Here’s a 6-step blogging checklist to consult before you hit “publish.”
It’s About Them, Not You
We work with clients on a regular basis on the development of corporate blog content and this is something we wrestle with often. Businesses are used to pushing marketing tactics and a natural inclination is to talk incessantly about your company and how great you are. Wrong-o.
Instead, remember that no matter what business you’re in, your number one business is solving the problems of your customers and prospective customers. Write about those things, not about you. Focus your corporate blog on helping your customers and you’ll be on the right path. Ask yourself questions:
- What are their problems?
- What do they wake up worrying about every day?
- How can they differentiate themselves from the competition?
- What tools might make them more efficient?
- What changes or trends are occurring in the industries they serve?
Write about those things.
Establish yourself as an authority in subject matter that your customers and prospects care about. Trust me, your readers will find that much more valuable and it’ll give them exponentially more reasons to trust and like you, not to mention coming back for more and/or hiring you to help them solve the problems you’re writing about. Way better than a seemingly endless loop of “101 Reasons Why We’re So Great!”.
No doubt about it, the headline is the trickiest part of a blog post to write. You’ve got limited real estate (Google likes headlines of 60 characters or less) in which you need to quickly ”sell” the topic of your post. If you don’t make your headlines compelling (and keyword-optimized), chances are good nobody will be reading your blog post. Period.
Your First Sentence Is Key
Just like your headline, your blog’s first sentence is critical. Make sure you’ve included relevant keywords in your first sentence and make sure they mirror keywords used in your title. This is your opportunity to hook your reader – if you don’t deliver in those first few sentences, you can believe they’ll likely not be hanging around for the balance of your post.
Subheads Make Reading Easier
Remember when I said your blog is about helping your customers? Not only do you want to keep them in mind when you’re selecting topic ideas, you also want to make sure you’re tailoring your blogs to fit their needs. When they visit your blog, they came looking for information and they’re most likely scanning your content to see if it suits their needs. Subheads help people more quickly scan a post for relevant information and make your post easier to read and understand. Additionally, subheads can give you an opportunity to use more keywords, which makes Google happy (one of my main goals in life).
Respect Their Attention Span
To piggyback off of that last thought, your readers aren’t just pressed for time—they likely are juggling a lot of demands and thoughts at once. Think about your own content consumption habits, for example—you probably read a lot of posts and articles and status updates and the like every day, right? That’s why it’s key to respect your readers. Don’t write long-form blog posts that will lose your readers before they hit the halfway point. Instead, serve them the information and resources they need in concise, easy-to-digest paragraphs. Trust me—they’ll be grateful! In fact, this post is too long!!
Deliver What You Promise
There’s nothing worse than being drawn into a blog post by a compelling headline, only to reach the middle and be frustrated you didn’t get the information or value you expected. I don’t know about you, but it irks me to no end. Think about that as you create your blog posts, and look at them with a critical eye. Are you giving your readers the information you claim they’ll receive in your headline and opening paragraph? If not, edit until you do.
One additional tip? Blogging is hard work! Trust me – I do it every day, for myself and for our clients and know full well what a challenge it is. Your blog can be one of your most valuable marketing tools, if you let it. But if you don’t feed it with fresh, relevant content, it can’t work for you. For me and my firm, as well as for our clients in both the B2B and the B2C space, our corporate blogs are, without question, one of our most valuable corporate assets that must deliver value on a daily basis.
What about you? Where are you with your corporate blogging efforts? Where do you need help? Ask us here and I’ll be glad to do what I can to help. And if you’re an established blogger, we’d love for you to weigh in – what other advice would you add?
This post originally appeared on the Social North blog
Image: Maria Reyes-McDavis via Compfight cc