I’m often asked to help people write their blogs. It can be one for a charity, related to their hobby or a very personal one about their take on life.
But I’m asked to cast my eye over the blogs people write for their company or area of business expertise too. Many are informative, witty, engaging and everything you would hope a well-crafted blog would be.
Sadly a few others I’m asked to help with are, to be honest, fairly dull.
Luckily, with almost 25 years of journalistic experience behind me, I’ve picked up many skills to make even the most turgid subject matter sparkle a little brighter.
Here are my top seven tips on how to make your business blog a more satisfying read.
* Business is certainly about acquisitions and projected sales as well as quality control and the bottom line. But it’s also about people. Try to make your blogs focus more on the human angle if you can. Your boss may run the most successful but also most mundane of firms in the area so try to pull out any interesting personal tales that are hidden away. We all like being told a good story.
* Keep your reader in mind. Don’t stuff your blog full of industry jargon and acronyms if it’s for the public – they won’t understand it. And even if it’s for others in your same line of work, that’s no excuse to make it a real effort to read.
*Of course, we all like to bask in some well-earned praise when we do well. But I’ve read many blogs where winning regional industry awards in obscure categories has taken on the importance of scooping an Oscar, Nobel Peace Prize and Olympic gold medal all rolled into one. A bit of self-congratulation is fine, but try and keep it in perspective, even in your own company blog.
*Use your blog to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge in your particular field. Maximise its relevance by commenting on topical issues in your business or use it to set the agenda and raise relevant points. That will engage others to comment too.
*Decide on your tone of voice and how you want to come across. As mentioned above, you may want to be seen as an authority in your business sector. You also might want to come across in your blog as less formal and present a lighter touch as a way of getting others interested in your business. That’s fine too, but think carefully about how others inside and outside of your business will view your blog if you take a more idiosyncratic approach.
*Not every blog should be a full-on sales pitch. Be more subtle and use it to inform your reader about something extra about your product or service. For instance, you may take it for granted where your raw materials come from, but to others this might be a fascinating nugget of ‘insider’ information. Again a story and some additional insight can be part of a much more softly-softly long term campaign approach.
*It’s hard if you have to produce a regular blog to a set deadline. You might struggle to find something fresh or interesting to say. But don’t waffle for the sake of it. It’s better to keep the blog short and work on a single idea rather than allowing it to turn an unfocused rant. Impose your own word limit - in my opinion anything between 500-600 words is ideal.
Journalist and MD of The Sentence Works