If you still think of bloggers as super-enthusiastic people about super-boring things (virtual medieval communities, all things cats), pause the Friends marathon and follow along with us here for a few minutes because we’re about to introduce you to one of the most effective ways to market your brand.
In this crazy world of 140 characters, how could I possibly expect to draw anyone’s attention with something as long-winded as a blog post, you may be saying, and understandably so. We live in an era where videos that run longer than a few seconds need to be captioned, “Wait for it.” But, if it’s useful, they will come. And read. Probably to the end. Or, at least, somewhere around the middle. We’re still holding your attention, aren’t we? More on that in a minute, though. (Wait for it.)
Your Blogging Voice
Blogging is writing and writing is creative, but there is a bit of science behind blogging that makes its effectiveness quantifiable. A site is only as good as the traffic it generates. And that traffic’s likely to be greater the higher up the search-engine results the site sits. We’re not telling you anything here you don’t already know. Here’s where it gets interesting: That ranking is influenced in part by the size of the site because each page is indexed by the search engines. Which means that every blog post is an opportunity to add another page to your site. It’s also a chance to incorporate more SEO-friendly content. Two birds, one stone.
Beyond those algorithms, blogging is a means to fill in the details of your brand’s persona. You’re offering something—maybe advice, maybe a peek behind the curtain—with no strings or a price attached to it, and that helps your company feel a little more approachable, a little more human. All the while, you’re also establishing yourself as an expert in your field. You’re displaying your knowledge in a (hopefully) unpretentious way for all your peers to see. After enough posts, your blog begins to actively network on your behalf.
Is it really that simple? Yes. And no. Everything above this sentence is the easy part. The challenge comes in actually writing the blog. There are lots of ways to go wrong. Waxing on about virtual medieval communities and all things cats, for example. But, follow our lead and you’ll find your way.
Know your material
Whether someone arrives at your post organically, through a specific search, or by way of a social media link, you want to make sure, foremost, that you’re delivering on your promise. In blogging about anything, you’re essentially labeling yourself an authority. But that trust is easily broken by under-delivering on a very ambitious headline, by misstating facts, and by talking in generic terms. And that’s just for starters. So know your subject inside and out and convey that by writing with an intimate specificity. When you’ve settled on your talking points, narrow them even further and support them with a very precise piece of research that directly underlines your point.
Find your niche
Before you type a single word, ask yourself a simple question: Is what I’m about to share relevant? Then answer it honestly. This is entry-level business school stuff. If there’s no demand, there’s no sense in building up a supply. In order for a blog post to be effective, it needs to be useful. So, define a purpose for the post and make sure that it serves your audience’s needs and your own. If you’re not starting a meaningful conversation, or picking up on one, you’re adding to the online clutter. Even worse, you’re killing your chances of any of those valuable visitors returning to read a second post.
Pull back the veil
To an extent. There is still such a thing as oversharing. Do keep the tone personal and conversational. Don’t detail your brainstorming session for your last blog post. After all, this blog is an extension of your brand, so you want to always be conscious of how you’re portraying that culture. A look at how a particularly popular product came to fruition is interesting and, in turn, beneficial. An anecdote that describes your decision-makers in an unflattering light unnecessarily—and probably irreversibly—raises doubt. Candidness is encouraged. Just be selective about what you’re being candid about. Remember, you control the message.
Be a meticulous editor
In that vein, the quality of the writing matters here. You may be able to get away with the occasional misspelling or misguided possessive pronoun on Instgram, but the search engines are paying attention to those errors and devaluing your posts accordingly. Not to mention, you’re losing credit with your readers. Mistakes are a way of saying, “My time is too valuable to care.” So why would they, then, fork over theirs to continue reading? Also, less is more. Be as economical with your word counts as you can be. Your readers’ attention spans are not infinite. But we’ve already said too much.