The Internet’s a beautiful thing. It’s accessible. It’s vast. If you need to order takeout at 6 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, it will point you toward the only Thai place open within a ten-mile radius.
But it’s also got some downsides. Take, for example, the nearly infinite proliferation of blogs and media feeds. With so many options, getting people to read your own content is like whispering in a room full of champion yodelers.
So to help elbow your way to the front of that pack, we’ve come up with some tips to help you maximize your impact and project your message… loud and clear. Below are Contentools’ 10 Blog Post Commandments.
Take heed, ye marketers, and commit to memory our sage advice:
1. Thou Shalt Take an Idea and Run With It
For example: let’s say you thought about writing a cheeky marketing post with a “10 Commandments” theme. Maybe you began typing out these goofy sub-headers and thought, “Hmm, is using ‘thou’ and ‘thine’ a bit much?”
The answer, friends, is no.
The blank page, not editing, is writing’s most daunting aspect, and you won’t know what works until you give things a try (…within reason). Brainstorm, and give even the wackiest ideas a shot – the most far-fetched ideas have birthed great blogs and marketing campaigns, and readers respond better to a distinctive voice.
2. Thou Shall Not Write a Huge Block of Text, Because if Thou Doest, Thine Readers Will Certainly Move on to More Exciting Content…
Remember what it felt like to open up a Word Doc in college and see a wall of text swimming before your eyes, shape-shifting after your third cup of coffee? Yeah? Well, the Internet is a vast place, and every corner’s filled with content like this. Fortunately for you, this means you can make your content stand out more by tearing down that wall.
Let’s be real: you can hide the next Great American Novel inside your company blog post, and most folks won’t get to it because they’ll be too busy checking Facebook. So instead, tailor your format to your content – would the Great American Listicle work? If not, could you break up the text with paragraphs, headers, or well-placed images? Of course you can.
3. Thou Shalt Distribute Thy Work Like Thine Life Depends On It
What’s the point of slaving over a blog post if you’re not going to send it out into the world? All those trips to the thesaurus, all for naught! You’ve got plenty of options for broadcasting your brand and message.
Start with your personal social networks (a link on your blog, a shout-out on Twitter, a Facebook or Instagram post). The more you interlink your various platforms, the more chance you’ll have of generating crossover and readership.
Next, include links and opportunities within the post for interaction and participation. For example, every time you click a segment of text on Slate.com, they give you the opportunity to Tweet or Facebook it – brilliant! Take their cue and encourage your audience to do the same.
Finally, as you’re spreading out, consider who else might be interested or allied with your cause, and loop them in.
4. Thou Shalt Pepper Thine Pieces With Links and Interactivity
If you, like most readers, shudder at the thought of endless pages of dry prose, then links and interactive content are your antidote. For one, they establish credibility – so if you’re talking about marketing, giving examples of great content in the field plays to your savvy and expertise. And in factual situations, they build your case.
Just as importantly, article recommenders, sidebar polls, and the ubiquitous comment section all lasso the audience back into your content, keeping their attention from drifting.
5. Thou Shalt Seek Out and Integrate Striking Images
Much like links, great images counteract the text’s weight and help reinforce your message. A great photo or graphic will skyrocket a Facebook link’s clicks, and it will humanize even the most corporate blog post.
Images add color, context, and depth to what might otherwise seem humdrum, even if the topic at hand is important. Consider images essential; without them, your content will be blowing around the web like a sad, little, colorless tumbleweed.
6. Thou Shalt Keep It Short & Sharp
See? It works. No need to gab – make your point (concisely) and move on to the next order of business.
7. Know Thy Audience, Know Thy Brand
Context is everything in marketing. A straight-laced financial institution won’t take kindly to an expletive-filled, NSFW tweet. Conversely, a fiercely independent online newspaper will lose readers if it starts sounding like a monotone college lecturer.
Before you start typing, think hard about what you’d like to project… and who will be taking it in.
8. Thou Shalt Call Thine Allies Into Action!
Want to gauge the efficacy of your efforts? Solicit action from your readers!
They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Well, the same goes for interaction online – even the trolls are useful, as their presence means that someone’s watching — and user comments can give you a better feel for what posts are working and which ones aren’t. Which brings us to…
9. Thou Shalt Thoughtfully Format & Design Thine Posts
Even with pre-built sites from WordPress or Tumblr, you can easily customize your blog’s look and feel. Trying out different layouts, color schemes, or formats (like a bullet-pointed list, or a captioned photo essay) can help you get more clicks, and using structural tools like headers will boost your SEO and keep your readers engaged.
Speaking of readers: take their feedback and run with it, using it to refine your blog posts as you type your way to a bustling readership.
10. Thou Shalt Put In The Effort & Time
We understand that there are other parts of running a business besides, you know, marketing. Things like designing apps, managing human resources, budgeting, flying to conferences, installing file cabinets, and walking dogs (after all, you don’t want Sparky stinking up your open office).
However, it’s critical that you stay on task and devote the necessary time, money, and effort your blog deserves. In fact, your content marketing efforts depend on it — so make sure you blog the right way.
Learn as much as you can about blogging — soak in as many articles, webinars, and eBooks as you can from your fellow bloggers. That way, your blog will keep up with your readers, and you’ll always be ready for whatever the ever-changing blogging landscape throws at you.
If you want to take your business blog to the next level, download this free ebook. And if you need help with your content strategy or content creation process, get in touch with us today, one of our content strategists will reach out to you in no time!