Nobody reads blogs anymore. Many blogs are just egoistic exercises in self-aggrandizement.
Besides, consumers no longer trust these so-called “social media influencers” with their #OOTDs (Outfits Of The Day), selfies, and larger-than-life egos.
Heard variations of the above theme before?
Well, it is true that a few bloggers have been singled out in the news in recent months.
Teen blogger Amos Yee was recently hauled in court for making disparaging remarks against Christianity and Islam, controversy erupted last year over the posting of blogger’s children photos online, and several fashion and beauty bloggers in the US were singled out for failing to disclose their relationships with brands.
What business blogging is – and isn’t
Well, blogging for business is similar yet different.
While it would certainly be a plus for you to be labeled as a fashionista, urbanista, socio-political savant, or geek god, business blogging isn’t an exercise in puffing up your personal popularity (although that may occur as a fringe benefit).
Rather, your purpose as a business blogger are focused on three things:
- Increasing brand awareness, growing trust and strengthening your business’s reputation;
- Providing value and serving your prospects, leads and customers; and
- Establishing your website or blog as a hub for your content marketing campaign efforts.
Blogging regularly on your organisational blog or website has multiple benefits. They include growing your presence on search engines via Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), strengthening your relationships with your brand communities, and providing a launchpad for your content and social media marketing efforts.
Unlike personal blogging, business blogging isn’t driven by whim and fancy. It is a professional activity much like selling, marketing or public relations. The most successful organisations in the online arena adopt a disciplined and systematic approach to business blogging.
So what can you do to begin your business blogging journey?
#1 Know who you are writing for
First and foremost, you need to determine who your target readers are. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are the interests and concerns of my target audiences?
- What value am I bringing to them?
- What are some of the keywords that they’d use to search for my content? (Read my guide to How to Master SEO for WordPress to learn more about keywords.)
- Will my readers want to read it all?
- Will they act as a result of my blog post?
- Will they tell others about this?
#2 Set a regular schedule
Once you have nailed your topics and readers, you’ll need to make blogging a routine or habit.
You need to set aside time every single day to write. Regardless of whether you are doing it as an entrepreneur or an employee.
The best time to do so is in the morning – before you respond to your emails, whatsapp messages, or social media comments. The second best time would be late at night when everybody else is asleep. If you are working for a boss, you should let him or her know that this hour or two is sacred.
#3 Write as much or as little as you need to
Writing a blog post isn’t always easy. You will have good days and bad days. Regardless of how you feel, however, you need to keep working at it every single day.
One of the tricks I adopt is to save your best thoughts and ideas the moment they come to you. This can be done using a pen and notepad, or thumbing on your smartphone (my preferred method).
Rome isn’t built in a day. Neither is a quality blog post. However, it begins and ends with each brick that you lay, every single day.
#4 Write the way you talk
Blogs and other social media content aren’t called “social” for nothing. Often the blog posts which gets shared the most are those which speak directly to the hearts of your audiences.
To do so, write the way you speak. Address your audiences online just as you would in a face-to-face chat.
Throw away your dusty old business communication rulebook, and write like how you speak. Keep your language and tone informal, personal and direct.
#5 KISS your audiences
To cut through the overwhelming online clutter, you need to show your affection by KISS-ing your audiences. KISS is an acronym for Keep It Simple and Stupid (KISS).
In a world of multiple distractions, nobody is going to bother with your War-and-Peace-esque tome. You need to break down your posts into simple bite-sized pieces, and make it so easy that your audiences will feel smart after reading them.
Remember that its not how smart you look; its how smart you make them feel.
#6 Use your organisation’s authority
Writing about your company’s experiences helps you to establish credibility in your domain area. This means mining for topics that your company has authority in.
Here are some examples of topics that you can choose from:
- Industry insights and latest research
- Customer case studies
- Solutions to customer issues and problems
- Hacks that your prospect can use to improve performance/solve problems
When doing so, remember to provide Youtility to your readers and viewers.
#7 Tell stirring brand stories
All humans love stories. They include your prospect, lead, member and customer.
Considered as one of the 6 triggers for contagious content, stories help to make your blog articles more realistic and relatable. Everybody loves a good narrative, and social stories helps your brand to stand out from the rest.
To do so, consider the following tips for telling winning brand stories on social media:
- Start with “Why”: The purpose and belief of your organisation.
- Understand your social contexts: the unique environment and season where your story takes place.
- Develop “social-friendly” plots: snackable and shareable vignettes as opposed to “War and Peace”.
- Identify everyday heroes: customers, employees, and other partners.
- Demonstrate how challenges are overcome.
- Inject some drama and plot twists.
- Tap the reservoir of human emotions: choose high arousal emotions like love, joy, anger, sadness, and humour.
- Use multiple media formats: text, images, videos, audio and more.
#8 Repurpose and repackage your content
One of the deepest and darkest secrets about blogging is this: Not everything you write must be original.
In fact, you’d often find that you already have truckloads of testimonials, stories, insights, research reports and tips waiting for you to repurpose into an interesting blog post.
Here are some places which you can dig from:
- Old and current annual reports.
- Industry and trade magazines which you subscribe to.
- Customer feedback forms and questionnaires.
- Speeches by your CEO and Chairman.
- Company newsletters and magazines.
- Press releases and media articles.
That’s not all. Once you have written your blog article, you can further break it apart or repurpose it into the following:
- Social media posts on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. For example, an 8-point article like this blog post can be split into 8 individual posts on Facebook and Instagram.
- A podcast interview, done in a Q&A style.
- A short instructional video.
- An infographic. See how I’ve done it in The Content Marketing Checklist here.