Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 6.57.53 AMBy Liz Ernst, Oct. 5, 2016

Write effective blogs

Whether you’re a business owner, professional, or organization with a message to get out there, your blog needs to work hard if it’s going to be effective.

A good blog is a critical voice for any business or brand, and the goal should be to inform, educate, captivate and engage readers. A great company blog is one that contributes to your company’s effective brand PR and acts as a discovery tool to build new leads. Today’s digital media universe demands blogs that are high quality, tell the reader something they didn’t already know, and if you or your blog writer are particularly skilled, enjoyable reads. A little bit of funny goes a long way.

It may not always seem easy to sit down and write a fresh, engaging blog tailored to your business or industry. in which case outsourcing your blog writing to a professional could make sense from both a financial and professional standpoint.

Start each blog you write by asking yourself what you can tell your audience that they aren’t hearing elsewhere. What unique experience or skills can you bring to the conversation? What opinions do you have that are different from what others are tossing out there? Then ask yourself how your blog post can benefit your audience. No matter how well written or how unique the topic, if it doesn’t offer something beneficial to your readers, it’s not worth the time or energy it took you to write it. Top bloggers know that in order to make the strongest possible impact, their writing needs to speak to the audience’s interests and answer their questions. In fact, targeting the message to your specific audience is crucial to a great blog.

Elements of a great blog post:

Here are five elements that are consistently found in successful business blog posts, no matter what the industry, niche or topic. Make sure you structure your blog posts around these elements and watch your blog start working for you.

A seductive intro

Make sure that your headline and opening paragraph serves as a hook to get people to start reading. Even if the rest of your post is packed full of absolute genius, without a captivating intro, your readers may never even click on the article to read it in the first place. The headline is critical. According to Copyblogger, 80 percent of people will read the headline, but only 20 percent will read the rest of the article. Keep the headline short, concise and self-explanatory in order to gauge the most clicks. Headlines don’t need to be clever or complicated to pique reader interest; in fact, in most cases, the opposite is true. Before you start writing the first paragraph, put yourself in your desired reader’s state of mind to consider what problems he or she may be trying to solve. Figure out how best to show readers that you understand their concerns, and incorporate that sentiment in a lede that will make them feel the need to read the whole post.

A relevant image

IImages are important. Choosing the best images for your post shouldn’t include grabbing any old photo or graphic – you want the image you use to support the quality of your content. Images of people tend to do best with blog posts. Try to find an image that conveys the emotion you want to trigger in your readers. Interestingly, images have a natural ability to make readers focus their gaze downward, which means that it’s a great idea to include a caption beneath your photos to hold your readers’ attention longer. For help finding images for your articles, check out “How to Find Royalty-Free Legal Images to Use in Your Content.”

Focused and clear content

Clear and focused content will immediately set your blog post apart from the amateurs. By that I mean keep your blog’s message on one clear angle, opinion or point of view to make it easy for readers to establish how your message is unique and worth reading all the way through.

Include outside data or information

All blog posts, especially when it comes to business blogs, are too easily considered as just one more attempt to sell something you have to a customer. Outside resources like industry research data, quotes from influencers in your niche and—one of my favorites—utilizing a current event or trend that your readers can easily connect to your blog’s message can be extremely helpful when it comes to enhancing your credibility, encouraging people to read the whole post and establish an element of trust with your readers.

Keep it easy-to-read

While there really is no specific or preferred structure for a blog post, one structural element that consistently works is to present content that is easy to read at first glance. Short paragraphs, proper use of headings, subheadings, bulleted lists, bolds, and italics—anything that makes your content inviting to read.

No matter what the nature of your business, profession or niche is, these strategies should work well to increase clicks, number of read-throughs, and social sharing of your posts. Make sure you test these and other blog writing strategies to find the best approach for your audience.

 

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