That’s the biggest no-brainer in the world, and anyone who writes a blog post on why business owners need to create blogs is just filling the Internet with digital carbon dioxide.
I don’t care if businesses know why they need to blog – I want them to actually do it. And I want them to do it well.
I want businesses to create readable, shareable content.
There’s a lot that goes into successful blogging and promoting and sharing and attributing and so on and so on and so on. But right here, right now, take a look at this quote:
“USC’s Center for the Digital Future announced recently that 80 percent of Americans’ online time is spent at 15 or fewer online destinations. What is the chance that your corporate website is one of those 15? Essentially, no chance. Thus, the key to effective content marketing is to create informational outposts that represent your brand in as many of those ‘magic 15’ as possible.”
Content creation is useful for search engines, but search engines are increasingly sensitive to online marketing tactics that are “useful for search engines” but aren’t that useful or, frankly, desirable for search engine users.
Fact: Dwell time is a big factor for SEO. That means the longer someone stays on your site and reads your content, the better your content will rank. You need your readers to dwell on your content.
If you want your blog to appear in search engines, or in someone’s Facebook feed, it needs to be a really, really good blog.
And before we get into how to write good content, we need to know what good content really is.
Most of us know good content when we see it, but it’s usually “good” in an abstract way. Let’s talk about specifics.
Your content must be good for both education and entertainment.
These are the two most basic reasons for anyone to use a search engine – or, for that matter, to click on a link they see in their social stream. To answer a question that already exists in their head, or to view a specific piece of entertainment.
Before you even write your content, make sure you’re not wasting anyone’s time (including your own):
If your answer isn’t an enthusiastic “yes,” you probably shouldn’t write the piece.
These will help kick your content up a notch.
If you’re only asking these questions, you shouldn’t be writing blogs.
…A question for you: how is your own website performing?
It should be entertaining enough that readers will read all of it and then want more. It should be educational enough that your readers are smarter than before they read your piece.
To that end…
Your writing ability matters.
The topics you choose to write about matter.
Blogs that fail to entertain inevitably fail to educate, because they lose their readers before the education is delivered.
This means that if your blog isn’t a good read, then its value to your business or your website is effectively nothing at all.
You must have entertaining content. And that’s easier said than done.
So let’s get into it.
“Entertaining” doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write a comedy piece, or a musical, or a blockbuster, or anything other than a piece of content that readers enjoy. If nobody enjoys reading it, guess where your content will never appear?
Those magic fifteen websites that your customers visit regularly, that’s where.
There are plenty of ways to create a readable, entertaining blog post. Be cautious, and be aware of your audience – business-to-business blogging is a different beast than business-to-consumer blogging. But at the end of the day, your reader is a human being, and human beings have limited patience for boring articles.
You can go through various personas to figure out your best tone, and every company will have a different tone for their unique audience, but there are some things you’ll always need at a foundational level for all content, and it’s important to master those things first.
Those are the basics…Now for the good stuff.
Bonus tip: do all these things at the outline level. You’ll save tons of time.
Entertaining content is readable content. Readable content has the potential to be educational content.
Readable, educational content is shareable content.
Shareable content gets shared on your customers’ fifteen most frequented sites.
You can get there.
Your content can get there.
Your customers want you there.