Do you know that the world’s longest movie according to Guinness World Records is The Cure for Insomnia?
It was directed by John Henry Timmis IV, released in 1987 and its running time was 87 hours.
The film was all about poet, L. D. Groban’s reciting his 4,080-page poem, A Cure for Insomnia.
The good news for you, as a new blogger, is that it won’t take you 87 hours to write every new blog post. And while your blog posts may not end up in the Guinness world Records, Hubspot’s An Introduction to Business Blogging (page 3) reports that businesses that regularly blog receive 55% more website visitors than non-blogging businesses.
This is such a small price to pay for such a big payback, that every business owner should seriously consider blogging as an effective way of attracting new visitors to their websites.
And this is why, in today’s article, we take a closer look at five tips that you can use as you’re preparing for blogging for your business.
Tip #1: Keep Your Topics Nicely Tight
This comes naturally if you sell specific products or services to a very specific target market.
The problem is that many beginner bloggers are beginner business owners, and their markets and offers are not as refined yet as those of more experienced business owners.
- Vertical positioning: Vertical positioning focuses on a specific industry category, represented by a specific NCAIS (North American Industry Classification System) or SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) code in the United States and other similar codes in other countries. E.g. accounting firms.
Horizontal positioning: Horizontal positioning focuses on a certain practice area. E.g. HR consulting.
As a result of being positioned neither vertically nor horizontally, many new bloggers can easily end up writing all over the map, touching on everything from astrology through hydrometallurgy to zoology.
Later they narrow their topics, but they still can be too broad for blog posts, like…
- A post entitled, “How To Market Your Business Through Social Media” is far too broad.
You clearly state what you write about and for whom.
What we have to know is that every topic has lots of minute details, and the broader your topic is, it’s more likely for your writing to go astray and the more you will blend into the ocean of competitors.
Tip #2: Readers Care About The Writing, Not About The Writer
Many new bloggers make the mistake of writing too much about themselves in the wrong way.
The right way of writing about yourself is when you share a personal example that is relevant of the topic of your blog post.
For instance, if your topic is all about the horrors of selling door-to-door, and you share a short and pithy personal story of having walked into a brothel by mistake, that can be useful for readers.
But if you write…
Your readers want to learn about the subject matter that you promote for your blog, so, while keeping your unique and somewhat personal tone.
As you get more known, you can bring more personality into your writings, but initially, stay close to the theme of your blog.
And even if you don’t talk about yourself directly in the blog post, you can have your personality come across by using certain references and descriptions. For instance, I use references like…
You can also spice up your writing from a few good books, like…
- Barbara Kipfer: Descriptive Word Finder (High-speed thesaurus)
- Ann Heinrichs, Dan McGeehan, David Moore: Just Similes And Metaphors
- Surendra Sahu: Dictionary of Similes , Metaphors & Expressions
They your writing more colorful and enjoyable.
Let’s remember that people want to learn something from your blog posts, but they also want to enjoy the process of learning.
You can put quite a bit of personality into your blog posts without referring to yourself even once.
People get a good sense of who you are and what you’re all about without letting your persona overshadow your writing.
Tip #3: Write Almost The Way You Speak
I say “almost” because most of us can’t write fully the way we speak. For some incredible reason, the subconscious mind realises that when we’re writing, we’re creating something that’s here to stay and to be read by anyone, and it governs our writing, although, often the wrong way.
This is how, in legalese, “I give you this orange” becomes…
“Know all persons by these present that I hereby give, grant, release, convey, transfer and quitclaim all my right, title, interest, benefit and use whatsoever in, or and concerning this chattel, otherwise known as an orange, or citrus aurantium, together with all the appurtenances thereto of skin, pulp, pip, rind, seeds and juice to have and to hold the said orange, for his own use and behoof, to himself and his heirs, in fee simple forever, free from all liens, encumbrances, easements, limitations, restraints or conditions whatsoever, any and all prior deeds, transfer, or other documents whatsoever, now or anywhere made to the contrary notwithstanding, with full power to bite, cut, suck or otherwise eat the said orange or to give away the same, with or without its skin, pulp, pip, rind, seeds or juice.”
