Head of SEO
An informative and well-visited company blog can be a huge asset to a business. The blog can be a source of fresh web traffic, help to shape your brand and influence the buying decisions of your customers. However, sitting down with a blank web page can be a daunting task. Where do you start? What do you write about? How do you write something people want to read?
One of the biggest concerns we hear from time-strapped business owners and marketers, particularly those within service industries, is that they don’t want to risk spending hours planning and creating a post that might never be seen by anyone. This is especially true for service businesses who find it hard to find topics to write about without being boring or salesy. The good news is that after reading this, you won’t need to worry about any of these things.
We’re going to take three simple steps to writing company blog posts which will help even if you’ve never written one before. Here we go!
1. Know your goals and marketing approach
Before you even think of potential blog titles, you need to have some clarity about the purpose your company blog serves. There are many things a blog can be used for and achieve, including:
Making your site look active
Providing content to share on social media or to your email
Demonstrating your knowledge and expertise
Humanising your brand and showing personality
Becoming a source of industry news
Releasing company news, offers, service launches etc.
Ranking for relevant keywords
Persuading customers to enquire or purchase
Your blog is likely to work towards several of these simultaneously, but you should have a priority so you can optimise for certain outcomes. Having an overriding strategy for your blogs doesn’t require a huge undertaking of preparation and analysis but it can serve to give you direction when it comes to planning blog titles and content.
Having identified the chosen purpose of your blog, you should now build a framework for creating the actual pieces. Some of the things you need to decide are:
The type of blog – bulletins, interviews, opinion pieces, research or case study pieces, “how-to” articles.
Topics covered – a broad range within your sector, something more niche, something highly specific or technical.
How they’re written – highly formal or intellectual, humorous, direct and salesy.
How often you post – how often do you want to share something? How often is your audience likely to want to read them? What do you have the capacity to do on a consistent basis?
If your goal is to entertain and build a community around your brand, you can write about pretty much anything. Most likely you’ll want to keep it somewhat relevant to your industry because that’s likely to support commercial goals more directly. Either way, this brings us very nicely to step 2.
2. Decide what to write about
This is where great blog posts are forged. It’s hard to write something compelling about an inert topic or something you’re personally not interested in. This is why you need to combine three key ingredients.
Your area of interest
What your target audience wants to read about
With any one of three of these ingredients, you can write a blog. With two out of three, you can create a passible blog, but when all three come together, you’ll likely be able to create something useful.
Now, it’s important to note that when we’re thinking about what to write about, we want to be specific; not just “finance”, “family law” or “social media marketing”, for example. Effective blogs are about specific topics; something that can be covered in detail in a few thousand words – not something you’d tend to write an entire book about.
Solve a specific problem faced by members of your audience – as a service-based business owner, its likely that you already know the pain points of your customers, this can be a great starting point for a blog post
Add a unique point of view or expert insight into a relevant trending news story
Share a case study of a specific piece of work or success story
Tell them about a lesser-known feature or product that might help them out
Once you’ve decided on some niche topics that you could write about in such a way that contributes to the wider goals of having a company blog, it’s time to check what’s already out there. Now, if you’re not concerned about having your blogs rank on Google, and they’re purely for sharing on social media or keeping your blog active, it might not matter if 100 other people have written about this exact same topic before. However, if you do want to leverage blogs to attract organic search traffic, knowing what else is out there is extremely important.
Find some inspiration
If you’re really struggling to think of a potential topic to cover, see what other companies in your sector are producing on their blogs. Select a group of competitors, collaborators and influential outlets and check out their blog content. Which do you like? Which do you think might work for your website and for your audience? What content of theirs could you create better?
You might be able to combine a few of these posts to create a more in-depth or higher value piece. You might spot a key point that everyone seems to be missing. Maybe the higher-ranking articles are a few years out of date and there are some recent industry developments that would make your piece more relevant to people.
