By day, I’m a professional blogger. I write for a wide variety of clients, delivering polished blog posts on everything from bankruptcy to martini mixes (someone should combine the two for a great niche market). But by night, I’m just as worn out as you, and I frequently struggle to keep my own personal blog updated. That being the case, I understand that blogging is no easy task. However, when you make your blog interesting, exciting, and valuable, your task will become much easier.
Before we launch into some fun approaches to blog writing, I want to remind you that your blog is not your storefront. A blog is not supposed to be a more in-depth or personal version of your product page. It shouldn’t simply rehash your company’s “mission statement.” And it definitely shouldn’t bore people to tears. Yes, all this is easier said than done. After all, that’s why blog writing often gets outsourced. But if you’re stuck with your business blog, try climbing out of the rut with one (or a mix) of these approaches:
#1 Living Portfolio
A blog that showcases what your company can do is invaluable. It’s a great way to show potential clients that you’re actively involved in practicing what you preach. Plus, it’s a friendly and rather sly way of handing someone your resume. I love how Matchstic, an Atlanta branding agency, uses their company website to show off what they’ve been up to. Check out this post on their re-branding of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. It’s clean, informative, and makes you think, “I should hire these guys!”
When you use your blog as a portfolio, you get to brag about yourself, your clients, and also demonstrate your authority in your industry. Also, this type of blog writing is great for business because the client you feature is definitely going to share the post with their audience, thereby spreading your reach.
#2 Unified Front
The second way you can use your blog to improve your website is by giving staff members their own voice. Personally, I’m proud of how our company, Content Equals Money, does this with our own in-house blogging. Some of us get overwhelmed with client work from time to time, but for the most part, all of our CEM writers regularly contribute to the blog.
Currently, we have about seven different bloggers, each with their own unique voice, that contribute to the blog. Our interests range from branding to management to analytics software, and everywhere in between. Some writers focus on strategy and advice, while others share interesting news stories that are relevant to our audience. However, this approach to blog writing is successful because all of our writers share the same goal when publishing content to the CEM blog. We all want to help our readers run faster, smarter, better companies with content marketing!
#3 Challenge Series
One of my favorite approaches to blog writing is creating a challenge series. This works really well for companies or individuals that provide a service. This past summer, writer Jeff Goins really embodied the principle of the “Challenge Series” approach to blogging. Goins is a clear and dedicated writer, and he is making a living by inspiring others to do the same.
In June, he announced his 15 Habits of Great Writers Series, which was a fifteen day long challenge to help aspiring writers develop great habits. The first post in the series has 545 comments at the time of writing. Clearly, Goins was doing something popular. By creating a challenge series, Goins provided his valuable services free of charge. The response he received was overwhelming! Also, I remember seeing him do a great job of interacting with his participants via Twitter this past June. Chances are, your company could do something like this with your own readership!
#4 Tell a Story
Any of these approaches can be exciting ways to mix things up. But, if you want to really get people interested in your blog, you have to tell a story! As people, we’re naturally attracted to story telling. As you write for your blog, don’t forget that you can be should be telling a story.
I may have mentioned this company before, but Proof Branding in Nashville does a great job of story telling through their company blog. They’re always sharing bits and pieces of their own work, development, and aspirations for the future. And, you know what? This approach really resonates with readers!
#5 Share Success
When you do something well, you want others to know about it, right? Assuming your mom doesn’t have the same number of Twitter followers as your company does, the sharing is up to you. Check out how Red Pepper shared the news that they had turned Kirkland’s Facebook page into the 6th fastest growing Facebook page in the world. That’s no small feat! Red Pepper shares this success story without being egotistical or turning off readers. In fact, you’ll find yourself celebrating with them as you read.
Also, don’t feel limited to sharing company successes. If your employees are doing something exciting that’s unrelated to work, share that, too! Remember, readers need to be able to identify with your blog. In order to create those bonds, you have to be personable. Is someone in the office taking off nine months to hike the Appalachian Trail? Maybe an employee is leaving to launch his own venture? Whatever it is, talk about it. People are always interested in hearing success stories!
#6 Highlight Changes
Sometimes a company can undergo major changes. Oh, who are we kidding? Nearly everyday companies undergo major changes. As a small B2B company ourselves, we know that as well as anyone! In order to grow, adapt, and sometimes just survive, you have to be willing to make changes. When you mix things up, you probably have a great blog post on your hands!
If you want to see an example, check out the Evernote blog, which does a great job of updating customers on recent changes. They don’t just tell customers what changed, they tell them why that change is so much better (check out this post), which is a key part of the “highlighting changes” approach.
#7 Industry News
Lastly, I want to encourage you to share industry news. You may feel like you don’t have anything to add in this regard, but it’s important to remember that your blog’s readers are not reading the same content you are reading. Maybe “that one news story” is popping up all over your feeds, but you have to remember that your readers probably aren’t looking at the same websites and Twitter accounts that you are.
The CEM blog does a good job of sharing industry-specific news. (I can say that since I never write news-related posts!) Even though I probably read a lot of the same content that my fellow bloggers read, I’m continually brought up to date by posts like this one from Patrick, which highlights changes at Facebook. It’s almost a sure bet that you have an upper hand on your readership when it comes to industry news. Take advantage of the fact!
Make Your Blog Interesting!
These seven techniques can be applied to virtually any business blog. Not only will they improve your website, but they’ll make blog writing more fun for you. When you become passionate and interested in your blog once more, your readers will, too. So, remember: have fun. Don’t be boring. There’s simply no excuse any more!
What other types of blog writing have you discovered for creating interesting posts?