Get that Company Blog Up and Running in 4 Weeks – Week 3: How to write that company blog – 3 things about 3 things

write that company blog

4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blog

Introduction

You’ve convinced management of the benefits of a consistent, quality company blog. You’ve written the blog plan. You have a production schedule, a list of topics, and a goal for each post. Now you need to write.  This can present a challenge, whether you like writing or not.  How does one go about writing a blog post?

Check out these 3 things about 3 things on how to write a post that gets clicked, read, and shared.

Week 3: How to write a blog – 3 things about 3 things

Thing 1: Get the basics right

There is a basic structure to any piece of quality content.  Get the basics right and your blog is that much more likely to get read.

1. Title/headline

The headline presents the first impression of post.  It’s important to get it right or readers won’t click through to read the content.  A headline should be actionable and keyword-focused.  Try to keep it brief.  Be clear and definitive, maybe even intriguing.

write that company blog

Research shows certain headlines catch readers’ attention better than others. The ever-popular How to…, is popular for a reason. It works! Other phrases work too:

  • The truth about… (e.g. The truth about clarifiers)
  • Facts you should know… (e.g. Seven facts you should know about aerators)

There are lots of guides out there on how to write a great headline.  Most agree that you can spruce up a mediocre headline by:

  • including numbers,
  • adding an intriguing adjective, or
  • using action verbs.

Make sure the headline is specific. Your post is about a specific and emotionally-compelling idea. Keep the title specific too.

Keep the headline as short as possible. It’s best if it will fit in search results displays. Even before the internet, research proved a title of 8 words or less is most effective.

2. The body copy

Now it’s time to write the post. It helps to start with an outline, even for a short piece of content like a blog post.  Organize all the information that supports the one big idea and make sure it follows a logical flow. Use headings and subheadings to divide the supporting information into sections.

Two critical headings to use are the Introduction and the Conclusion. As with a good story, in the introduction you set the scene. You tell the reader what you’re going to tell them.  Follow with the body copy, subdivided into sections with headings and subheadings relevant to the topic.  This is where you tell them about the one big idea and the problem it solves. Finish with a conclusion that tells them what you told them.

Unique to blogs is the chance to get a conversation started. Find a way to invite your readers to comment. Ask a question. Follow the discussion and contribute solutions.

3. The call-to-action

write that company blog

Finish every post with a call-to-action (CTA).  As a powerful top-of-the-funnel tactic, your blog is the perfect place to pull prospects further into the funnel. Tell your readers what to do next:

  • subscribe to your blog,
  • contact you, or
  • read about your product and services on your website.

Go back to your blog plan and check the goal for your blog. Make sure your CTA will help you achieve that goal.

Thing 2: Readability IS the new SEO

write that company blog

Although keywords and keyword phrases remain important, search engines are increasingly focused on readability. Search engines want to be sure your content will fulfill the reader’s intent. Most readers prefer easy-to-read text. Here are some ways to make your text easy-to-read:

1. Keep it concise and to the point

When writing about complex technical subjects, you need to construct your sentences carefully.  Direct, simple sentences will help get your point across.  In fact, long sentences almost always have complex grammatical structures.  This puts a strain on the reader’s immediate memory.  The reader has to retain several parts of each sentence before he can combine them into a meaningful whole.

Here are a few tricks to help you keep concise and to the point:

  • Trick #1: Keep sentences and paragraphs short.

The average length of your sentences should be 20 words or fewer

  • Trick #2: Sentences should focus on one idea

Keep it simple. Cover only one idea per sentence and one theme per paragraph. Get to the point; don’t wander around first.  Find one emotionally compelling idea and stick to it. 

  • Trick #3: Use the active voice

Use the active voice.  The passive voice tends to seem evasive:

The standards were breached.

Who breached the standards? As a reader, you might think: Is the writer trying to hide something from me? If you don’t want to appear to be hiding something, you should use active voice:

The refinery breached a water quality standard.

2. Use personal pronouns

Using personal pronouns gives your writing a conversational tone.  Personal pronouns seem to connect the reader to the writer. A conversational tone helps your reader focus on your message rather than your language.

Just be sure that they’re are right for the content. Using personal pronouns may not be appropriate in every situation.