Finding topics to write about, especially in areas that others haven’t already swamped, is tricky at first, but as you become more experienced you’ll be able to go through the process quickly. You’ll also get better at thinking of titles that are likely to be a little unique in their subject matter. Speak to our SEO and Content team if you’d like some support on coming up with content ideas for your business.
3. Create something great
Now you’ve decided on the topics you want to cover and how to write about them, it’s time to create an amazing blog. In my opinion, you’ve done the hardest part. You should be about to pen an article about something you know about, that you’re passionate about and that you’re confident is going to be of value to your audience.
In theory, the content is already there in your head, you just need to get it down in the best possible way. You don’t have to get it right first time. You will need to edit and rework the piece several times over until it is the final product. You may realise that what you’re writing about doesn’t quite work as a blog or it should be a completely different piece. That’s fine.
Now is a good time to remember that it’s paramount that your reader finds value in your blog. In today’s online climate, anything but genuinely interesting and compelling content goes under the radar. Don’t let this be you.
The key components of an awesome piece of content.
You might associate this with ‘clickbait’. The reality is that people are drawn to certain article titles. “10 simple tricks to double your web sales today” is much more compelling than “How to earn more money from your website”. Your article might be fabulous but if users aren’t clicking on your link, it’s not going to get read. The title should also help signpost what your piece is about and who should read it.
The first few lines of a blog are crucial, but you don’t need to set the internet alight with them. Writing the perfect intro is as much about what not to write as it is about what it contains. The title has already done the main legwork in terms of signposting.
The intro needs to achieve two things:
Reassure a user they’re in the right place (give a little more info about what’s covered in the piece)
Give the reader a taste of your writing (you write fluidly and in a way that the reader will glean value)
The two things you must avoid are:
Alienating your reader (by using jargon, making a bad joke, conveying political allegiances, etc.)
Making mistakes or generally writing badly (misspellings, grammatical faux pas and using convoluted sentences)
Break up your text
In general, people using the internet like to consume information in bite-sized amounts, even if they’re reading a long article. Long paragraphs should be avoided and there are many tactics for breaking up your text. Use images, subheadings and bullet lists where appropriate.
List-format articles are incredibly popular because the text is naturally broken up frequently and information is delivered one digestible point at a time.
Make clear succinct points
Part of writing well is the ability to be concise. At no point should your reader feel like they’ve already read what they’re reading now. It’s very obvious when you’re making a point you’ve already made and your reader feels like they’re having something repeated to them, even if you’ve used slightly different wording.
Make your points clearly and move on to the next piece of information. This helps keep up the pace and prevents your reader from getting fidgety.
Answer the issue completely
Your piece should provide a comprehensive solution or complete picture of an issue. You can avoid going off on tangents by linking other articles or information when you think the reader might like to know more about a certain point. Outbound linking is usually a sign that you’re well-read around a topic and are aware that your audience may find other resources useful.
Articles can be extensive. If someone wants to read about a topic they’ll delve into it. It’s unlikely that you’ll deliver real depth in 300 words; that’s usually only sufficient for a quick update or a simple tip. For articles about something in any way technical or expressive, it’s common to see blogs of 1000-4000+ words. Most of the blogs on this site are between 1200 and 2500 words long, including this one.
Reflect on previous work
The best judge of how good a piece of content is is how well it’s received by the intended audience. How many reads did it get? What is the average time on page? What about the number of social shares or comments? Using these indicators, you’ll get a sense of the type of pieces that work well with your audience and those that miss the mark. By drawing trends and asking for feedback, you’ll be able to craft better and better blogs over time.
There are different approaches to blog-writing but the three-step process I’ve outlined above is the one that works for almost any kind of service business. It’s important to lay the foundation of a solid blog strategy by knowing what those blogs are out to achieve. Finding a little gap in the existing online literature that is something you can write about with interest is the next and most tricky step. Then it’s down to you to create something you’re proud of and to continue your development as a writer.
Our SEO team are well experienced in supporting service based businesses in creating high quality blogs, get in touch with us if you need support.
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