Content is King: Learn to Use Content to Lead
Give your business blog posts more power and get the most out of your blog as a tool for communications, marketing, sales and service by remembering the Four Ps of Better Blog Posts: provide, personalize, present and plan.
Provide interesting information in an accessible way
Good content is the essential component of every blog post. This does not mean that business blog posts need to be dense or dry. In order to be effective for you and engaging for your readers, blog posts must be relevant and speak from your position of expertise. The more relevant, the more likely users will share your posts, strengthening the community around your blog, and allowing your blog to draw more traffic to and interest in your website and your business.
Real life stories and case studies are strong ways to demonstrate who you are and what you do to your blog readers. Interesting photos and relevant links to more information are excellent additions to posts because they allow your reader to take in your information in multiple ways and they demonstrate that you are a resource for information and insight in your area of expertise.
Despite the breadth of your experience and the amount of information you want to share, craft blog post content carefully so readers are not overwhelmed and none of what you want them to know or to experience is lost. In situations where you know that you want to say more than a standard size blog post would allow, respect your reader’s time and attention, and pique their interest with a series of posts on a particular topic and include teasers to the next post at the end of the previous posts. This is a simple example of how a blog post differs from other communication pieces and how blog posts can be used to help you meet your business goals. Creating a blog post series allows you to demonstrate the range of your expertise; to show your expertise in action; to set up and meet expectations; to create community; and to foster engagement.
Personalize blog post content
Personalizing and sharing your unique insight builds trust with your audience. When writing posts on your business blog, let your audience get to know you and come to trust you through your content. This means showing and telling about the work that you do and the results that you achieve for your business and for your clients. It also means committing to telling your story in an authentic way.
A blog post is a powerful tool for demonstrating the mission of your company beyond its basic mission statement. Blog posts also allow you to tell prospective and continuing customers and clients more about the kinds of relationships that you build with them and with your partners and colleagues. For the prospective client, glimpsing this relationship can be a powerful, persuasive experience because it allows them to start thinking about what it would be like to work with you, an important step in choosing to work with you. Choose compelling photos and interesting post topics with relationship building in mind.
Present calls to action
The last thing you want from a well written, engaging business blog post is a missed opportunity to connect or provide service to your audience. Make it as easy as possible for your audience to connect with you and lead them to the choices that you want them to make to take the next step in their relationship with you. This could be to register for an event; to download an e-book or other supplemental content; to contact you by phone or email; or to request a quote. Among the actions you want your audience to take, consider what actions make the most sense in the context of each of your posts. Not all posts should call users to the same action, and a call to action should never feel as if it is coming out of nowhere. Connect your content to action.
When you build into your post why and what you want your audience to do, you are making the call to action organic and authentic. Remember, a blog post is not a place to pitch; a blog post is a place to present information and opportunities. Those opportunities could be to contact, connect, hire, partner, or other next steps on the road to your desired relationship with your audience.
Plan blog posts
Scheduling blog posts by creating a content calendar is essential to ensure consistency of posts and continuity of message in a way that promotes trust and engagement. There is a reason that we use the phrase “follow a blog.” Users return to, and in many cases, subscribe to, blogs because they want to know more. They appreciate your perspective, they value the quality of the information you provide, and they want to know what you will say next. Blog followers become vested in your message and in the relationship you are building through content. Commit yourself to meeting those expectations and your blog becomes an increasingly powerful tool to achieve communications, marketing, sales and service goals.
Planning also allows you to take control of your blog, so the responsibilities of maintaining a business blog do not take control of you. This is especially important for small business owners, many of whom wear multiple hats and some of whom feel the pressure to consider maintaining their business blogs on their own. Planning the blog on your own, or with the help of a communications or social media consultant, helps a business owner remain invested in the process and assures that the owner’s voice and the voice of the company is present and authentic. It also can open the door for bringing in additional support to keep the blog working hard in a way that is streamlined and consistent, without pulling from other operational responsibilities.