The Sarky Type – content with more bite

You’ve decided to start a business blog. This is excellent news, and welcome.

Some years ago, I freelanced for a wedding venue. The owners were keen to start a blog. They didn’t know why they wanted a blog and at that time I didn’t understand the value of long-form content. I was a terrible blogger.

That was a true story, that’s why it lacked an exciting narrative.

I don’t want you to be a terrible business blogger, so here’s my beginner’s guide.

1. Come up with a plan.

If you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person then I have no time for you.

Most things you do for your business should have an objective. They most certainly need a strategy. Leave the spontaneity for the bedroom.

Get yourself some means for making notes, and hold on tight.

You should know who you want to read this blog. Call them your ideal client, target market, specific audience – whatever, you need to be writing for somebody.

Your blog will likely live on your business website, a website that probably serves a purpose. If it doesn’t, see my other post about crappy websites. You’re giving something to the people reading your content, only you can determine what that is.

Here are a few reasons why I blog:

  • To create searchable helpful content
  • To showcase my skillz
  • To demonstrate my expertise
  • To build authority and trust
  • I bloody love it!

If your motivation to start a business blog is to talk about you, that’s going to be a really boring read for those unfortunate enough to find it. You might be interesting, sure but if it’s not providing something else, all you’re doing is writing an online diary.

And if you want to start a personal blog for that reason, great, go do that.

No one likes a show-off.

The idea is to keep visitors reading and self-absorbed wankers don’t usually induce people to stick around. And that’s what we want and there’s a name for it – dwell time and we absolutely want that on our websites.

It’s a bit like going on a date with arrogant Jonathan.

He talks all night about how he trained as a pilot. He also spent 4 years running a multi-million-pound investment company. He only usually dates women with a perfect waist-hip ratio but you’re the exception to this rule due to your “tremendous knockers”. You’ll soon realise you’ve made a big mistake and should have gone out with Jim who enjoys country walks and staring longingly into your eyes (not your knockers).

People are searching for a solution to a problem.

Let them happen upon your amazingly titled blog post that offers that solution. They will begin to trust you, see if you’re the right person for them and BUY FROM YOU.

2. Find your tone.

Pull up a chair and get comfy because we need to figure out how you want to communicate.

Take a load off and grab a coffee and start to think about how you talk to people. How you chat to your mates might not be how you talk professionally. Or it might be exactly how you talk professionally. This stuff is personal and it’s about letting your personality come through, whatever that might be. So when you start your business blog, what will it sound like? Are your target customers going to respond to that tone? More importantly, are you going to attract the clients YOU want with that tone?

3. Get SEO savvy.

Search Engine Optimisation will be helped tenfold by blogging. And as an SEO content writer, I’m always banging on about the lovely long-form.

But wait, if you think it’s all about keyword cramming, you’d be royally wrong.

Write as you would for your chosen human. Don’t ever let me hear you’ve been shoehorning keywords and phrases around some terribly written copy. That’s not the blogging way and it’s certainly NOT the SEO blogging way.

There’s no difference between SEO content writing and great writing.

But there are other things to consider when you’re optimising your words and blog posts to get them seen on the web. I would urge you to find out more about content SEO before you start to write a damn thing, click here for more info.

4. Know when to use jargon.

Many of your audience will know words and terms that are specific to your industry. If you’re talking exclusively to that audience, knock yourself out.

I will say, that often, too many industry terms can make for a really boring read:

‘We can maximise your productivity and consolidate your output by using this great new CMV product.’

Even if you understand that shit, it still reads baaaaaaaad.

5. Mix it up and keep it fresh.

Vary your content by all means but always have a purpose for writing.

Focus on helping and informing your audience with your business blog. You want to create searchable content that gets found on a Google search. People want you to talk to them, and if what you write gives them an answer, they’ll get the impression you know stuff.

Adding graphics, video and various different mediums are a brilliant way to make your blog interesting and engaging. And it’s not just about organic traffic. You can repurpose your content in so many different ways.

6. Make ’em laugh (if you wanna).

You don’t have to make anyone laugh.

