There are many reasons business people come up with for not using a blog as a platform for enhancing their brand image. I have written in detail about 12 of them. But I think the most fundamental reason why business people are turned off to blogging for business is that they don’t understand what it really means. Time and again, I run into business people who think that having a business blog means writing about their business. That cannot be further from the truth.
A personal blog typically amounts to a digital diary. It’s a journal in which people discuss their life experiences and rant about the viewpoints. So, it is only natural that a business person think that blogging means talking about her business. It’s no wonder, then, that business people scoff at the idea of blogging. Why would anyone want to read about my business? Isn’t a bit presumptuous to think that people want to hear me go on and on about my company’s history? Who wants to spend time reading an advertisement? You are precisely right. But, then again, blogging for business is not a business diary.
Margie Clayman recently wrote an article on the five fundamentals for business blogging. In one of her points, she discusses being helpful to your readers. Margie, in a few short sentences, nails what blogging for business is all about:
Often, companies start blogging simply by copying and pasting their press releases into their site. Not only does this appear lazy, but it also is not going to be of particular interest to many readers. People visit blogs because they are looking for information that will help them in some way.
In the end, blogging for business is one thing: customer education.
If you aren’t teaching people something with what you are writing about, you are wasting your time. That is why people read blogs. That is why you should be writing them for your business. When you write, discuss topics that will help your readers learn something. Answer questions. Dismantle myths. Explain things that are not very clear in your industry. Use blogging as a platform for teaching. That’s it.
When you get down to the nitty-gritty and actually begin writing blog posts, you may start to wonder what topics you should cover. Here are some ideas of some pretty standard blog posts that you can use in order to be an educational resource for your customers…
7 Blog Post Templates for Customer Education
- The FAQ Post. Chances are, you or someone you know has had an “FAQ” (Frequently Asked Questions) page on his website. These types of questions are the perfect resource for blog posts. Use as your titles the exact questions people are putting into search engines…and then answer them. Example: A dog trainer may write an article called, “How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Barking?”
- The “How to” Post. With this post, you can explain the process of how to do something that has to do with what you sell. It may even be a good idea to do a video tutorial, embed it into your blog post, and surround it with some text. Example: A plumber may write a blog post called, “How to Fix a Leaky Faucet.”
- The List Post. These blog posts are the easiest to write, because they are already structured for you. They can take many forms, but all of them provide a list of items surround a topic. They can be “7 reasons,” “4 Signs,” or “13 people.” Readers loves these sort of posts, so I recommend using them frequently. (Check out List.ly to build social lists). Example: A realtor my write a blog post called, “9 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Sale.”
- The Definition Post. Here you will define a word or phrase that is commonly used in your industry but has a great amount of ambiguity surrounding it. People love clarification. If you can teach someone what something means, you’re golden. Example: A digital media consultant may write a blog post called, “What is Blogging for Business Really All About?” ;-D
- The Moral of the Story Post. This is a sneaky opportunity for you to talk about your company and still be educational at the same time. You’ve encountered a number of scenarios that have taught you something in business. Pass that lesson along to your customer. Example: A chiropractor may write a blog post called, “What I Learned About Back Pain When My Own Son Threw His Back Out.”
- The Flash Publishing Post. If you are paying attention to the news in general or your own industry’s news, you can jump on this one. Flash publishing means writing about something as soon as it happens. When you do this, you will often show up first in searches when people go to look for information. Besides, people want to know about what’s happening now. If you can write about it, you can provide immense value. Example: An automotive mechanic may write a blog post called, “Everything You Need to Know About GM’s Recall on the New Chevy Volt.”
- The Lessons From Post. This sort of post is where you can get creative. You take the most random prompts and draw lessons from them that may benefit your customers. You can use just about anything. Kittens. Spider-Man. Bob Marley. Hurricanes. Whatever. Take some random topic and make an analogy that is applicable to your industry. Example: An insurance agent may write a blog post called, “Lessons from Sponge Bob Square Pants on Being Prepared for the Unexpected.”
Now, what was your excuse for not blogging again???