3. Avoid jargon

It’s easy to be drawn to words that are common in your industry – jargon. But are they common to your audience?  When writing for non-specialists and you have a choice between words, use the common, everyday word.

A couple further pointers on word choice:

  • Use positive words. Negatives like don’t in front of a verb can make some readers stumble.
  • Avoid long strings of nouns. Sentences with several nouns in a row can be difficult to navigate.
  • Use inclusive language. Unless your document is about men, don’t use only male pronouns (he, his).

Sometimes you may have to use a technical term, even when you’re writing for non-specialists. In that case, choose words that will help your readers.

Be careful about words like very, really, actually, or carefully that don’t serve any purpose.  Keep in simple, keep it easy to understand.

By adopting an easy-to-read style, you can start engaging your audience.  Use personal pronouns, where appropriate.  Avoid jargon by choosing the right word and avoid padding your text with words that serve no purpose.

Need help with readability? I’ve designed a plain language checklist that will help you write more readable content. You can download the checklist for free here: https://www.watercopy.com/checklist-readability/

Thing 3: Design it so readers will move right through to the CTA

You may not want to know this but not all your readers will read your entire blog.  Many blog readers (43%, according to Hubspot) admit to skimming content.  Rather than being offended by this, play to those readers.  Cater to all readers with the design of each blog.

1. White space

Dense blocks of text can intimidate readers.  Clever use of white space – areas with no text or graphics – will lessen the stress. Keep paragraphs short and use line spacing to add a little white space between paragraphs.

Putting in a pull quotes add variety to the blog’s visual flow. Photos, graphs, charts, and tables add visual appeal while providing in-depth information in an eye-catching format.  Keep graphs and charts relatively simple.

2. Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings not only help with the flow of logic of the post, they provide a break from the text.  They allow skimmers to get the gist of the blog without having to read the entire article.  It helps with SEO to optimize headings for keywords, where possible.

3. Bulleted or numbered lists

Anytime your information allows, break up blocks of text with bulleted or numbered lists.  Again, they cater to skimmers, but they also help organize information into short concise portions.

Conclusion

After all the meetings, the brainstorming, the planning, it’s time to write.  Writing posts for the company blog may never be your favorite thing to do but with these 3 things about 3 things you can help to ensure your post will get clicked, read, and shared.

Do you have any tricks for writing great blog posts that readers love to read? Please share them here!

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, how do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog?  WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss your blogging needs.


CONTACT A BLOG PLANNER/WRITER

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Get that Company Blog Up and Running in 4 Weeks – Week 2: Consistency: A company blog plan ensures success

company blog plan

4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blog

Introduction

Although by nature blogs have a certain spontaneity about them, an effective company blog is meticulously planned and consistently executed.  Planning ensures you meet your marketing goals by publishing quality content on a regular schedule.  Your subscribers and interested readers want to know when they can expect new content from a source they have come to trust. 

company blog plan

The company blog plan sits within and supports your greater content marketing strategy.  However, a company blog is such a valuable marketing asset that it needs a plan of its own.  A plan that describes:

  • Why you blog – Goals
  • Who you blog to – Audience
  • What you blog about – Content
  • When you blog – Schedule
  • How you blog – Promotion

This post will examine each step in building a company blog plan that ensures success.

Week 2: Consistency: A company blog plan ensures success

Why you blog – Goals

The first step in any plan is to set goals.  In a blog plan, goals for the blog should support the company’s business goals as well as the goals of your strategic content marketing plan.  Goals like building your list, increasing traffic to your website, or establishing thought leadership.  By establishing goals and objectives for your blog in general, and for each individual blog, allows you to understand what success looks like.

Who you blog to – Audience

To be effective at generating awareness, you need to understand your audience. Market research helps you define your audience and assess your competitors.  The more you learn about your audience, the better able you’ll be to provide the content they want.  By understanding your competitors, you can craft better content to gain that critical edge.

Audience research

Getting to know your target audience is key to crafting relevant content.  You need to learn what:

  • people expect from blogs in your niche;
  • kind of content do they find useful and exciting;
  • benefits do they expect to receive from your blogs; and
  • makes them tick and compels them to keep coming back for more.

