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The power of blogging: what, why and how?

According to a report by Hubspot, companies who post up to 15 blog posts per month, get 5 times more traffic to their website than companies that don’t blog at all. The power of content is undeniable, but it can be tricky to know what a blog needs in order to be a successful extension of your business.

Successful blogging explained

Content marketing is an umbrella term that covers a variety of content forms. Blogging is one of these, and yet, just a few years back the concept was met with scepticism. People thought it was just a fad that would burn out quickly. When its prevalence was proved, the marketing community gave in and accepted the inevitable changes the digital age had brought about. And now? Frankly you’d be hard pushed to find a successful brand that doesn’t discuss the topic at length, weigh up the pros and cons and dedicate time and money to the cause. Blogging requires focus and resources, so in order to make the most of yours, here are some helpful hints.

Make sure the blog is useful

Nobody wants to read a pointless blog. A lover of crafting will browse the blog of a craft retailer in the hope of learning from them. People in need of advice about their faulty phone, will look for useful information from their service provider or manufacturer. Be insightful, make sure that what you are writing about is currently relevant, back up your knowledge with detailed data and sources, and above all else: be entertaining. I’m not suggesting you post a video of your last attempt to juggle, but the subject should be interesting enough to grab attention.

Simple to read

One reason your readers may go elsewhere: your blog is laden with technical jargon they do not understand. Write in plain English (or your native language) and don’t rely on wordy explanations. While it may look clever, your general audience will not understand your meaning.

Ways to simplify your blog posts include:

  • The use of bullet points
  • Short sentences and paragraphs
  • Headers and subheaders to break up the text
  • Images that are relevant and give context
  • Sensible use of bolded text
  • Using one word instead of five

Don’t slack on the research

If your article is bogged down with factual inaccuracies, assumptions and opinions that are not backed up, people will call you out on it. Nobody is shy on the internet, because there’s no fear of being held accountable for nasty comments and trolling when you’re an anonymous username. Which means they won’t hold back the vitriol if they think you don’t understand your own subject.

The solution? Do your research:

  • Call people up and verify facts
  • Double check your sources (people make stuff up)
  • Talk to experts on the subject
  • Cite your sources
  • Be curious

Don’t fear your personality

There’s a wariness in content marketing, of creating a distinct personable voice that people engage with. On the one hand you want your brand to have a respectful and professional image. But then many of us take that image too far and we’re left with dull posts that have about as much life as a brick wall and don’t tell us anything about the person who wrote it. Are they sarcastic? Witty? Passionate? Who’s going to know if you’re sacrificing your personality in a misguided attempt at total professionalism?

Obviously, don’t use offensive words, phrases and stereotypes – the stuff that makes the political correctness police release their battle cries – but a reminder that you are human and not a mindless android, goes down well with internet folk.

Pay attention to feedback

Analyse your previous posts to figure out which ones have been the most popular and why. There are a variety of ways to do so. When you have a Facebook page, the social network provides you with statistics about your posts. People sign up to software that tells them who unfollowed them and other details on Twitter and which tweets gained the most traffic. The same can be done for your blog, and by doing so you can cast aside the techniques that don’t work and rinse and repeat the ones that do.

So overall: blog with care, know your subject and enjoy the process. It will come across.