Blogs are to the web as taco shops are to Southern California—ubiquitous, but only a handful actually have an A rating. How do you stand out among the refried fluff? Read on for a few tips.
1. Don’t SELL
. Hear me out—this is truly one of my biggest gripes. A blog post is not, I repeat, NOT
just another landing page of your website. It is not there to persuade anyone—at least not on a conscious level. Sales-oriented blogs actually do the opposite of selling anything.
Why? Nobody wants to read it. Nobody’s going to share it. Nobody cares about it. It will get lost in the cobweb-filled attic of the blogosphere. It will have been a waste of time and money.
This isn’t to say that a blog is not a good space to share company news and details—it is a great place to give yourself a little pat on the back (now and then). But again, do not sell. Your blog should not sound like a pamphlet or some other form of marketing material
2. Instead, offer something useful.
To provide an example, my favorite outside-of-work blog is Design Sponge
, because it is full of useful, inspiring, and fun content, including interviews, project ideas, recipes, before and after photos, and so on. I would immediately stop following Design Sponge if each and every post was just a promotion of the new Design Sponge coffee table book.
As another example, an architecture company could create a blog called “The World’s 10 Most Extravagant Buildings”—even though they didn’t have anything to do with building those structures. It’s relevant, entertaining, provides opportunity for images, and includes a number in the title (which people love).
Consider what kind of blog you like to follow, and use those fundamentals for your own purpose. A head chef wouldn’t keep an item on the menu if she could barely choke it down herself.
3. Write well. In other words, wake up—this isn’t an academic essay. Tighten up your language. Every company has somebody who likes to write—get them on board. Use this as an opportunity to speak at least semi-colloquially with your audience. Your blog is technically part of your social media efforts, so do your best to pique interests via your use of language.
may seem like an insignificant detail compared to bulky, information-packed body of your blog post, but having a lousy headline is like tossing a high-tech, expensive fishing rod into the water with no bate.
4. Get the word out. Do these things:
- Make a link to your blog a visible part of your site map.
- Add an RSS option, so that readers can opt-in and always be in the know for when you create new posts.
- Use your other social media outlets to let people know you’ve got a blog.
- With your newfound ability to create attention-grabbing headlines, people will be more inclined to retweet a link to your blog post.
- Toss a link to your blog in your email signature.
5. Consistency is key. Don’t be a fair-weather blogger. Be consistent with your blogging habits—and try to create something of value at least once per week.
6. Be communicative. Respond to those who grace you with comments. Say, “Thanks for reading…” and start a conversation. Of course, delete spam comments or set up CAPTCHA to reduce them—and keep responses dignified. There’s nothing more pathetic than an argument via blog comments.
7. Optimize. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to optimize your blog with internal links (but take it easy). Use keywords and tags to juice it up. A relevant keyword in the title doesn’t hurt either—as long as it doesn’t mean sacrificing the attention-grabbing title you already came up with.
8. Don’t be a plain Jane
. People like images, it’s a fact. You can find free-to-use images via Google Advanced Image Search
or Creative Commons
. Just be sure that the image is actually licensed for free use, and that you throw the source a bone by linking back to the original location. You can also take this as an opportunity to spread your creative wings and create your own images. Try creating an infographic to illustrate the point of your post or even use your own photography. An image near the header of your post is great, but it’s even better to pepper them throughout—if they’re relevant. Multiple images are especially useful if you’re explaining a process or creating a how-to.
Long ago I was a barista. I would cut up select treats like brownies into smaller portions to give away as samples, while sparking conversations with customers. Or I’d sometimes bring an unexpected, fancy slice of cake or new coffee creation to a table “just because.” While you might not consider your blog to be a great source of “direct” conversions, it is sometimes the indirect subtleties that get your audience right where you want them.