Susan Shelby, FSMPS, CPSM President & CEO Rhino PR
Many businesses, especially small firms, use a company blog to deliver valuable content directly to their target audience. Consistency is essential for establishing your firm as a thought leader, and regular blog posts should be part of your content marketing strategy.
Your business goals probably include developing relationships with existing and potential clients, establishing your firm as a trusted industry expert, defining your brand, increasing website traffic, and boosting SEO. By now, you know that generating content that’s original, engaging, and interesting to your target audience is crucial to supporting these objectives. But do you know where to begin? Producing content for a company blog is a great starting point.
The benefits of blogging are many, but there are some rules to obey to get the most bang for your buck. Whether you are new to blogging or an established blogger, make sure you follow these simple rules:
When creating blog content, DO:
- Do address your target audience. Use language and vocabulary they will understand, and incorporate keywords and phrases of interest to them. Think about the challenges your reader faces, and write about solutions to address them.
- Do keep each blog entry short and concise. Avoid visual clutter with an easy-to-read font and a simple format that provides plenty of white space to eliminate distraction. Organize your content with bulleted lists or sections to quickly convey information in an appealing presentation. Small paragraphs of two to four sentences keep the reader’s attention. Aim for a word count ranging from 500 to 1,000 words.
- Do maintain a conversational, but professional, tone. Write with authority as a leading industry expert using a friendly, supportive voice.
- Do create professional-quality content. Proofread carefully for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. Make sure facts are accurate.
- Do integrate your brand and image. Be consistent with your firm’s branding colors and language style, and include your logo and tagline.
- Do grab your reader’s attention. Create a catchy, short headline (aim for under 65 characters) and an interesting introduction. Popular headline tactics include “top ten” lists or asking a question as the headline.
- Do share on social media. Sharing your high-quality, original content is an excellent way to support your social media initiatives. Remember to link to your website to attract visitors to your site.
When creating blog content, DON’T:
- Don’t sell. A blog is not a place for promotional pieces, and using your firm’s marketing jargon and product placement should be strictly avoided. Instead, use your blog to introduce thought leadership, build credibility, and show how you can solve a problem.
- Don’t cover multiple topics in one blog entry. Each entry should have an individual focus. Consider breaking a lengthy topic into two or three blog entries.
- Don’t fail to respond to reader questions and feedback. It shows you care about your audience and want to be a helpful resource, and allows you to develop a dialogue with your audience and receive valuable feedback.
- Don’t be negative. Your blog represents your firm, and should include positive, helpful entries. Never write adversely about your competition.
- Don’t be inconsistent. Establish a routine for posting new content that your readers can count on. It can be weekly, biweekly, or monthly, but the goal is consistent messaging to stay active in readers’ minds. Create a schedule of topics and writers, and work ahead of schedule to avoid missing a deadline.
- Don’t forget an image or infographic. Incorporating a relevant image increases both your readership and search engine rating. Visuals engage your reader and help tell a story.
- Don’t plagiarize. Your blog posts should be original, unique content. It is acceptable to quote sources provided they are properly cited.
While blogging requires strong writing skills and consistency, it is an excellent way to differentiate your firm from its competitors and showcase your industry expertise. Your firm has stories to tell and advice to offer. Do utilize a company blog as one vehicle for distributing your authentic thought leadership.