It may not be easy to define your target audience when you have no blog subscribers.  One way to get an idea of what your audience wants is to conduct a survey.  Ask what your audience wants more information about.  Ask what they like about your blog and what other blogs they like.

Competitive analysis

As well as understanding your audience you need to understand your competition.  How are they promoting their content?  What are they blogging about?  By having an insight into their content strategy, you can fine-tune your own.  Find your own unique voice in your niche.  You can only do that if you know the competition.

What you blog about – Content

While there are many sources of ideas for topics to blog about, you can boost your search results by using keywords to come up with topics.  That means carrying out keyword research.

Keyword analyzers

Start with your main keyword.  Keyword analyzers, such as Google AdWords, suggest keyword combinations and then rank them on the number of searches a month that used that combo.  You then check out related words and terms.  Search on semantically-related words as well, such as the individual components of water treatment systems.

company blog plan

Long-tail keywords – 3 to 4-word phrases, will get you less traffic but more targeted searchers.  When they find your page, they are more likely to become a lead because the search was more focused.

Search engines

You can also find keywords and phrases through the auto suggest from a Google search.  When you type in a keyword or phrase, a dropdown list will display previous search phrases. 

At the bottom of the Google search page is another source of keywords.  Google provides a list of other search terms and phrases that are similar to the current one.

By basing the topics on keywords and featuring the focus keyword in page titles, headers, alt tags, and images you can optimize your blog for search engines.  Be sure to provide links back to your power pages – products and services, and a call-to-action that encourages further engagement.

Your team

Another important resource for topics is your sales team. Find out what questions customers and leads are being asking, what problems they are facing? Join and follow forums in your niche, paying attention to problems being discussed. Check these against your keyword phrases. You may find many parallels.

When you blog – Scheduling

company blog plan

The production schedule for your company blog fits into content calendar of your greater strategic content marketing plan. Plan to post weekly to start but that is really a minimum.  Hubspot found that B2B businesses who blog at least 20 times per month have five times more traffic than those who blog less than four times per month.  Just keep it at a frequency you can maintain consistently.

You may want to plan posts in a series with a contextual lead magnet at end of each.  Be sure each post is based on one compelling idea, and that all posts compel your audience to read the next post, and to ultimately to download the lead magnet.

How you blog – Promotion

The whole point of a blog is to get your posts read by as many people as possible.  That requires promotion.  The first place to post you blogs is on your company website, of course.  But there are other ways to get your information out to your audience. 

Share each post on all your social media channels with a link back to your website.  Have your employees send it out to their networks.  Send updates out to your email list with links to your recent post.

Consistently publishing quality content is important. Be sure to get it read by as many people as possible by promoting it effectively.

Conclusion

An effective company blog is meticulously planned and consistently executed. To make it work, you need a company blog plan. A plan that describes:

  • Why you blog – Goals
  • Who you blog to – Audience
  • What you blog about – Content
  • When you blog – Schedule
  • How you blog – Promotion

Implement this plan consistently and reap the rewards!

The next post in the series: Get that Company Blog Up and Running in Four Weeks – 4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blogWeek 3: How to write your blog with your reader in mind – 3 tips, explains how to write a blog that gets read and shared.

Do you have a blog plan? Is it documented and implemented?

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, how do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog every week?  WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss your blogging needs.

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Get that Company Blog Up and Running in Four Weeks: Week 1: Benefits: How to sell it to management

company blog benefits

4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blog

Introduction

Why bother with a company blog?  Is it that important in the water industry?

Let’s think about marketing in the water industry.  What are you selling?  Highly specialized and often complex technology that has a long operational life and a hefty price tag.  These kinds of systems don’t sell themselves nor will the hard sell impress the people who buy them.

How will a company blog help you sell your water treatment systems and services?  What your audience needs is information.  Not about your products but about the problems they are facing.  Once they figure out the problem, they need information about available solutions. 

company blog benefits

In fact, a typical B2B buyer is more than half way through the buyer’s journey before they engage directly with a supplier.  You gain trust by giving your audience quality information without a hard sell.  An important channel for publishing this information is your company blog.

