A Blog Post About Blog Posts
What Companies Need to Know
More and more companies are adding blogs to their websites, which is a good thing.
But blogging is an art form, albeit a relatively new one. And while corporate blog posts can be valuable, there are plenty of traps to avoid.
For one thing, less is always more. No blog post should be much longer than 400 words, which is roughly the length of a one-page Word document. Blame USA Today and Buzzfeed for short attention spans, but there are numerous things competing for everyone’s time these days.
Second, keep your audience in mind. Yes, you can assume your readers have at least a rudimentary understanding of your product, service or raison d'être, but minimize the trade jargon and don’t make them scurry for a dictionary. To practice what we preach, “raison d'être” means “reason for existence.”
And don’t make blog posts blatant plugs for your products and services; blogs are not glorified press releases. Instead, pull back the curtains a bit to give readers a little insight into your company. Don’t give away trade secrets, but highlight a behind-the-scenes process or spotlight an employee. Humanize your company.
Speak in generalities about your industry. There’s no need to mention competitors, but insight into basic trends might help you connect with readers, also known as current or future customers or clients.
Keep it light. People are more likely to read something fast-paced and breezy.
Spicing up your post visually will help draw readers.
Keep paragraphs short. Vary sentence length, which helps readers establish a flow. Break up copy with bullet points. Include links. Accompany the post with a photo or a graphic.
And blog often. Once your company starts a blog, commit to it. There may not be a need to blog every day, but weekly posts are a minimum requirement and a couple times a week is even better.
Finally, as with all social media, listen and respond.
Enable comments and moderate the conversation, which means weeding out spam, irrelevant and abusive content (although be careful not to censor respectful criticism). Because running a business is a two-way street, as is running a blog.