12 tips for writing a business blog even busy people will read
By Nick Butler
30 November 2017
Here are a dozen practical tips that make writing a business blog easier and more effective.
By business blog I mean a blog that promotes the aims of your organisation, be it commercial, not-for-profit or public sector. The tips are also useful for pretty much any web content you might be writing.
Like you, the people you’re writing your business blog for are busy. To make sure your blog stands out in the deluge of internet content, you have to give your readers a reason to check out what you’ve written. They need to be able to quickly see that it’s relevant and useful.
“Getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.”
For the purposes of this post, imagine you sell table tennis bats. You want to promote your business so you’ve decided to write a business blog that will help table tennis players improve their game. And, when they see that you know your stuff, they’re more likely to buy your bats. (We play a bit of ping pong here at Boost and, I think it’s fair to say, I’m slightly obsessed by the game.)
If you’ve decided to write a business blog you already know the benefits a blog brings. You probably know how to choose material and create a call to action. You’ve checked out the common pitfalls. Now it’s time to sit down and write your first post.
3 tips that make business blog writing more effective
1. Think about your readers
- Be clear who your audience is.
- Answer their No. 1 question: “What’s in it for me?”. What are the benefits you offer?
- Use the language your audience uses.
- Use ‘you’. Say “You have to toss the ball 16cm when serving in table tennis” not “The rules of table tennis require the ball to be tossed 16cm when serving” — this helps you write from your readers’ point of view.
2. Feed it to them fast
- Make sure your title is clear, concise and gives people a good reason to start reading.
- Open with a summary of what you’ll cover and the benefit you’ll provide.
- Put the most important point first, then the next, and so on.
- Put the most important words at the start of headings and paragraphs.
- Use lots of headings so people can skip to what interests them most.
- Bold key phrases if you need them to stand out.
- Stick to one topic per piece, and one idea per paragraph.
3. Cut the flab
- Cut unnecessary words.
- Use simple words.
- Write simple, short sentences (about 15–20 words long).
- Use bullet point lists.
- Mainly write active not passive sentences (e.g. ‘Americans call table tennis ping pong.’ not ‘Table tennis is called ping pong by Americans.’).
Don’t worry that you’re dumbing it down. Nobody ever said, “Well, that was too easy to read.”. With so much web content read on the small screens of phones, it’s really important to write clearly and concisely.
3 tips that make writing a business blog easier
If you’re sitting there hypnotised by the cursor blinking at the top of a blank page, here are some tips to help you get underway.
1. Be yourself
Readers respond best to blogs that feel authentic.
A good way to write a conversational blog post is to first sit down with someone and describe what you’re going to cover. If you write as if you’re talking to someone face-to-face you’re more likely to write directly and simply. Plus, talking about a topic helps you think it through.
2. Draft it as bullet points
Start by writing a list of the points you’ll cover. Juggle the order to get the most important points first and so that they flow from point to point.
You’ll often find you’ve got the bulk of your post in these bullets. Flesh them out with any explanations or detail that you need.
3. Get a second set of eyes
Get your text checked before you publish.
No matter how many times you proof read your post it’s easy to miss typos, spelling mistakes and sentences that are hard to follow. That’s because you know what you meant to say, so that’s what you see.
See below for some writing tools that can help you with grammar and readability questions.
3 steps for writing a business blog that gets seen in search engines
You want to make sure your readers can find your post in search engines. The term ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ makes the process sound complex but the basics of SEO are simple.
1. Pick a search phrase
Decide what phrase your readers would be most likely to type into a search engine like Google when looking for the material you’re covering. Take table tennis a.k.a. ping pong. If you’re writing about it for Kiwis, we tend to call it ‘table tennis’. If your audience is American, they call it ‘ping pong’.
Google Trends is useful for comparing search terms. See this Google trends comparison between ‘table tennis’ and ‘ping pong’ for example.
2. Use the search phrase in your post
Say your phrase is ‘table tennis tips’. Use that phrase in the:
- meta title
- main heading
- first paragraph
- some sub-headings
- rest of your post (the longer the post, the more times you should use it)
- descriptions of any relevant images (such as captions, filenames and alt text).
3. Get links to your post
Link to your piece from other relevant posts on your blog or your organisation’s website. Use your search phrase in the link text.
Do a search for other websites with pages that your content expands on or otherwise adds value to. Contact the people who look after the site, explain how your page will help their readers and ask if they’ll link to your page. If their content will help readers of your post, link to theirs. Let them know you’ve done this—it makes it more likely they’ll link to your post.
3 writing tools to help with writing a business blog
Here are some tools that can help with readability and grammar questions that can come up when you’re writing a business blog.
- Hemingway editor – simple readability suggestions
- Grammarly – grammar and spelling checker
- Grammar girl – easy-to-follow grammar advice
More tips for web writing
Discovering your business purpose