The first step in establishing an effective company blog is to sell it to management. It is essential that the blog is adequately resourced so consistency and quality is maintained. In this first port in the series: How to Get that Company Blog Up and Running in Four Weeks – 4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blog, we identify four key benefits that will sell your blog idea to management.

Week 1: Benefits: How to sell it to management

Your company blog is a long-term marketing asset – a critical part of any inbound marketing program.  And although there are many direct benefits to the water industry from maintaining a company blog, four stand out:

  1. Increasing traffic to your website
  2. Building awareness of your solutions
  3. Moving your company website up the search engine list
  4. Converting leads through Call-to-Actions.

Let’s look at each in a bit more detail.

1:      Increasing traffic to your website

A water industry website tends to be static.  You may occasionally publish product updates or refresh some text, but the content mostly stays the same. With a blog, subscribers and new readers come to your site regularly for the fresh content.  Once they are there, they may browse other pages and find further value.

Your products and services pages are important.  Putting in-links from keyword-optimized hyperlinks in the blog will increase traffic to these critical pages.  In-links help boost your site’s status with search engines too.

2:      Building awareness of your solutions

By sharing information, you to build awareness of your company, your solutions.  A blog is the perfect place to do just that.  Think about what problems your target audience is facing and the solutions available.  With a consistent, engaging blog, your company is more likely to come to mind when a solution is required. 

A key aspect of content marketing in general, and blogs in particular, is to avoid the hard sell.  Your posts should inform and entertain, not constantly blast your audience with ads, brochures, or technical fact sheets. 

Convince prospects that you’re an involved and informed industry player.  Sharing information on your blog gives your readers insight into the value you offer.  Guide your audience and educate them in how to solve their problems.  But make sure they understand the complexity of the problem and its solution.  Let them know how your company can solve their problem seamlessly.

3:      Moving your company website up the search engine list

Search engines love blogs.  If you blog frequently – and frequency counts – you create more pages and more content for indexing.  This enhances organic traffic to your site when you blog consistently.

company blog benefits

Optimize each blog for keywords by developing blog topics around industry-specific keywords.  Be aware though, ‘stuffing’ content with dozens of mentions of keywords is not optimizing.  In fact, search engines frown on the practice, which could lead to your site never appearing on the first page of Google.  Used strategically, however, keywords will bring more traffic to your blog and help to generate leads.

Remember that SEO is not limited to keywords anymore.  Search engines now assess the readability of content.  The idea is that readers prefer content that is easy to read.  You can improve the readability and visual appeal of your company blog with a few simple tricks. Writing a readable blog will be covered in Week 3: How to Write a Blog with Your Reader in Mind – 3 tips.

4:      Converting leads through Call-to-Actions

Blogs are a classic example of a top-of-sales-funnel tactic.  Prospects who come to your blog for the quality content can quickly become leads.  Bring them further into the funnel with a clear, compelling call-to-action (CTA) each time you post.  Make the CTA relevant to the topic of the blog.  Invite the prospect to download educational or useful content in exchange for contact information.

company blog benefits

An effective CTA leads to an offer that a prospect is willing to trade their contact information for.  What to offer, the lead magnet, will be covered in an upcoming series of blogs.

Conclusion

Clearly, there are many benefits for the water industry in maintaining an effective company blog.  The problems your clients are facing are complex.  The benefits your solutions provide can be difficult to quantify.  Your prospects want information.  A blog provides a powerful platform to publish that information.

In the water industry there are many reasons to love your company blog.  The big four are:

1:    Increasing traffic to your website

2:    Building awareness of your solutions

3:    Moving your company website up the search engine list

4:    Converting leads through Call-to-Actions

A company blog is a cost-effective way to raise awareness at the top of the sales funnel. The trick, of course, is to post informative and interesting content consistently.  The second post in the series: How to Get that Company Blog Up and Running in Four Weeks – 4 weeks to an awareness-generating company blogWeek 2: Consistency: How to plan a company blog that works, is all about blog planning, and how to develop a production schedule that will keep your blog on track.

What benefits do you reap from your company blog? 

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, how do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog? 

WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog planning and writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss all your blogging needs!


CONTACT A BLOG PLANNER/WRITER

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