Especially when we write about something that we know really well, we tend to make shortcuts and use the kind of jargon that many of the readers may not understand. Although, the more specific your target readership is, the less you have to worry about jargon.
- If you write for enforcement people, they all understand what a “perp” is.
- If you write for military people, they all understand what “Zulu” is.
- If you write for butchers, they all understand what an “aitchbone” is. (H-shaped rump bone of a cattle)
To avoid that, we often swing to the other extreme and write in a too formal tone.
Personal fitness trainer to client…
- “Today’ we’re going to elongate your extensor digitorum longus.”
Instead, she could say…
- “Today we work on stretching the lower leg muscles.”
High level of formality is normal for new bloggers because many of them still remember their English teachers from school who probably reprimanded them for using improper words, sentences and grammatical structures.
Just consider these eight factors that can make your posts too hard to read. Some of them are…
- Lack of whitespace
- Lack of headers
- Reader-unfriendly fonts
- Never-ending paragraphs
But also note that there is a thin line between being conversational and colloquial. And here I really mean colloquialism as slang.
When you have a specific market you write too, jargon is acceptable because it proves that you are part of that market in some way and are qualified to write about your topic. But slang can degrade your writing.
Here are some tips that can help you to make your posts more enjoyable.
Tip #4: Use Plenty Of Evidence To Support Your Case
Reuters, CNN and other mainstream new channels have innate credibility by virtue of their age and the size of their readership.
As a new blogger, you don’t have that.
But you still can line up some objective evidence (licence, years of industrial experience, diploma, etc.) that can’t be disputed.
Mind you, if you run a blog for motocross enthusiasts, and you’re a 20-year competitive motocross rider with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, some people may still doubt your expertise and may even attack you for your opinion.
The good news is that most of them are people suffering from the
British mathematician, philosopher, writer and 1950 Nobel prize winner for Literature, Bertrand Russell put it rather poignantly “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”
No, you can’t avoid blog trolls, but for intelligent readers, you can serve up objective evidence from credible sources.
Here at Riverbed, we often use the following resources…
So, how to include evidence.
Of course, there are people who attack you because they enjoy acting out their abused childhoods, but now they can be the abusers. There is not much you can do about them. The best bet is not to respond to their comments, so when they realise no one is willing to jump into the ring and argue with them, they usually vanish like a grey donkey in the thick English fog.
If you refer to a piece of supporting data, but don’t want your readers to click on it and leave your blog, then put it in the post as a footnote.
If you refer to something more sizeable that you want your readers to read, then use a link.
There is one more important consideration. You have to present your evidence so effectively that your readers act on your blog post.
You close every post with a call to action, and your reader must act on that call. And that requires strong evidence.
Tip #5: Base Your Topics On The Real Life Of Your Market
Yes, it’s understandable that you want to get your blog underway as quickly as possible, but before you start writing, you may want to check with some members of your target market what they really want to read about.
A British study indicates that we get our best ideas come to us either under the shower of while commuting to or from work, and a Business Insider article reports that 72% of people get their best ideas under the shower.
But just because we get many seemingly great ideas at odd times of the day, it doesn’t mean we should write about every one of them on our blogs. John Cleese, legendary writer and actor recommends that people let their ideas bake before using them.
When you get some ideas from potential readers of your blog, you can develop them into blog posts that similar readers with similar interests want to read.
This way you stay faithful to your blog’s overall theme and publish posts that your readers are interested in reading and have a chance to go viral, attracting new readers.
To survey your market, you can check out Ryan Levesque’s excellent book, Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Formula To Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want To Buy.
Yes, I know regular blogging not easy, otherwise every Tom, Dick and Harry would be doing it.
But I know it’s a lot more effective and produces longer-lasting results than cold-calling or other interruption-based marketing methods.
One more point…
You probably put some calls to action at the end of your blog. There is a cool tool, called LeadIn, that can help you to add so-called slide-in calls to action to your blog posts.
And with that, hopefully, you can integrate these five points and the SlideIn tool with your existing ideas and can start and run a happy and healthy business blog for your company.