Are Your Blogs Part of Coffee Talk?
Which headline gets your attention?
IRS Releases Publication 587: Business Use of Your Home
A Dog Bed In Your Home Office Is Not Deductible
Both are blogs about the federal tax deductions permitted for home office expenses. Unless you are an accountant who gets enthralled with IRS publication releases, you probably will read the second headline - especially if you work from home and your dog spends the day with you in your office.
When asked for advice about blogs, we answer with a question: Are your blogs the subject of coffee talk?
Blogs are valuable real estate in the digital marketing space. They nurture the relationship with your existing customers, define your expertise and are influential in Google's search algorithms. Research shows that 75 percent of Google users don’t scroll beyond the first page of search results. Blogs published on your website and posted on social media are one way to help get your business onto that first search page.
They also reflect the human side of your business. "It’s where you find your voice. It’s where you explore your audience's issues and concerns. It’s where your business personality increases the potential of how likable your brand is. It’s what differentiates you from your competition," according to HubSpot.
Engaging in a consistent blog program is not easy for some businesses. It requires a commitment to the relevancy of the content and to the frequency. Your blog topics need to be well thought out and published at least once per month. You also need a robust social media content program that promotes the blogs and directs audiences to view them on your website.
Some business owners prefer producing blogs themselves, especially if they have writing skills and publishing experience. Some prefer hiring a content expert to write them. (Shameless plug: Clever Dogs Media does that.) Some use blogs provided by trade associations as part of their membership.
No matter who authors your blogs, here are a few tips to make them interesting, relevant and useful enough to share over a Cup of Joe:
Write a Headline That Says "Read Me"
If a headline is not compelling, you will lose 80 percent of potential clicks on the link to read it. A strong headline should be accurate and appealing to your intended audience. It should capture the most important point of the topic and be written in an active voice. Another important point - keep it tight. Search engines like Google and social media channels like Facebook prefer titles (called metatitles) fewer than 70 characters. For example, here is an interesting, direct blog title from our client, Johnson Memorial Health: Myths and Truths About Wine and Chocolate.
Write a Relatable Introduction
A good blog starts with an old storytelling trick - sharing an experience. Journalists are trained to write the most important part of the story in the lead (an inverted pyramid style of writing). Personal stories, experiences or reflections best capture an audience. For example, here is a compelling personal introduction in a blog about coping with stress from our client, Stillpoint Healing: My Grandmother's Garden.
Write About What They Call About
When searching for the best topics for your blog, look no further than the folks who handle your customer service calls. Ask them what customers want to know. Find out how they answer those calls or emails. For example, our client VisionQuest Eyecare published a blog that simply answers one of their most frequently asked questions from patients: How to Clean Your Eyeglasses.
Write in a Conversational Style
Blogs are more relatable when using common language and simpler sentences. A conversational writing style breaks most of Mrs. Miller's freshman Composition class rules (but not all). Sentences may begin with pronouns and end with verbs. Sometimes there are fragmented sentences infused to display a thought. Sentences may even begin with "and," "but," and "yet." For example, this blog by our client Arête Purpose Consulting violates most rules of Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" to make important points to high school seniors: Here's Your Graduation Gift: Some Advice.
Write For Your Customers, Not Your Peers
Blogs are not white papers or peer reviews. Blogs should be aimed at your target audience, not your colleagues. Because your blog should not exceed 500 words, avoid taking deep dives into your content. Your blog should share a cookie or two - with hopes that potential customers call you to purchase a dozen. Your customers are not necessarily familiar with all of your industry terminology. Don't insult their intelligence. You can link your lingo to definitions in Wikipedia or online terminology resources. For example, our client Academy Animal Hospital used laymen's terms to explain a rather complicated condition: Understanding Disc Disease in Dogs.
You want your blogs to generate traffic to your website and leads to your business. And what better way to get there than someone sipping their favorite blend and saying: "I read the most interesting blog..."
Clever Dogs Media is a digital marketing agency that focuses on website development and content.
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