When I’m looking for information via the Internet, I usually want the solution to a problem. I want it quick and in easy to understand terms. Making me laugh is not essential. Sometimes though, it helps me to digest a really dull or tough subject better, especially if the author has used some funny metaphors.

And sometimes I like reading a blog (business or otherwise) because I like the author’s style, I couldn’t care less what they’re writing about because the writing is so good.

Start a business blog

If you’re a comedian, I would expect your blog to be funny but humour is subjective and not everyone will see the funny side. But that’s ok, it will attract the people who find you hilarious and repel the ones who think you’re a dick.

If you want to know more about how I can help make your dry-ass content funny and engaging, hit the button.

Blog for business? Seriously? Who the hell is going to read that shit?

Plenty of people, the trick is to make your business blog worth reading.

“Actually Sarah, I have someone writing my business blog for me.”

Oh, do you? Who, your mum? Your mate’s BF? If you do have someone legit writing your blog (your mum or whatever) then great, this probably isn’t for you.

But maybe what you’re really doing is typing some guff around a few stock images once a year, if you are, that isn’t blogging.

Whether you’ve begun a half-arsed blog or have yet to start a blog (half-arsed or otherwise) stop right now and read why it’s ruddy important.

1. It’s great for your website.

Adding consistent quality content will increase your organic traffic.

That’s free website traffic that builds over time – but only if we keep blogging, yeah. And what do I mean by quality content? Well, that really depends on who you’re writing for and what their interests are. Once you figure that out you can research keywords and phrases that centre your blog posts around certain topics.

If you want more info on blogging with SEO in mind, click here.

2. It’s a stage in your buying process.

We’re all internet users and we’re all looking online for products and services but we’re also looking to be educated.

When that happens we’re searching the net with informational intent. And blog posts nearly always have the answers.

The idea is to create the kind of blog that provides sexy, searchable content. You need your audience to find those lovingly crafted posts. If what you got going on is good, those visitors will remember you.

But wait…

Don’t reveal all your methods.

Tease the audience just enough to get them started (and be well impressed by you). They’ll often lack the motivation to do the work themselves but now they know someone who can do the work. (You. I’m referring to you.)

3. It talks to your client base.

You know what your clients need, you know what things they’re going to be asking. And if you don’t, you absolutely should. There’s no excuse to have not done your homework on this, it’s pretty basic business marketing stuff.

Research your audience.

Think about the things they want to know that surrounds your industry. What solutions do they need that a blog post could provide? How will your blog speak directly to them and help with the burning questions they have?

4. It showcases your knowledge.

This is pretty bloody important to those people who want to hire you.

If you can clearly demonstrate how good you are, your prospects will be in no doubt of your expertise. They will gaze upon you glassy-eyed wondering where the hell you’ve been all their lives. My blog is my portfolio. I work hard creating and amassing useful (and hilarious) content for business owners. It’s the only example of my work they’ll need.

And if they need more convincing, they’re not the right client for me.

5. It builds trust.

There’s a little SEO principle called E-A-T and that stands for expertise, authority, trust.

As we’ve covered expertise, let’s take a look at the other two.

Authority is what you get when you demonstrate your expertise. Not only will prospective customers feel the weight of your abilities but your peers will also. Imagine how powerful it is to be regarded as someone who knows their stuff by others doing the same job. That my friends will lead to trust. People will rest easy in the knowledge that you’ll get the job done.

6. It can be repurposed.

Blog posts are long and they have plenty of useful information that can be used elsewhere.

Just one article will inspire so many shorter social media posts. You can dine out on that content for years (if it’s evergreen, obvs). Think about creating different kinds of content with them. Podcasts, videos, and infographics can all be born from a blog. Get the most out of your long-form writing.

Last things to remember when you blog for business.

If done right, this shit takes time.

The act of researching and writing takes time but so does SEO (the organic traffic bit). Don’t consider blogging if you don’t have the resources.

If you decide to get serious about blogging, the long term benefits will be immense.

Remember what I said about traffic building over time? Well, the more relevant blog content you create, the more that snowball grows. And if like a good little blogger, you get busy promoting and sharing what you write, others will share it and refer back to it.

A blog for business is exciting stuff (no, seriously, it is).

Do you have a terrible business blog? Thinking of starting one? Hit the button.