In last week’s post, we talked about how you could ensure that your content matches the interests of your audience. You can read that post here, or go back to the very beginning of our blogging for business series here.
So far in this series, we’ve talked about the purpose of your blog, getting your schedule in order, and planning content that speaks to your target audience. Now it’s finally time to put pen to paper, to ensure that all of your planning isn’t undone by content that’s not engaging or appropriate for your audience.
Here are HN’s top three things to consider when crafting content for your blog.
1: Set the tone
While your brand’s tone and style guide is there to help give your business a coherent sense of personality (and therefore shouldn’t be ignored), blog posts don’t come from ‘the business’; they’re written by individuals. If your blog sounds like it’s being written by corporate drones, you run the risk of failing to connect with your audience and gain their trust. If your posts communicate the personalities of the people writing them, though, they’ll have immediate credibility – and your audience will respond positively to them. Don’t be afraid of controversy or debate, either – handled properly, both will win respect from your readers.
That said, your blog shouldn’t become a personal platform for your writers to post personal rants or idle musings. It’s still a very good idea to have clear guidelines regarding acceptable subject areas to talk about, and your business messages relating to those areas. Done right, your blog’s tone should complement your corporate materials, while obviously being a more informal and relaxed space.
2: Long or short?
This is a question that’s as hotly contested as the posting frequency debate. Some say that, in the age of Twitter and Vine, longer posts will bore your audience; others point to the fact that search engines are increasingly favouring long content as evidence that longer is better. At HN, we say that your post should be as long as it needs to be. If you’ve made your point in 100 words, why dilute what you’re trying to say to fill some notional wordcount? If you’re 500 words in and there’s more to say, keep going. If your posts are turning into short novels, look at breaking them into multiple parts, but as long as what you’re writing adds value to your point and isn’t just padding, don’t worry about longer content.
3: Get creative with your formats
When you think of a blog, do you think of written copy? Historically blogs have been paragraphs of prose, but there’s no need for things to stay that way. Adding a sprinkling of other formats — infographics, videos, podcasts, cartoons — will add variety to keep your audience engaged. Given that images and videos are more shareable than text alone , sprucing up your blog with visual content formats could help your blog reach a wider audience, too.
What will work best for me?
If some of these tips sound a little vague, it’s because experience has taught us that there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy when it comes to content. It will take some experimenting to see what works for you, and continual finetuning to make sure that your content is still working for your audience. If you keep these three considerations in mind, though, you’re off to a great start.
In our next post, we’ll be talking about how you can foster interaction between you and your blog’s readers. In the meantime, if you’ve got questions on anything we’ve talked about in this blog (or any of out others), then why not leave us a comment, or get in touch with us on social media via the links below?