It may seem like a strange thing to say, but your business blog should never be about your business. Below I outline the top five reasons why.
1. The key thing to know about writing a blog for your business is that it has to be focused on value for the reader rather than just a promotion of your services and products. No one likes reading ‘puff pieces’ that are simply focused on how great you are at what you do. These are a real turn-off for most readers.
Instead focus on providing valuable information which adds to the reader’s knowledge and is useful to them. Of course, within blog posts that do that, you can mention your business or products or services, but keep the focus of the post on reader value rather than self-serving promotion.
2. Your blog is an important tool to build and demonstrate your authority and expertise in a particular area or specialism. Search engines like Google love and highly rank sites that demonstrate they are credible and authoritative through regular new content like blogs, but this can be substantially undermined if your blog posts just focus on telling the world how great you are.
So when you create your blog posts, remember that a key reason you are doing so is to demonstrate and differentiate yourself as an expert in your field. And know that you can do this without overtly promoting yourself or your brand name.
3. Related to the point above, you want your blog posts to be like a magnet for site visitors (and those who visit your site after seeing a post (or a snippet of a post) on social media). Engaging and useful blog posts will encourage visitors to return to your site time and time again, but in reality they are unlikely to do this if your posts are just inward-looking and self-promotional.
Instead think of your blog posts as an educational resource for your site visitors. You are providing them with useful and relevant information that is of value to them, in return for them visiting your site repeatedly.
Taking this a step further, you could if you wished plan a series of blog posts around a specific theme, such as a particular topic within your industry. As a series you are making it clear to the reader that they will learn more in the next and subsequent blog posts, thus encouraging them to come back again and again. Pick different themes over a period of time, and make it clear to the reader that each post is the latest or next one in the series about that particular topic.
4. Your blog posts will achieve a significantly greater impact if they are presented as impartial and honest. Remember blog posts are a key way for you to demonstrate your business’s expertise and authority in your field, and nothing shows this more than coming across as unbiased and knowledgeable.
If you fill your blog posts with self-congratulatory statements and overt self-promotional language, then it will be clear to the reader that you’re not unbiased and impartial, but rather self-serving and more interested in yourself than the reader (or the customer).
5. Blog posts are not company news articles. It is likely that on occasion you will have new or exciting news to tell the world about your business. Perhaps you have secured an important new client or contract, or you have just launched an innovative new service or product. Or maybe you’ve moved into bigger premises because your business is growing rapidly. Whatever the news, there are better ways to advertise and promote this than your blog.
Social media is a brilliant and fast way to reach hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people, and an ideal avenue for sharing company news. Or consider creating a press release for the media, which will ideally generate news coverage to your mainstream or specialist audience.
Having a dedicated news section on your website is another great (and more appropriate) option. You can populate this with all of your company news, from announcing the recruitment of a new member of staff, to reporting on your business’s financial performance if you are a publicly listed company.
The danger of using your blog section to promote company news is that the credibility and authority you have built up by publishing valuable and impartial posts in the past, will be damaged by news articles which by their very nature are self-serving and self-congratulatory. Even if you believe the item of news has wider impact than just on your company, the blog section is not the right place for it to be promoted.
So to sum up, think of your blog in a very different way to the other marketing activities that you do.
Blog posts are a highly effective way to build your reputation and status, but unlike other marketing tactics that you may use, they work in a different way and shouldn’t be advertising or self-promotion focused.
Instead they should demonstrate and evidence your expertise and credibility in a way that is useful to the reader and encourages them to return to your site time and again, whilst helping you get your business more highly ranked by search engines.
For more information on the value of blogs and how they should be used, contact Arup Biswas of Absolutely Write - The Content and Messaging Specialist for Start-ups and SMEs.