Last week, the Grammar Chic, Inc. team offered a few tips for businesses just getting into the blogging routine. Today, we’re going to hone in on an important concept for new and seasoned business bloggers alike—the concept of readability.
Obviously, you want your blog to offer value, you want it to be interesting to read, and you want it to cast your business in the best light possible. All of that is predicated on your blog being approachable, accessible even to lay people. After all, if reading your blog is nightmarishly difficult, headache-inducing, or just flat-out impossible, then it’s ultimately just a waste of your time and effort.
In other words, your blog should be for readers, not for you—but how can you ensure that your blog can, in fact, be read and enjoyed by lay people?
Missing The Forest For The Trees
You know your business better than your customers do—at least, we hope you do! If you’re the company’s owner, you know it better than anyone in the world. You’re likely brimming over with insights into your industry and vertical, as well—but that can be sort of a mixed blessing when it comes to blogging. You can become so bogged down in the minutiae of your business, with insider perspectives and little technicalities, that you miss the big picture and bypass the things your readers really care about. You can miss the forest for the trees.
The first step toward readability, then, is stepping outside of Business Owner mode, and putting yourself in the mindset of your customers and clients. What questions do they have? What aspects of your company are truly relevant to them? What do they need to know to get more out of your products, or to feel confident buying from you in the first place? What problems do they need solved? Buyer personas may be helpful here, but even if you don’t have time for that, do make sure you think in terms of consumer value, not the nuts-and-bolts stuff that only you really care about.
Formatting Matters, Too
Good, readable blogs are value-focused, consumer-oriented, and devoid of technical talk and jargon—but they’re also well formatted. You can have a really accessible bit of content, and totally ruin it by presenting it as one epically long, unbroken paragraph—something that’s just a pain to read.
To ensure that your content is actually easy to digest, keep in mind the following:
- When applicable, numbers and bullet points help to break up paragraph-after-paragraph monotony.
- Section subheadings and images can also be great ways to separate your content into digestible chunks; your subheadings will also be useful for skimmers.
- Online attention spans are usually less than stellar, so make a substantive point without rambling too much.
- Keeping each blog post to a single point is the best way to make it digestible and memorable.
Again: Put yourself in the shoes of an average reader. Think about the kinds of blog posts that you would actually read, and perhaps even enjoy—and use that to guide you.
Amanda, great post, thanks! However, I would look at the word “readable” from one more side – are your blog posts readable by the enough amount of people? Because if you just write good stuff and put it out there, who’s going to read it?
Facebook plans to cut the organic reach again in Jan 2015. Twitter is acting in a similar manner. So, it’s time to use new ways to reach your audience. For example:
If you have a lot o interesting and quality images in your posts, use http://www.pinterest.com
If you have a lot of photos – Instagram could be helpful.
If you want to be connected to a blogging community and reach audiences of like-minded bloggers, growing your audience and traffic, you can try http://www.atcontent.com
There are many other solutions and you can always spend an hour or two to find the best for you. Don’t rely on SEO – it’s not simple and requires 6-12 months of your hard work. You can do things faster with new platforms.