June 23, 2011
Advice on what makes business blogs work by three who know: George Kosch, Sandi Hunter and Dr. Jeffrey Lant.
Today , April 19, 2011, is a special day for the three members of the Worldprofit blog writing team. Today we completed writing 200 business blog articles, a project which began in June, 2010. The response to these articles has been nothing short of spectacular, so we decided to discuss the reasons why this has occurred and what it means for you and your business blog.
1) Be clear on the objective.
We are focusing this article on blogs created by businesses. Their objective is simple: make money. No business blog should ever be created which has some supposedly "better" purpose. It's easy to forget this purpose; it doesn't take much to unfocus a blog. That's why we suggest posting this message prominently in your office: "It's the money, silly." A variation of this message helped Billl Clinton (a notoriously diffuse individual) from going off theme and was influential in putting him in the Oval Office. This message will also work for you.
2) Designate a good writer to produce your blog's content.
Business blog copy must be clean, clear, accurate. That means designating a writer with business writing experience. An experienced copywriter is perfect. They know how to write copy that sells... which is just the copy you need.
3) If you cannot find a copywriter, become that copywriter yourself.
Successful copy is based on just 4 important words:
YOU GET BENEFIT NOW.
The "you" is your reader, the person you need your blog copy to motivate to contact you.
"get" is there to remind you that copy is always about what the reader (your past, present and future customer) gets from you.
"benefit" is the specific thing they get from each article you publish.
"now" is when you want the reader to respond, reminding yourself that there must always be one or more offers in each blog issue, such offers being intended to stimulate the immediate reader response which must always be your objective.
4) Master search engines.
Writing business blogs means finding and using a never ending supply of data, information, research findings, quotations of note, etc. Blogs eat up lots and lots of information.
This means becoming expert at finding pertinent data from search engines. Surprisingly we discovered that many business blog writers do not use and therefore do now know how to ensure best results from search engines. That problem must be recognized and overcome ASAP.
Successful business writers know how to write articles with data "holes" in them, "holes" they can quickly fill by accessing search engines... without ever leaving the computer. Given the fact that not so many years ago, business writers had to use specialized business libraries, a cumbersome process at best, search engines have made all the difference in getting important data quickly and easily, all at your fingertips.
5) Always have a lead article, the focus of each individual issue.
We have found in practice that each blog issue should be anchored by a major article. The length we recommend is 1,500 words.
This article should be divided into two distinct parts; first, the actual content itself. Second, pertinent follow-up details which advise your reader what is available, its benefits, and how to get it. These follow-up details are crucial and must follow each article. (See below for an example.)
How long does it take for such an article to be researched, written, edited, etc.? Obviously that depends on the amount of research you must do, how quickly you find it, your own skills and speed as a writer, etc. However, we have found that this "anchor" article takes on average 4-8 hours.
6) Always have a "new uses" feature.
You've all heard the old adage, "sell the sizzle, not the steak". That's why you need a "new uses" feature. Select any of your products and services; then provide at least one detailed blog article on how to get the great results from its use. Remember, people buy products too achieve results; the more practical uses you detail, the more sales you make.
7) Always include customer testimonials, particularly testimonials that provide details on what individual customers did and their positive results.
Customer testimonials work. Thus, make sure you always include one or more in each blog issue. And always make a point in each blog of asking your customers to provide more.
8) Have a "new product" feature... and, as above, ensure the copy focuses on what it does, that "sizzle" again.
Remember, blog copy is about making money by generating reader inquiries and sales. Your readers are glad to read about new products to the extent that the copy introducing them focuses on what the customer gets.
9) Set and keep a fixed blog publishing schedule.
Your readers should expect to see your blog, like clock work, on a published schedule. They should be trained to look forward to it and respond. But if your publishing schedule is erratic, unpredictable, then your reputation will not be enhanced and your sales will definitely suffer. Ouch!
Once you've set the schedule, treat it religiously.
10) Always include a very special offer in every issue.
Make it a truly spectacular offer... one available to blog readers only.
Position this offer prominently. It is, after all, eye-popping.
Blogs in general and business blogs in particular are here to stay. Businesses without them are businesses that suffer, having thereby circumscribed sales and growth. Make sure that isn't you.
One last piece of advice: Make your blog fun read and ALWAYS easy to respond to. If you follow these instructions, your blog will steadily grow in importance as a readily available source of customers and profits. As we can tell you from personal experience, what blogs deliver will truly delight, excite, and enthuse you. A steady stream of new customers and enhanced profits tend to do that.... Get started today and see for yourself.
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Dr. Lant is also the author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author's permission by Nicole King.