the copy will be a lot less pressurising and you’re more likely to see the results you need.
A blog post of any kind should be interesting. It should be exciting and it should be engaging. It doesn’t have to stand out as one of the best pieces of writing ever, but it needs to grip your readers in such a way that they want to read it all – and ideally, go on to read more of your blog posts.
In no way, shape or form should it be boring. Readers have taken time out of their day to visit your blog and they want to know that they’ve spent that time wisely. They don’t want to leave thinking they’ve read a few hundred words and got no benefit from it whatsoever – and that’s if you can actually keep them on the blog long enough.
The problem here is not many writers will believe their content is boring and the only true way to discover whether it is or isn’t is to analyse your stats. If you take a look at the most visited blog post and the least visited, you should be able to see some noticeable differences – and it’s these differences that will often show you what makes your blog post boring (and conversely, interesting).
Sometimes the best blog posts cover topical issues and other times they quote research studies, but their success could also simply be down to the way the piece was approached and the style the content was written in.
Offer too much, too soon
We’re not saying here that your blog post should take several paragraphs to get to even the opening point or piece of messaging, but we often see blog posts approached in the same way an e-mail campaign or press release is. With these two types of copy, it’s important to grab your reader from the outset by telling them exactly what it is you’re talking about. The opening few sentences need to be so direct and specific that you are essentially using them to summarise the rest of the copy.
With blogging, you don’t need to do that. People visit blogs voluntarily and know that they’re going to be spending at least a few minutes reading content. They want to be told a story and they don’t want to feel that after the first paragraph, they know everything there is to know about the blog post’s topic.
A blog post can be classed as a piece of commercial writing – even sales copy – but it should always have the aim of engaging with your readers in such a way that they feel the need to read through the piece in full (and where appropriate, interact with your calls to action).
At the lowest common denominator, writing blog post content is simply typing words onto a screen. The complexities involved are often so substantial and in-depth, however, that the simple fact is many organisations fail to write suitable content for their business blog.