Put down the pitchfork.
We don’t think your business is boring.
And we know that you don’t think your business is boring either.
But we bet than when you sit down in front of a blank page and try to write blog posts for your inbound marketing strategy, you start thinking how easy it must be for some of the “sexier” industries.
Lifestyle and culture brands have no shortage of trends to discuss and gorgeous images to pepper their posts with. But how can you take a cute photo of your accounting system? There isn’t an abundance of news coverage to pick apart on ecommerce customer relationship management software (admit it, you just yawned.)
But you know that having a blog is practically essential for pulling in those all-important leads and generating sales. It’s often the difference between ranking on page one of Google for your key terms and languishing on the back end of the “ooo.”
So now you’ve got to get thinking. How can you get people really engaged with your business and the products you provide?
Only The Best For You, Dear Reader
Do not ever publish sub-standard work on your business blog just for the sake of having something there.
If you’ve set yourself the target of putting up a blog post every Wednesday, and know that you’re far too busy to give it the attention and research that it actually requires, push it back a day or two. Push it back a week if you have to.
True, there may be a few people who will expect a post on Wednesday and will diligently pull up your website to find that it isn’t there. They might be disappointed, but it’s highly likely that they’ll be back at some point. After all, they already love your business enough to have reading your blog as part of their routine.
But the people who are coming to you for the first time might have this shoddy post as the first thing they see. This will damage their trust in you and they might struggle to believe that you’re really an expert or thought leader in your industry.
Consider your content in terms of a product you’ve created. Would you be ashamed to sell that product to a customer who came to you expecting it to be the best? If that’s the case, you should be ashamed to publish it too.
Now it might be that you’re reading this and thinking, “Well, my posts are always informative and engaging!” But were they just as great six months ago? A year? In fact, do you even remember what any of them were about?
Take the time to do a quick check through your archives and see if you’ve got any duds (or diamonds) hanging around. If there’s a few that could use some work, jazz them up and see what happens. If there’s any old ones that seem great but don’t seem to be converting, try optimising them around your keywords and re-promoting them across your social channels.
Keep It Niche (But Accessible)
The fact of the matter is, people aren’t coming to read your business blog cover to cover like a Sunday newspaper. Often, they’ve found a particular post through a search query. They probably had a very specific question in mind, so give them a specific answer.
There’s no point writing something very general related to your industry. It’s already been done before. It’s probably even been done better before, and it’s highly unlikely you’re going to rank above that.
You need to target your content around the questions your potential customers might have. Get together with your team and find out what they’re being asked on a regular basis. Then it’s simply a case of creating content that responds to this.
Now, this isn’t to say that your post should read like the manual for putting together an Ikea display cabinet. (Arguably, these are rarely all that useful anyway.)
Yes, it’s got to be informative and specific, but you should still be telling a story. And you certainly shouldn’t need to be an expert just to get through it. One of the best ways we’ve found of doing this is by offering concrete, but personable examples.
As specialists in inbound marketing for tech businesses, we’ll often spend a lot of time researching blogs, influencers and companies that are doing really interesting things in that arena. Which is how we end up with posts like, “The Top 5 FinTech Startups With Standout Marketing Techniques.”
The point of these posts is to inspire people. It’s nice enough saying “Come up with a fun social media campaign” but it’s much more engaging if you can see how someone else has gone about it in the past.
For you, this could mean sharing stories of how that ecommerce customer relationship management software you built turned Sharon’s life around. Now she gets to live her dream of running a shop that sells the jewellery she’s always loved making but could never turn a profit on (until now!)
Already, we care about your product because you can prove that it’s having a clear and measurable effect on your customers’ lives.
They can also work as reviews or testimonials, and those have been proven time and time again to have a serious impact on a customer’s impression of your business.
(Media) Variety is the Spice of Life
Blogs are great. A wall of unbroken text is not.
If you’re already creating high-quality, niche content but still aren’t receiving the expected level of engagement, it could be that people just aren’t connecting with the way your information is presented.
The first step is to break up your text into appropriate sub-headings (this should also help with your SEO, so is definitely a worthwhile endeavour) and then break it up even further into short, easy-to-read paragraphs. People have a tendency to scan through information on the web, so it’s important that you’re giving them the essentials at a glance. It can also be good to sum everything up at the end in a short conclusion or list of bullet points. Your readers will probably thank you for it.
You then need to think about other forms of media that you can use to put across information. Images featuring graphs and diagrams, slideshow presentations, gifs, videos, podcasts, infographics and beyond, can all be great methods of this. Many of them also come with the bonus of being inherently shareable.
For example, people now view an astounding 100 million hours of video every day on Facebook alone. If the video you posted in one of your blogs was shared to Facebook, you could reach a whole new audience.
There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from injecting some humour into your business blog. If you’re honest, you might even get a bit bored yourself having to write in a monotonous school-lecturer tone day-in day-out. Why not switch it up a bit?
It is possible to be both fun and informative. There are some people who don’t think they’re capable of it but we don’t believe that. Give it a go and get some feedback from your colleagues, you might just surprise yourself.
It goes without saying that you should avoid anything risque or likely to cause offence. Your blog is a professional publication after all.
But there’s nothing wrong with embracing an innocent meme or poking fun at some of the more mundane areas of your industry. The light-hearted approach will undoubtedly endear people to you and your business.
(Try and tell us you didn't just sing that to the tune of the song.)
Bear in mind though, that you should also be wary of going too far and losing some of the technical knowledge that people have sought you out for.
Keep it high quality, targeted, varied and fun! Give your blog a real personality and a distinctive voice. It doesn’t matter if the topic is the driest subject matter in the world (and that’s just a matter of opinion), with a talented, well-informed writer at the helm, your blog will never be boring.
If you can strike the balance between niche, informative and entertaining, you’re well on your way to being a business blogging superstar.