03.14.2012 | Molly McWhinnie
In the world of social media, blogs have become an important medium to share your company stories beyond a traditional press release, allowing you to promote your company’s services as well as your perspective on relevant industry topics. In addition, blogs allow you to gain valuable feedback from your customers as they write comments on your posts and also help to build engagement as you take the time to respond.
If your company does not yet have a blog, you are missing out on a great opportunity to establish your thought leadership, increase awareness and visibility, and drive online engagement and website traffic. In addition, blogs often serve as the foundation of meaningful content to share on other social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
At Communiqué PR, we often help our clients develop their blogs whether it is brainstorming ideas or helping to draft and edit posts. For some clients who take on their own blogs, we are often asked how to write a compelling post.
I recently came across a timely article written by Neil Patel on Ragan’s PR Daily about this very topic, and many of the tips he suggested are ones we often recommend. In his post, “The no-fail guide to writing popular blog posts,” Patel shares some of the lessons he has learned over the years. Here are just a few to consider:
- Use Simple Words. When writing your posts, use simple words to tell your story. Patel suggests “writing posts with a fifth grade vocabulary” as it will make it easier for the reader to understand the content, no matter the topic.
- Use the Word “You.” Blogs are a great way to build a connection with your customers, many of whom are seeking some sort of personal connection with your brand. While many eyes will be reading your blog, Patel makes a great suggestion of making them more personal by “thinking of somebody you know and pretend you’re writing the blog post for just him or her.”
- Write How-To Posts. People turn to blogs because they want to learn something, so it is important to provide useful information. If you have a solution to help solve a problem, write out all of the steps involved. For each step, be sure to provide prescriptive guidance, explain what to look for and any confusing points that may arise.
- Write Detailed Posts. We often suggest to our clients the length of a blog post should be approximately 500 words, but only if they are sharing meaningful content. Patel shared his experience of “writing a long, detailed post with lots of good, specific information” and found many of his readers appreciated it by commenting and sharing the post. He also shared a good tip to add “images, statistics and graphs as they will get more links than the same post without the visual appeal.”
- Hook Your Readers. As with any media story, the best way to grab the attention of your readers starts with your headline. Patel says a great blog headline combines at least three of the following features: that it is unique, useful, and ultra-specific and urgent. Then hook your readers with a great first sentence “people can’t resist.”
- Create a Conversation. It is important to remember that blogs are a platform to begin a meaningful conversation with your readers. One tip is to always end your posts asking questions which encourage your readers to post their thoughts in the comments.
- Prove Your Points. As Patel reminds us, it is always important to prove any claim you make. Making a claim in a blog is no different than making one in your marketing collateral, website or when speaking with media. If you are not able to substantiate it, you will lose credibility.
Creating valuable content is imperative for social media and, with blogs, content is king. And a key component is to develop content that connects and engages with your readers. In addition to these tips, we have shared ideas on our blog about how you can get started in blogging and why blogs are a key pillar of B2B social media strategies.
But we want to hear from you! What tips do you have for writing a compelling blog post? What have you found works best to drive engagement and “sharing” of your posts?