5 Ways to Improve your Business Blog

Internets = srs.biz. Parody motivator.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nowadays, almost all small businesses and corporations have an official blog. Thousands of employees also have their own personal blog to share thoughts and insights to fellow employees. All in all, blogging is a fixture and an important element of how we do business today.

While business blogs are plentiful, that doesn’t mean they are all good. Worse yet, a poorly-written or unprofessional blog can damage your and your company’s reputation quickly.

A vibrant and informative blog, however, can boost your personal brand, show others your expertise and fuel interest in your business. Here are 5 simple ways to improve your business blog, whether you’re writing for your customers or an internal audience:

  1. Provide lots of information and answers, not sales. The most interesting blogs don’t list the benefits of a product or service. Instead, they showcase these benefits in interesting ways. You could tell a customer’s story,  analyze a trend or answer common questions. Speak to your readers and initiate a conversation, don’t preach.
  2. Address challenges with candor. Don’t shy away from discussing your business’ problems or challenges, write about them in a straightforward and professional way. These topics draw in readers who will connect with you and your message strongly.
  3. Write well. Take the time to create well-written posts. Jargon and slang reflect poorly, no matter how common they are in conversation at your office. Your posts don’t need to be term paper-worthy, but they should have excellent grammar, spelling and structure.
  4. Make sharing and commenting easy. Create a great conversation by allowing readers to easily share your content and comment.
  5. Create a queue of finished posts. Publishing content frequently and consistently isn’t always possible! Keep the content flowing by writing several posts to go out at later times. The number of posts to queue differs for everyone, so choose what’s best for your blog.

P.S. Do you read (or write) an awesome business blog? I’d love to explore your favorites. Pass it along!

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5 Benefits of Blogging for your Business

Every business, large or small, has a wealth of information about their products, services and how they benefit customers. Today customers and clients really want learn as much of this information as possible before handing your their hard-earned money.

Blogging is one of the best platforms to communicate this information and share stories of how you help the community, how customers use your product in creative ways or build success with your services.

While it’s hard to gauge the financial benefits of blogging, it promotes your business in many ways:

  1. Establishing your company’s voice and brand. Your blog can develop a highly professional, knowledgeable — and human — voice for the business. By promoting your brand with conversational and approachable language, you’ll establish trust. A great example is Stonyfield Farm’s blog.
  2. Hearing directly from your customers and clients. Blogging is a great way to create a dialogue with your customers. It’s a space where readers can easily comment on your articles, thoughts and ideas; they can also share stories and pictures about their experiences and successes. One of my favorite examples is Sharpie’s blog, where customer’s artwork created with their markers are showcased.
  3. Becoming a resource for customers and clients. By writing about what you know — your area of business — you’ll establish yourself as an expert in the field. Readers will return to your blog again and again to learn. Eventually, many “repeat readers” will become customers. People Impact Practices’ blog about leadership exemplifies this.  
  4. Marketing yourself for little cost. Blogging is inexpensive and there are many important benefits. You can introduce new products, showcase successes and help spread great publicity.
  5. Creating an online presence. Search engines prefer sites that are regularly updated, so blogging gives your site’s ranking a boost.

Creating and maintaining a great business blog is hard work, but the benefits mean it’s worth the work. With a bit of planning and some time spent writing, your blog will add value, strengthen your brand and increase profits.

Internal Blog Topic Ideas

Whether you just began an internal blog or have been blogging for years, constantly coming up with new ideas for posts can be challenging and time-consuming. This can be painfully true for internal blogs, where it’s very easy to say the same thing over and over (and bore your readers in the process).

I’ve found a simple solution for this problem – organizing topic ideas into categories. Once you’ve mapped out the categories, you can add ideas for specific posts that fall under that category. The categories can be topics, such as “health benefits” or “career development.” There can also be posts that illustrate specific things your company or department offers. Take a look at these examples:

  1.  Resource Showcase: Highlight one resource that your business or department offers so the reader knows exactly how it benefits them and how to access this resource.
  2. Employee or Leader Profile: Interview an employee or leader to share their story, accomplishments and experiences.
  3. Customer or Client Profile: Remind your employees what it’s all about by showcasing a happy customer or client’s experience with your product or services.
  4. Reading Lists: Suggest books, articles or blogs that may interest your readers. You can post a reviews, ask readers for their reactions or promote outside resources for learning.
  5. Motivational Showcase: Challenge and inspire your readers to tackle goals by adding short, impacting posts with quotes, photos or tips.
  6. Event Showcase: Include photos and feedback from important seminars, conferences or classes. This will sustain the energy created at the event, as well as promote more attendance at the next one.

This list has only a few ideas – there are infinite possibilities. By creating these new categories and deciding on how frequently they will be published (I suggest one or two times per month for each category), you’ll be well on your way to a dynamic internal blog.

5 Reasons to Start that Internal Blog

Blogging is contributing to a conversation – a conversation that’s happening with or without your input. Internal blogs are platforms for thoughts, ideas and perspectives pertaining to vital conversations at your business.

Whether you’re a professional, supervisor or executive, you have an abundance of knowledge, information and experiences. Blogging benefits your business by allowing you to share your thoughts, ideas and perspectives easily. You can tell anecdotes, recommend an insightful book, offer tips or address pressing concerns.

While an internal blogs’ return on investment cannot be measured quantitatively, blogging benefits your business by:

  1. Increasing morale and engagement: Your employees and co-workers will appreciate your candid discussion of their concerns and questions. Use an upbeat and positive tone – your optimistic attitude will be infectious. By sharing your advice and experiences, you’ll promote collaboration and equip your readers to tackle similar challenges more easily.
  2. Creating a feeling of connectedness: Employees and co-workers throughout the world will read your posts, and contribute their thoughts by commenting. By addressing internal concerns, you’ll promote transparency and openness. Also, you can blog about the corporation’s long-term objectives and projects or relate the business’s work to important events and trends, giving employees insight into the importance of their contributions.
  3. Raising awareness and promote change: By blogging strategically, your message will grow stronger throughout the organization. For example, if you are an executive implementing a new sales strategy, dedicate your blog to outlining the strategy’s goals, tips for improving sales tactics or stories about individual employee’s experiences selling under the new strategy.
  4. Showcasing your business’ resources and opportunities: Promote your corporation or business internally by highlighting why it’s a great place to work, exciting new opportunities and resources for employees to leverage. Blogging is one of the best ways to strengthen your business’ brand internally, which bolsters how your customers perceive your brand.
  5. Keeping employees coming back for more: Insightful and thoughtful blog posts will peak readers’ interest, so they’ll want to keep coming back again and again. Over time, your blog will become a hub for important information, resources and conversation.

Internal blogs help businesses grow, fostering more productive and knowledgeable work environments. Give your blog the attention it deserves; high-quality content is vital for it’s success. If you aren’t sure where to start or need help creating insightful content, be sure to hire an expert.

Have you read a business’ internal blog that impressed you? What did you like most about it? What made it successful?