Everyone (or nearly everyone) knows the benefits of blogging in today’s business world. A strong blog is nearly incomparable to other online tools for its ability to create an online presence, a sense of community within your market, and an avenue of direct communication from you to your specific target audience. A blog gives a company an opportunity to work on their branding, establish themselves as an authority, and release company news to their clients.
In this modern technological era, the information age, having a strong, active, and social online presence has become an absolute must. That being said a blog is only as powerful a tool as the person wielding it; sometimes it’s better to not blog at all than it is to have an out of date, poorly written, or lackluster blog.
[box] Good Blogs Build Relationships[/box]
The entire point of a blog is to build a relationship with an audience. There’s no point writing a blog if no one is going to read it. A good blog is a person to person connection, with real human interaction. A good blog transfers knowledge, ideas and experiences.
Compelling content makes or breaks a blog. By publishing your blog you’re stating that what you have to say is worth not only your own time to write and publish, but worth others to read it. And, if what your publishing (content) isn’t up to snuff, your readers will be dissatisfied and end the relationship.
So, if you are passionate, excited, and ready to start a blog here are some guidelines for creating cogent, intelligent, and powerful content for your blog.
1) Make it Pertinent
No matter how well written, or how informative the blog post, without that it is wasted breath.
Relevance should be your number one priority when writing a blog post. Know your audience and gauge what will not only be appropriate, but pertinent. This is important to build authority within your chosen niche. If your company specializes in the food industry, your readers will likely be uninterested in a blog post about the latest fashion in footwear. Likely, you’ll lose branding power as well.
2) Include Useful Information
It’s not enough that a blog post be relevant to a subject. It also needs to be useful and important information. You blog should aim to help and educate its audience, offering something they can take away. People appreciate information they can do something with, and will return to your blog if you consistently offer posts that are not only relevant, but useful.
Why do most blogs fail? Well, according to www.diythemes.com, most blogs are too self-absorbed. It is not uncommon to find blogs that become a podium for the authors every thought and feeling. This pulls them away from solid, useful content, and suddenly their blog flounders and fails. Check out this good-natured video diythemes.com made about the reason why blogs fail:
3) Make it Engaging
A blog post must be well written. And it’s not enough to have perfect grammar and spelling; it needs to be personal, interesting, and interactive. Try and let your personality shine through in your writing. Don’t be afraid to write in a conversational tone. Personal stories and anecdotes are a great way to make a blog post more engaging. Southwest’s blog does a solid job keeping it personable.
4) Spark Discussion
This goes along with engaging your reader. It is extremely important to generate as much conversation and discussion as possible in your blog. Great posts should generate discussion, so don’t forget to include your readers.
Ask for feedback, thoughts, opinions, or even just comments. Include a call to action at the end of article to garner a response. And don’t forget to participate once the discussion starts; respond to comments, emails, and questions!
5) Keep it Readable
We’ve all seen the blog posts that we in the industry like to call the ye old wall o’ text. No one reads these. They can be the best, most interesting, well written articles, but if they’re not easily readable they get skipped over. This isn’t prose, so keeps your thoughts succinct and to the point.
Bullets, lists, graphs and images are a great way to make sure your content is easy to read. Always preview your work before you publish, and make sure it’s scannable. Check out this blog for a great job of making a hard to write subject extremely readable.
6) Appropriate Length
This is a bit trickier. Some say good blog posts should hover right around 500 words. Others say it needs to be longer.
The truth is both simpler and more complicated. A blog post should be as long as it needs to be. By this, I mean that it should be as long as it takes for you to succinctly and clearly state your idea. If you can write a well thought out, complete article in 400 words, that’s great. If you can keep it interesting, engaging, relevant and informative all the way to 1,500 words, then it’s still a great blog post.
These are the general characteristics I’ve take note of while reading great blog posts.
In the end, as long as you offer quality, pertinent information in a readable and engaging manner consistently your blog should do well, hopefully fostering a sense of online community as well as helping build a person to person relationship with your readers.
Did I exclude anything important for quality content and strong blog posts? Or have you seen a great exception to these rules? I’d love to hear about it!