These blogging tips can help you turn your blog into an industry resource you can be proud of.
A blog can be one of the best tools to grow your business, and its online presence. Instead of a handful of static pages, a blog turns your website into a constantly updated industry resource your customers can utilize time and again within the future.
When you write a well-optimized blog post, it can rank on its own in the search engines, creating an alternative path into your website. You’ve now created a house with hundreds or thousands of doors, instead of a small handful of doors that you vaguely hope your online customers will find.
It also serves as a great way to educate and entertain your readers, as you build your audience.
35 Blogging Tips to Expand Your Digital Presence
If you follow these blogging tips, you should be able to build a blog that your readers will value.
- Vary the Length – One of my editors during my journalism days used to tell me to let the story dictate the length, and he was right. Don’t stretch out simple posts just to create something longer. Don’t leave key details out of a post for no other reason than to shorten it. People will still read long form content. You just have to make it friendly.
- Create a Marketing Plan – Everything you do on your blog should fit in with your larger business goals. It should be part of a larger plan to grow your audience, increase your customer base, and establish yourself as a leader within your industry. Learn more about creating a marketing plan. This is one of the most important blogging tips, because it can help keep you on track for business success.
- Know Your Audience – Who are you really talking to? A blog that addresses other industry insiders will carry a significantly different tone than one aimed at your customer base. Not understanding your audience can be a fatal mistake.
- Understand Your Theme – What is the overall message you are trying to convey to your readers? Stick to it!
- Spelling and Grammar Count – Constant mistakes in your writing can erode trust with your readers. It may not seem like too big of deal to you, but it is to your audience, and can cost you sales.
- Write About What Matters – What are the questions your customers regularly ask you? What are some common industry misconceptions? When you write about the things your audience is interested in, you have built in eyeballs. It’s also a great way to keep readers engaged with what you are doing.
- Be Real – Just because you are writing for your business and it should be professional, doesn’t mean it has to be overly stuffy. Use contractions. Get a little personal. Be authentic. Understand the difference between formal and professional.
- Let Go of the Geek Speak – If you are writing for a general audience that doesn’t have as much industry knowledge as you do (as most blogs do), skip the inside baseball. If you have to include industry terms or concepts, define them. If you have to include acronyms, spell them out on first use. You don’t need to prove how smart you are. You need to educate.
- Generate Ideas Any Way You Can – Ideas come from everywhere. Conversations you had with friends, family, or potential clients can generate blog ideas. Most of all, ideas come in the low-pressure situations, when you are able to relax your brain a little. Taking out the garbage, taking a shower, unloading the dishwasher – ideas come when you least expect it, so don’t be afraid to shut down the computer and relax from time to time.
- Read Everything – What are the leaders of your industry saying? What are the major conventional tips? Have you read the classics, the up and coming books, and the books that are a little deeper on the bookshelf in your industry? Also, what books outside your industry do you enjoy reading? There are ways to tie anything back to your business or niche.
- Learn How to Focus – Writing can be a difficult endeavor, especially with so many distractions surrounding us. Headphones, offices with closed doors, and the ability to close out of our social media tabs from time to time can all allow you the ability to focus on the important tasks (such as writing) and not always caving to constant distractions.
- Network in Person – Your in person contacts may be some of the biggest advocates of your work. They represent stronger ties, and can become great advocates. It’s easier to establish trust, and stronger business relationships in person.
- Guest Post – Find a few industry websites you absolutely love. Study their content. If they accept guest posts, submit. This is still one of the best ways to bring people back to your site, and interest them in what you do.
- Write Frequently – The goal is to establish yourself as an expert in your field. The goal is to create and maintain some name recognition in your industry. The best way to do that is to maintain a consistent presence. Write as frequently as you can, but make sure you are publishing professional content.
- Stay Passionate – Your readers will quickly be able to determine what kind of passion you have for your industry. Your business and your blog should make you light up when you talk about them. If not, it’ll become increasingly difficult to write in a way that you are able to differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Good Design Wins – A strong website design draws your readers into the content. It makes the user experience easier. Good design can be the difference between someone reading your blog, or moving on to the next result in the search engines.
- Consider the Visual – Your posts should be written with scanners in mind. Blog readers only invest a few seconds before they decide whether to close out and move on. Subheads, short paragraphs, lists, and powerful photos help sway readers’ decision in your favor. Remember, people are with you by choice, and it’s wise to do everything you can to keep them there.
- Pay Attention to Word Choice – Strong, punchy verbs greatly improve readability. Short sentences are better than long sentences. $10 words can be replaced with their .50-cent counterparts, so that your audience will understand. If you send them away to look up a word, they’re not coming back.
