Feels as though your blogs are well-written but that your still not getting as many readers as you’d like? Sometimes it can be tough to built a loyal audience but hang in there – they will come; you just need to be patient.
When we first started our travel blog Double-Barrelled Travel, only our friends and family read it. Now we have a large readership and nothing makes us smile more than when we receive a friendly comment from someone we don’t know.
So don’t lose heart if you haven’t yet got this far with your business blog – it will happen.
And to help you, check out our few tips for the dos and don’ts to improving your business blog and it will be taking off in no time.
Do – Have an eye catching headline
Those sensationally titled blog articles screaming about murder and sex and intrigue at the sidebar of most news websites are called ‘click bait’. They are specially designed to catch a readers’ attention even if the story doesn’t deliver what the headline promises.
It’s a trick, sure, but that’s no reason you can’t use the same technique – perhaps a little more honestly though! (If your headlines relate to your blog, your SEO will thank you for it.)
The headline is the most important part of the story, bar none. Keep it simple, concise and exciting. It should summarise the main thrust of the blog in an interesting way. Spend a lot of time crafting one and you’ll see the rewards.
Some good ideas are to answer a question or to ask a question. For example: How to get more followers on Twitter or Why isn’t anyone reading my business blog?
Do – Begin with a question
If you can’t fit a tease into the headline in the form of a question, considering answering one at the beginning of your blog post. This way you can grab a tight hold on your readers’ attention spans.
You’re also better off beginning with a bold statement or a rush of impressive facts. Engage the reader with your arguments and examples, don’t risk pushing them away with a lazy question.
Do – Use clear, every day language
The American writer William Faulkner criticised his rival Ernest Hemingway by saying ‘he has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary’. Hemingway hit back with ‘poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?’
They don’t. It’s simpler to use the word ‘walk’ instead of ‘perambulate’, or ‘chew’ instead of ‘masticate’. A blog filled with jargon and complex language is a turn off, unless you are a professor of linguistics or you’ve swallowed a dictionary.
Don’t – Give too much information
The best blogs summarise the more complex aspects of what they cover so a casual reader isn’t bored to death. Even if you are writing for a very niche industry, like oil and gas, it is still crucial that your writing doesn’t get bogged down in technical details. Link to other web pages that explain in greater detail what you are talking about – you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. Readers want to know what you think, not what you know.
Keep the personality in your blog.
Do – Tell a story
A good blog has a hook, and then a theme that runs through it from beginning to end carrying the reader along for the ride. Before you tap a single key, ask yourself, why am I writing this blog?
It may be to announce a new product or a promotion or generate some buzz for an upcoming event. Whatever the reason, there must be a compelling story built around it. Tell the reader about the ups and downs you experienced getting your new product in from drawing board to sales floor. People want to be entertained, not told a list of facts by a robot.
Don’t – Bury the lead
Any news story worth its salt will tell you the main fact of the story straight away. If a boy missing in the woods is found you don’t begin your report by describing how many police and volunteers were involved in the search. When considering what to write you should identify at least one main fact or event and build everything around it. Start strong.
Do – Express yourself, it’s your blog!
A blog is a very personal way of communicating and connecting with your customers. It’s a chance to show what you know, what you think and feel. It’s not a quarterly report or an investor presentation. Don’t say anything offensive or stupid, but don’t be afraid to say what you think. Readers hate hollow PR driven jargon speak as much as you inwardly hate it too.
Don’t – Publish your first draft
Writing is revision.
Hammer out the first version of your blog then read it. Note the errors. Then rewrite it. You will be surprised how much you can improve your writing by editing it. An oft quoted phrase in writing circles is ‘kill your darlings’.
If the joke you thought was a slam dunk may be a rim shot with a second glance, get rid of it! Replace it with something better. Write, revise, and then revise again.
Do – Include a call to action
If you follow these dos and don’ts, your blog will have a unique voice, a story and a point. But when it comes to end it, make sure you ask something of the reader. It could be to check out the new product, comment on what you’ve written, read a white paper, or to get in touch. Don’t let the full stop of your final sentence be the end of it. Blogs can create dialogue and interaction. Think of them as a keynote speech where afterward you take questions from the floor.
Over to you! Do you know any great tips for blogging?