Was starting a business blog one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, good for you! Blogging for a business is alive and well, despite what “they” (the-chasing-shiny-objects crowd) say.
While blogging for a business isn’t a must, it’s one of the best ways of getting your marketing messages and hard-earned expertise online — and it keeps your site fresh and relevant, compared to other pages on your site that grow stale or (said better) remain evergreen.
Whether writing comes naturally to you or is more of a struggle, one way to ease your stress is to follow a formula or template, of sorts, that makes it easier to write a blog article.
Here are four post styles with suggestions on how you can use these to create interesting content for your business blog.
Instructional Blog Post
If you’re a consultant or a long-time veteran in your field, I bet it’s easy and natural for you to get into full-on instruction mode. You find yourself regularly advising customers and clients (and also, family and friends) on how to do [fill in your favorite topic here]. Given your inclination, you should be a natural for writing an instructional or how-to post.
Here’s an outline you could follow as you prepare to write your draft — just answer these questions and build out the content from there:
- What’s the desired outcome for the reader of your blog post?
- What are the benefits she/he could discover by taking your advice?
- What are the action steps the reader needs to know to reach the desired outcome?
- What are common pitfalls to avoid and why?
- What are final thoughts you can share to recap key steps and benefits, in order to give the reader a final nudge toward action?
Inspirational Blog Post
Reading through social media posts or catching the latest news headlines can sometimes be a downer. Be a source of encouragement to your blog readers via an upbeat post that’s motivational, entertaining, encouraging and/or inspires action.
You could tell readers about a client or partner success story (of course, don’t share the person’s name without express permission) — or write something more personal about how you made a change in your business or work life that proved to be beneficial.
Your post outline could include the:
- Particular challenge or situation you/the featured person faced
- Opportunities and rewards for overcoming the challenges
- His/her/your journey (with both success and stumbles) along the way
- Happy ending when the accomplishment was realized
Informative Blog Post
Do you love to stay abreast of news in your industry? Or maybe you’re the person people go to when it comes to knowing what’s happening in your local business community. Share your in-the-know knowledge with blog readers by informing and enlightening them on a particular topic.
Here’s how to craft an informative blog post that’s connected to something newsy:
- Share a summary of the news by sourcing, quoting and/or linking to the information if you’re referencing another website.
- Offer perspectives on what this news means — to your readers, your business, customers, industry, etc.
- Provide readers with related facts that complement or even (if appropriate) contradict the news.
- Draw conclusions about the news by sharing your expertise/experience.
Insightful Blog Post
Perhaps the easiest post of the four to write is sharing a new revelation or long-held philosophy — something where you really show your personality. For example, yesterday I was reminded that just 20 minutes of walking outside puts me in a happier place than sitting on the couch (where I often work, even though I have a home office!) reading about the day’s happenings in our government.
Using this experience, I could write a post about:
- How I felt at the time and what my options were (to keep reading or close the computer and go outside)
- How I coached myself to a better behavior and how a reader could do the same (I reminded myself I need to do more walking and how I like meeting more of my neighbors)
- What I’ll take away from what I learned (I should put a limit on how much political news I digest … and I like to see my Fitbit showing more than 7k steps each day!)
Following a format is one way to make content creation easier … so which post style will you work on today?!