If you've taken a vacation from the Internet (or been without electricity) for the past several years, you may have missed the news: If you want to promote yourself or your business, you should be blogging. Why? Blogs offer the biggest bang for your marketing buck. Blogs can also demonstrate thought leadership, subject matter expertise and help you strike SEO gold with very little time and investment.
However, blogs do still require time and investment. You MUST have quality blog content or no one will pay any attention to what you are putting out there. Then your investment will be worthless. So, how do you create quality blog content?
* Have one consistent voice and agree who and what it’s going to be (this goes for social media too). In one post you refer to your company in the third person, “XYZ Industries offers a solution for this common problem.” In the next post you refer to your company in the first person, “We know what’s wrong with this picture and we can help.” The only thing you consistently do is switch between those two voices. Who are you? Are you a familiar “we” or are you a more formal “they”? Get it together or you look like a mess.
* Your blog posts should not be self-promotional. If you sell vending machines and every blog post is about how you sell vending machines, readers will tune out quickly. Give people information they can use that is related to what you do. A sample headline: How to offer healthy options in your workplace vending machine. You can write the occasional “advertorial” that is 90 percent informational content and a 10 percent soft sell, but do it sparingly.
* At a loss for what to post on your blog? Ask. Ask your readers or customers (or friends or family members) what they’d like to know more about. Everyone wants gift ideas around holiday time. If you’re a retail store, blog about that! Give them what they want. Another way to create blog content is to interview an expert in your field. In my line of work, for example, I might interview Ann Handley, the chief content officer at MarketingProfs.
* Challenges and failures are always a HUGE hit — as long as a valuable lesson is learned. I love to cook and keep a food blog as a hobby (yes, this makes me a giant word nerd). The posts that receive the most responses are the meals in which we’ve failed — burned, misshapen, over-salted, inedible, etc. People relate to challenges and failures because it happens to us all. I always walk away from my kitchen failures with new knowledge that I impart to my readers so they can avoid making the same mistakes.
* Write about problems you encounter and offer solutions. It’s a great, passive way to elevate yourself to “expert” status. If you’re a business coach and consistently see people making the same mistake, write about it and tell people how to avoid similar obstacles. If you’re a taxi driver and run into heavy traffic in the same spot every day, tell people to avoid the traffic jam. They’ll remember you and appreciate the advice.
* Keep it short, get to the point. Between 500-700 words is a good length to aim for.
Do you have trouble creating quality blog content? Let me know what your stumbling block is. I can help!