- Understand Features and Benefits – Knowing the difference between features and benefits greatly helps you engage your target audience. Features are the technical specs for a product that mean something to a select, passionate few. Benefits are how your product and service solves your customers’ problems. When you focus on benefits, your audience will be more receptive.
- Stick to the Point – When you are trying to make a point, get in and get out. You may have a few sentences or few paragraphs that make for great writing, but don’t underscore the original point for the post. Delete them. You can use them in another post if needed, but they won’t fit where you have them. Tighten your writing for maximum impact. Your readers won’t have the patience for being derailed.
- Create Value – What are your readers trying to accomplish? Make sure you give them the type of information they seek. Tell them what to look for when shopping in your industry. Tell them how to perform tasks related to your industry. Any bit of useful information will help. Err on the side of giving information away. Always.
- Study the Competition – Make sure you know what your competition is doing. Does it look like it’s working? It is ok to adopt their ideas to your own style.
- Study the Experts – What are the major industry issues and news your customers should know about? How can you take high-level concepts, and boil them into something your audience understands? Make sure that you read and study the experts to stay one step ahead. Don’t be afraid to take their ideas, and think outside the box as you apply them to what you do.
- Understand What Makes You Different – The great thing about the Internet is geography is no longer a limitation as you establish your business. The horrible thing about the Internet is that geography is no longer…you get the idea. Make sure you understand, and convey what makes you different than the competition. Out of thousands of options, you want potential customers to choose you. That can be a tall order if your site reads like every other site within your industry. Why should potential customers hire you?
- Link Out – What have you written that supports the larger point of your current blog post? What industry resources should your readers be familiar with? Link away. You’re in the business of providing free information. Linking to additional resources is a great way to do this.
- Understand Search – What Google search terms do you want to be found under? Sprinkle them into your writing, but don’t overdo it. Remember to use pronouns (he, she, it, etc.) every once in awhile to keep your reader sane, and not sound like a robot.
- Cut Where You Can – Sloppy writing is easy to spot. Look for words and phrases that don’t change the meaning of your sentence. That, but, however, has been, which and very can often be deleted. Shorten it up. You can also look for sentences that add nothing to the larger point of the piece – and delete.
- Give It Away – Don’t get caught up in the idea you should be charging for this information when it’s available for free in other places. Your readers want to know what you know. They want to know how to do the things you know how to do. When you are the source of that information, it establishes you as the expert, and makes you their likely next phone call.
- Perfect Your Headlines – Your headlines are the single biggest factor in whether someone is going to click on your blog post or not. So study the art of headline writing. Make sure you understand human nature, and what can make someone click within the matter of seconds.
- Create a Conversation – Ask your readers questions in your web copy. Find out what they think about certain issues, or what their experiences have been as a consumer in your industry. You’ll keep them engaged, and you may even learn something.
- Hone Your Voice – I have a 3-year-old at home, so we’ve been covering a lot of the great literature classics, including Dr. Seuss. “No one is youer than you,” is a great message for young kids, and business owners alike. Write how you talk. Give people your take on the issues. Do everything you can to inject your personality into your blog and web content. It’ll go a long way in keeping your readers interested in what you have to say.
- Be Opinionated – Your readers are looking to you as an expert. Chances are they can find industry news and talking points regurgitated somewhere else. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you think, as well as what you know.
- Be Personal – When a new client reaches out, it helps a great deal for them to have something personal to grab on to. My Twitter page has a photo of the Wrigley Field Marquee. I’ve mentioned I’m the parent of a 3-year-old, and have my own parenting blog. I love talking music or sports. I’ve had great conversations about all these subjects with new clients.
- Perfect Your Calls to Action – Your readers may not know what you wan them to do if you don’t tell them. Want them to download your eBook, comment on your blog post, or purchase your product? Be direct. Be forward. Ask.
- Promote Your Blog Everywhere – Publish your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social media profile you have, but don’t stop there. Make sure that those in your in-person business networks know about your blog, and can utilize it for a resource. Print off copies of your posts, and use them to answer frequent customer questions. Answer questions on Quora. Post in Reddit, Stumble Upon or any other industry forums. Take advantage of your social media groups. There are countless ways to promote your work.
Wrapping it up…
If you follow these general blogging tips as you write your posts you should be able to build momentum and find some general success with your blog. It’s not an overnight process. It takes a gradual build up of content to be able to attain some level of visibility and success.
Have you had blogging success with specific posts? What blogging tips of your own do you have? Let me know what has worked for you in the comment section below!