In the last few years Google (and other search engines) have changed the way they work in their quest to make the internet a better place and to provide a quality experience to their users by presenting search results with pages that offer better quality content – top pages must be well written, useful and informative.
This means pages with lightweight content, outdated content, scraped content and so forth, are out of the race.
This has raised the bar for many websites, especially the ones of commercial nature that now must make a better effort to produce good content.
This means businesses should seriously think about investing in a blog to create the sort of quality written content that is interesting for its target audience, as it will bring relevant readers and search engine power to boot.
(Content includes video and images, so if you prefer to talk (or even draw), make a video blog instead as this would be very powerful content for your site.)
Tip 1: You need content to supercharge your SEO
In the old days, search engine optimisation (SEO) was enough to give a big boost to a site that had no content.
But relying only on canny use of keywords and SEO alone does not works anywhere near as well as it did.
These days, the power of a blog on an otherwise content-light website cannot be overestimated. Once you have content then you can then flex your SEO muscles even further.
If the content is link-worthy and share-worthy it will be a very powerful tool for your business.
(I used the word relevant rather a lot there, you might have noticed. This is because relevancy of content is so particularly pertinent to the way Google’s algorithm works. You can waffle on about random subjects for various blog posts if you need to keep it fun, but don’t let irrelevance take over if you want your blog to be a big-swinging SEO tool.)
Tip 1: A good headline is crucial
(I make the rules here, ok, and I’m having two Tip 1’s – these are both crucial points, deserving of primacy.)
It’s important to lure in the reader and for search engine optimisation. Which of the following posts would you read if you wanted tips to improve readership of your blog?
How I Think Blog Headlines Should Be Written. This might be the most honest headline but honesty is not always the best policy, particularly in headline writing.
The Importance Of Writing Headlines. This is straightforward and honest – almost an imperious sort of headline – it might work as an undiscovered Oscar Wilde play but it doesn’t have enough information to lure in the budding blog writer.
The Importance Of Writing Good Headlines. This is better – it’s aspirational as these headlines are going to be Good.
The Importance Of Writing Good Blog Headlines. Now the potential reader and the search engines know its an article about blogs.
How To Write Better Blog Headlines. This is a different angle, putting the emphasis more on that the article is going to be a How To, and likely to be a bit of a listicle (list-article) or hinting at the presence of bullet points. Also, this is what people might type in search engines and so is good for SEO, even more so Google’s new emphasis on conversational search.
Easy Ways To Write Better Blog Headlines. As this includes the word ‘easy’ it will have undoubted appeal to the time-poor, the lazy and the simple minded.
Freddie Starr Ate My Headlines. Irreverent headlines have a strong appeal, especially as they can intrigue the reader and lure them into reading something they might not normally. While Google in particular has made concessions to enable headline-writing mavericks to go wild and still not loose too much relevancy, it’s less search-powerful to be less relevant in your headline, I think.
Tip 2: Work out what you’re going to write about
Some corporate blogs or news feeds are designed to show the fun, human side of the organisation and talk about activities the company’s staff have participated in, events the company is contributing to or boast about exciting contracts wins.
No-one wants to read this.
If your business is healthy then write a blog about the services you offer as this ticks a number of boxes. For SEO purposes, you want to have a good amount of content on your site concerning the services you offer.
(Like in professional wrestling it’s not the done thing to admit this and break the Kayfabe, but of course we’re both well aware that I’m writing blog content about writing blog content to help your SEO and its also helping The Internet Works’ SEO and our claim to be able to offer content writing services.)
But don’t try and just write for Google’s sake: potential customers are likely to be interested or at least impressed with the expertise shown in your blog. Ask yourself what your target market would find informative and useful.
You shouldn’t just write entry-level guides: write about things that interest you and your market, including the most niche subjects you like as long as there’s a relevant connection with your business.
If you produce great blogs and/or face a lack of competition in a niche you might even become known as the number-one, go-to expert.
Tip 3: Make sure you have a good flow of articles
This is where small and medium sized companies can trip up when establishing a blog. (Ahem.)
You may get director-level agreement to encourage the production of blog posts from various departments, and even have a schedule of who is going to write and when.
But this can all fly out the window, rest assured. People will be too busy, or that is generally the excuse.
So, assign a hard-nosed, bullwhip-weilding blog boss to corral contributors.
Ensure the director-level agreement is passed down management lines to ensure a free hour here or there is employed in the production of content.
Ensure you have two or three things ready or as back-up for when expected blog posts fail to materialise.
Tip 4: Find the right voice
Ok, this may sound a bit thespian, but your ‘voice’ is an important element for a blog and it’s not just something for your Hemmingways and your Rowlings to worry about.
Your voice is your style of writing and your opinions.
You will probably have at least one of them, too: think of how you might change the style as you write to your delicate old auntie and then email your drinking pals.
Blogs are for some companies an opportunity to humanise a faceless corporation, so it’s important they are written with personality.
If your content is especially riveting or useful for your audience you can get away with a business blog with bland and formal language. But some of us aren’t clever enough for that.
Some blogs associate personality with the use of excited shouty CAPITALS and exclamation marks. But I’d advise against too much of that! (Personally, I’m a big fan of brackets.)
But personality is nothing without an opinion. While an engaging personality might be enough to carry readers initially, they’ll only keep flocking back for more if you have staunch, perhaps controversial, or at the very least, useful and interesting opinions about your areas of business.
Hmm. So, following my own advice, this could be my last blog.
Anyway, my tip for finding the right voice is to pick someone you know who fits the perfect profile of an ideal reader for your blog and then envisage them as the direct recipient when you are writing the posts to her or him. You could even write your post in an email to that person, if your imagination is having a hard enough time of creating the right vibe.
5. Use an editor
If you are getting blog post contributions from all round your company, there might be a few less adept writers among them, so its important you have an experienced editor or someone adept at crafting copy.
As well as the copy editing skills, an experienced editor can help guide strategy for the blog, plan ahead, and help enthuse, inspire and chivvy your blog writers.
But if you want practical tips as you are going it alone without hiring a content team, I’ll give you a couple of examples that are easy to introduce into your writing.
The first is something relevant to this rather long post I’m writing. Long articles are much more difficult to read online but there are ways of making it easier.
One way of doing this, that has been adopted by news and magazine publishers as they shifted from paper to pixels, is making sure paragraphs are one sentence long only. Or sometime two.
Also, you could use bullet points.
They’re a good way of breaking up points into more easily digested points.
Lists are equally good at this.
They have the added benefit of letting you know how many points you’ve made.
Then you could even change your headline to “24 top tips on writing brilliant business blogs” or something.
You should also generally break up your blog post into sections, each with its own headline or section header.
The wording you choose is important from an SEO ‘relevancy’ perspective, so try and make the section attractive and encourage your reader to make it all the way to to bottom.
6. Now, go forth and blog
But if you try and it’s not going as you’d hoped, then get in touch and let our Content Team manage the process for you.