How long are you willing to wait for something? In the age of instant gratification, you can order food, schedule an appointment, or do a video conference with someone on the other side of the world within minutes. Everything is quick — and if it isn’t, you lose interest and move on to something else. The same thing happens with any type of content, including blogs.
Starting a business blog can be highly beneficial. It drives traffic to your website, gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority within your industry, and allows you to establish relationships as you interact with existing and potential clients. But is simply having one enough? How can you ensure its success? It’s a mix of good strategy and content — which will translate to search engine optimization (SEO) and lead conversions. So, how can you do it efficiently?
6 Tips for Starting a Successful Blog
1. Come Up With a Strong Headline
To get anyone to click on your blog, you have to lure them in with a good headline. Since people do online searches when looking for a solution, include what you’re fixing right on the title: How to Get Rid of Morning Sickness, 5 Ways to Avoid Bloating, Tips to Reduce Arthritis Pain. All of these titles tell your target audience what’s in it for them. At the end of the day, that’s what matters most.
2. Start With a Killer First Paragraph
You have 15 seconds to keep a reader interested. That’s it. You could write a road map for finding the Holy Grail, but if your first paragraph is boring, nobody will ever find out what you’ve included further down in the text. Depending on your target audience, you can use humor, be relatable, or start with a startling statistic that’s relevant to them. Think about what would keep you reading if you were looking for a solution your business offers. Craft your opening paragraph around that.
3. Write Useful Content
Some blog content is only designed to get traffic to a website. However, once the reader clicks on the link, all they read is fluff (e.g. useless content designed to increase the word count without providing value). Nothing is original. Nothing is helpful. It’s just words on a screen, with SEO keywords peppered in. When writing content, think about how the blog will help answer a user’s question. Take some time to think about common problems your target audience faces. Put yourself in the readers’ shoes, and make it your priority to provide real solutions. Make sure they come out learning something they didn’t know before they read the blog.
4. Stick to the Point
Let’s say you’re an ophthalmologist and want to talk about the importance of annual eye exams. From this topic alone, you could discuss health conditions that can be discovered through an eye exam, how examinations for eyeglasses and contact lenses differ, and contact lens hygiene. All of them could be interrelated, yet addressing each of those issues would make the blog too long. Focus on one topic and expand on it. Avoid going on distracting tangents. In a scenario like the one described above, make a list of all related topics and write separate blog posts for each of them.
5. Use a Conversational Tone
One of the most important rules for any writer is to always write for their intended audience. Writing a Ph.D. dissertation has a more serious tone than writing an op-ed for The Huffington Post. By the same token, blogs tend to be more conversational in nature. Connect with the reader in a way you would when talking with people — keeping in mind your intended demographics. Also, make sure to stay aligned with your brand. A gerontologist and a pediatrician would use different voices when connecting with patients and their families.
6. Make It Easy to Read
Nobody likes to read large blocks of text. And, while medical students and lawyers may be used to doing so to earn their degrees, when people do online searches, they’re looking for quick answers. In fact, when looking at websites, most people don’t read the content word for word. They scan the page, trying to find what they need as fast as possible. Optimize your content by using headings, subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists where applicable. The easier it is to find answers, the better.