In an earlier blog post, I wrote about best practices for communication in the world of remote work. One of the strategies I recommended was to write for the company blog. This is a great way for any professional to practice writing for the workplace. But what if your company doesn’t have a blog? In fact, starting a blog for your business is a good idea and an even better investment. In this meta post, I’ll explain why blogs matter for companies and how to make them effective.
Setting the Scene
Considering that I’m about to present an argument for business blogs, we have to understand why not every company has one. A blog can take a lot of effort to start and maintain, as this Forbes article explains. The author, James Parsons, is the CEO of Content Powered, which creates powerful blogs for other companies. He understands why a small business might hesitate to invest in a blog of its own. He recognizes that it may feel like this isn’t the best use of a small budget. After all, blogs don’t show huge results right away. However, he believes that the investment pays off if you do it right.
This article from HBR concurs. The author admits that Instagram and other visual social media might feel more popular, but she’s cautionary about choosing photos over words. If your company is focused on interior design or vintage fashion, visuals are probably great marketing. But if your products are hard to represent visually, a blog is the best medium to share your great ideas.
The Why: The Argument for a Business Blog
In that article from Parsons, he builds a strong argument for why every business should have its own blog. Let’s look at some of his main points.
Perhaps the most obvious reason to invest in a blog is to increase Internet traffic to your site. We all know that if you can get people to read your content, they’re more likely to explore your products. However, there are plenty of additional reasons why a blog adds value. Your content can help you demonstrate knowledge of your industry. This, in turn, makes your brand more trustworthy to readers. Blog posts also give you content you can share on social media to boost engagement. After all, they’re easy to read and have eye-catching headlines.
In the big picture, a blog evidences thought leadership. That’s why Parsons encourages CEOs to contribute to company blogs. (This reminds me of the post written by Pyrus’s CEO, Max Nalsky.) Having a blog is also a great way to network with other businesses. I’ve personally seen several other companies reach out to collaborate on content like this post. Finally, a blog will provide return on investment for years and years to come. The content you publish stays searchable and visible, continuing to work for you long after you’ve finished working on it.
If you’ve got a small business and have just been convinced that this is worthwhile, you might be wondering where to start. I found this article about starting a company blog very practical and helpful. It outlines steps like choosing a platform to support your blog and choosing your domain name. (Remember to choose a platform that will allow you to scale in the long term. For the domain name, make it memorable and unique.)
Once you’ve got the technical side of things set up, make a plan to follow. First, set an objective for your blog. Maybe you want to attract more customers for your products. Maybe your goal is to build your email list. If you have any trouble finding that target, check out this post on goal-setting. Next, decide on how often you’ll be posting. According to this article, posting a few times per week is best, but once weekly is okay too. Finally, choose a tone for your writing. Now, you’re ready to start creating content!
The How: Best Practices for the Best Blog
In this HBR article, you’ll get a ton of tips for writing a blog from Mike Reed, co-founder and creative director of Reed Words, a verbal branding agency. He emphasizes the importance of writing for your audience. Considering the low literacy rates in the US, that means writing clearly and simply to engage readers. I also liked the strategies in this article from Entrepreneur magazine. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll present a combination of ideas from both sources.
First off, make sure your blog is easy to read. Use short sentences and sound personable, not formal. Read your writing out loud to see if it sounds natural. If not, break it up and switch in some smaller words for the fancy ones. Technical jargon is a no-no. Next, make your content easily understandable. Use simple explanations to illustrate ideas, and focus on the reader’s perspective. Instead of marketing your product, consider what will engage your audience. Write about how your product can solve a problem they encounter, not the technical features of your product.
Stepping back from the words themselves, you’ll want to make sure your content is easy for readers to navigate. In the age of smartphones, which I wrote about here, people are going to be reading your blog on a small phone screen. This means that using subheadings, bullet points, and graphics matters. These features all make your blog easier to process. A catchy headline, short paragraphs, and a clear call to action at the end can be the cherry on top of a great post.
Overall, remember to add a unique perspective to every topic you tackle and share a clear message. Keep that in mind and you’ll be sharing engaging content in no time!
Why I Use Pyrus for This Blog
After sharing all that, you might feel a tad overwhelmed. After all, trying to set up the technical parts of the blog, set big picture goals for it, and nitpick the writing can be too much for one person. You’re likely going to want to work on a company blog as a team. At Pyrus, that’s certainly what we do. And Pyrus itself makes this easy for us!
Pyrus allows us to set up workflows to cover the whole process of blog creation and publication, start to finish. From the initial draft, to edits, to final approval, to publication, every member of the team involved gets notified when it’s their turn to take action. I also love that Pyrus promotes task-centered communication, so that all our thoughts about every blog can be found in one thread. Pyrus makes writing and publishing this blog a seamless, transparent process. So as you head out to start creating your blog as a team, check out Pyrus! You may be surprised what this software can do to move your work forward.