If content is king these days, then blogs are queen. Blogs provide an excellent way for you to connect with potential customers, and to provide them with useful resources that solve their problems.

As a business owner, it is your job to connect with potential clients in as many ways as possible, both online and off. Part of that role is building trust with them. You do this by providing value. If someone is searching for “how to write web copy” and stumbles across your blog on web copy and design, you may be the one to provide the information they are looking for. And if they’re also looking for a web designer in the process? Well, I’m sure you’d be happy to accommodate.

Writing Blog Posts that Rock

Not all blog posts are worth reading. I’m still amazed how many bloggers haven’t recognized that blogs have their own writing style that is very different from, say a book or report. The blog posts that get the most attention have:
  • Short paragraphs packed with good content and solid writing
  • Subheaders that break up the content
  • Bullet points that highlight key points and are easily scannable
  • Conversational, not stuffy, dialogue
  • Short and to-the-point sentences
  • Appealing images or charts

Remember people’s attention spans. They’re short. They should be able to scan your post and get the gist; otherwise you’ll lose them before they even know what your post is about.

What to Write About

There is literally no end to the possibilities you can write about on your blog; news in your industry alone is ever-changing and warrants posts on a wide range of topics. You can also provide how-tos or tips on using your product. You can write editorial posts on your thoughts on your industry, or your experience in working for your company. You can link to other related posts on other blogs, and wax poetically on the subject.

I like to list out my topics a month in advance to help me from getting writer’s block. I read a lot of business magazines and books, as well as browse other blogs for ideas. When I find a good one, I write it down (otherwise I’ll forget it). When I need an idea, I open my spreadsheet, and there I have dozens of topics to cover.

Getting Eyeballs

If your blog has no readers, does it really exist? In terms of marketing, no, it really doesn’t. It’s your duty to help people find your blog. Make sure you’re using keywords in your posts to help people find your blog in search engines. It’s also wise to install a widget that lets you list additional keywords. I like the All-in-One SEO widget.

You want to share your posts across your social media channels. Use Tweetburner to automatically publish new posts to your Twitter stream, and set up an RSS feed for your Facebook Page. Make sure you have a link from your website to your blog, and include a link in your email newsletter, as well as your company signature.  Your blog should be listed on everything from your business card to product packaging, to get as much exposure as possible.

And make it easy for others to share: include a ShareThis bar at the bottom of each post so that readers can easily click to share your post on social media and social bookmarking sites. The more people share it, the more others will read it.

Building readership takes time, but if you focus on solid writing that provides value to the reader, and make it as easy as possible to share, you’ll see traffic grow.