Recently I did a little math and calculated that I had written or edited some 15,000 blog posts in my career to date. That’s a mammoth number… and it’s taught me more than a few lessons about what to do and what not to do when writing a blog post for your business.
Today I’m digesting them all and sharing them with you here.
1) Give Away Your Secrets – Do you make artisanal chocolate bars? Show how you make them in painstaking detail, step by step. Don’t worry: Consumers aren’t going to steal your recipe and start making the bars at home. Rather, your attention to detail and behind-the-scenes tour of your operation will show them just how special your product is, and will help convince them to buy. This works for any number of businesses, even “boring” ones where you don’t make candy. Accountants? Offer simple debits and credits lessons, tax tips, or budgeting advice — anything to connect directly with the buyer and prove you know what you’re talking about.
2) Tie Your Blog to Your Brand – Don’t launch a business blog on a Tumblr or Blogger platform that is disconnected from your main website. Your blog should look and feel like a part of your main web presence, right down to the fonts and icons. Ensuring your blog is part of your domain (either through a URL like blog.business.com or www.business.com/blog) is good for SEO, too.
3) The Headline is Half the Battle – Blogging is a huge help with SEO, but it’s the title of your post that makes the most impact. That doesn’t mean stuffing your headline with a zillion keywords, but rather using one or two of them thoughfully. When writing a headline, ask yourself: What would I search for if I was looking for information on this topic? Make that exact phrase your headline, or part of it. (That’s what I did with this post!)
4) Grammar and Spelling Count – Nothing will tarnish your brand more quickly than slipshod writing on your blog. Here’s where you are supposed to be connecting directly with consumers and showing off your bona fides… but you can’t be bothered to spell words correctly? What does that imply about your attention to stitching your handmade quilts? Or the quality of tomatoes in your salsa?
5) Don’t Accept Guest Posts – You will get many requests from people who want to give you unique content, at no cost, in exchange for a link back to their website. Don’t take the bait. Google will likely penalize the content (and your site) as little better than spam. If you need more content than you can comfortably produce, hire a reputable firm to help you create it.
6) Promote Ruthlessly – Link to everything you write on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Pinterest and Instagram, too, if they’re relevant to you. Find where your customers are and engage with them there. Respond to questions, especially on your blog, and keep the conversation flowing. (Remain professional at all times; comments speak just as loudly as the blog post itself.) Remember that your blog is a two-way street, so don’t try to dominate both sides of the road.