When researching the art of blogging, one will often read this rule: Write with your ideal customer in mind. It is a powerful tip, one that comes second to my most sacred blogging rule: Provide value to your reader.
I am going to take my own advice and write for my ideal customer. Who is my ideal customer? It’s a small business owner who is just dipping their toe in social media. If I had a roomful of these people, what blogging advice would I give? What do I think would be the most helpful to learn and remember?
Do Not Forgo Personality
Many business bloggers write like they would write a memo. They use business language, they never incorporate humor, and while their posts have a purpose and a message, readers most likely never find it as they stop reading three sentences in.
Just because you are a business does not mean you need to write like you are in business school. You are a person, writing for people. Keep this in mind. If you want to stand out, trying reeling people in with humor, with voice, and with valuable posts. But I promise you will get more readers and more recognition if your blog has personality.
Encourage and Respond To Comments
Comments are a bloggers dream. You want people to respond to your hard work and to let you know what they gained from a post, or what they still want to learn. When you respond, do not respond in the voice of your company, but instead in the voice of a person. Be real and your real customers will respond.
Write Down The Goal of Your Blog
I think this is such an important step for any blogger to take, but especially a business blog. Why are you starting the blog? What do you hope to gain from it? Are you writing the blog as a way to engage with customers? Are you writing it in order to add another branch to your customer service? Are you adding it in order to ramp up your SEO?
Knowing the answer to this will help you figure out what to write and who to position it toward. If it’s engagement, then you want to pay close attention to your comment section. If it’s customer service, you’re going to want to make sure you have Google Alerts set up and know how to find what people are saying about you on the web. If it’s SEO, you’re going to have to focus a lot of attention on key words, and possible hire someone to manage your SEO.
Do Not Underestimate The Power Of Design
Your blog has to look pretty. It should look like an extension of your website, which has to do with branding. You are running a business blog, so brand it so that it fits in with the rest of your promotional materials. Use the same logo, the same colors, and please hire a professional to design it. It will be money well spent. The last thing a business blog should feel is amateur, or potential customers will assume your work is amateur as well.
Additionally, when writing posts, make sure to remember the three guides of blog formatting:
-Using headers to break up text
The web is not like a book; people skim blog posts and skim them good. Give their eye a break with large headers, with a lot of white space, and by using photographs or illustrations. You’ll keep them there longer.
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Outside World
Your business blog should not just be about YOUR business. It should be about the business you are in at large. Don’t just promote yourself, promote your industry. Give us your views on the industry news. Promote others who you think are doing a good job, as long as they are not your direct competition. Make the blog interesting by not making it all about you.
You Are Not Alone
My last piece of advice is to be patient with your blog. At first it may feel like you’re getting no response and you are spending time you could be spending actually doing “real” work in order to send 500 words it into the abyss. Tia Peterson at BizChickBlogs wrote a great post on this phenomenon. Keep in mind that readers will come, and that your business blog will add credibility, value, and respect to your company. In addition to boosting you higher and higher in the search engines.
Do you have any rules for your business blog I didn’t mention? Do you already follow any of these rules?
September 16, 2010
I love your article and the layout / look of your blog. Thank you for the succinct information. http://www.PlanABrand.com – http://www.PlanABrand.blogspot.com – Cindy
September 16, 2010
Thanks for the comment and compliment! I hope the info helped.
September 16, 2010
Naughty me, as I am still not using headers to break up text. I have to get into this habit. I love to receive comments on my blog, and I like doing the same on the blogs that I like.
A big turn off for me is when I continuously comment on a blog and there is not even a single response by the writer. That is just bad blogging habit and I don’t expect them to be around for long.
Another noble thing to do is help out on very popular blogs by responding to comments left on a post. It is helping the busy bloggers lighten the load so that they can continue to put out quality posts. I have started to do this and I find it very fulfilling.
Inspiring post Rebecca, thanks.
September 16, 2010
I think you will find using headers and lists and ways of writing that breaks up text will really help people read your blog easier. I know that in the blogs I read, I am much more partial to ones with broken up text. However, on your blog, your posts are so short that they are easy to read anyway. So I wouldn’t worry too much about the headers.
I agree that bloggers who don’t respond to comments is just plain rude. Perhaps a post on the etiquette of blogging is in my future.
I have never responded for a blogger to comments left on their post, but it’s an interesting idea. I’ll definitely keep my eye out for it and see how it works.
Thanks for the comment!