From search engine optimization to janitorial supplies and game-changing pharma technologies, there’s blogs being written on just about everything. In fact, blogs have been cited as one of the top content strategies employed by B2Bs in the year 2014. So how do you cut through all the noise and create a blog that adds value? How do you write something that people will actually want to read?
It might seem impossible, but it can be done. All it takes is some background knowledge of the blogging process and a little effort to help your content stand out.
Let’s dive into the 4 tips to writing better blogs people will actually want to read:
Do Your Homework
It’s a question we often hear from our clients, in fact, it’s probably one we get asked the most:
“What should I write about?”
The key to knowing what to write about (and writing something that your readers will actually care about) is doing your homework. Ask your customers or front-line staff what topics plague them or what they wish they knew more about. Knowing your customers’ pain points will help you to keep your content highly relevant to your audience. It’s also a great way to develop niche content that doesn’t already exist.
“Knowing your customers’ pain points will help you to keep your content highly relevant to your audience.”
Want to ask a broader audience? You can also turn to Q&A forums like Quora — dive in to see what people are asking questions about online and determine where you can fill in gaps to add value.
This one is probably the most important of all 5 tips: your content will be lost to readers unless it actually adds some kind of value. If you’re just regurgitating what everyone else has already written about, prepare to watch your engagement dwindle.
There’s lots of ways to set your content apart from what’s already out there. Start by scanning blogs being written about similar topics. Compile a list that acts as a content inventory: organize columns by the type of content that’s already out there: consider blogs, videos, infographics, images, podcasts, whitepapers and more. As you do your research, you’ll start to see gaps emerge. Notice there’s a shortage of how-to videos available on a specific topic? Here’s your chance to step up and fill a void.
You can also add value by elaborating on a hot industry topic. Perhaps competitors are writing about the latest and greatest janitorial floor cleaning equipment to drive sales, but has anyone ever discussed the benefits of renting floor cleaning equipment over buying? It’s likely something your customers want to know and will help them in their search for information.
If you’re still stuck on how to add value for your audience, look at repurposing your existing content. The best part about repurposing content is that you’ve already done the hard work! Look towards your annual reports, press releases, product suppliers and partners: they’re full of information-rich content just waiting to be mined.
Get to the Point
Let’s face it: we’re all really, really busy. Or we just don’t want to devote our precious time. Scanning articles has become our go-to method of content digestion. Do you think your reader is going to take the time to digest an 800-word blog, no matter how well it’s been written? Highly unlikely.
Be succinct. Say what you need to in as little space as possible. As we’ve said before, sometimes a video or image can do the work of the written word just as well (if not better). If an infographic can tell your story more effectively, let it! Written content doesn’t necessarily define a blog.
Checklists and subheadings are other great ways to organize thoughts. Checklists provide information in a simple format while subheadings separate content and tell readers what’s ahead.
Back It Up
Proof points give your blogs and all associated content validity. They can also be used to show readers that you know your stuff. Make sure to use backlinks, footnotes or hyperlinks where possible to give content legs to stand on.
Have access to visual proof points? Even better! Linking to associated images or videos can enhance the value of your work and result to a more engaging experience for your audience. Set yourself up on Slideshare to present factual information in a more interesting way. Presentations are a great way to compile a number of related stats — plus, users can download them and access your content anywhere.
Ready to adopt a whole new perspective on blogging? If you’re still feeling stuck or just don’t have the time to get it all done, consider working with a digital marketing agency. Just reach out to us, and we’ll get you started.