Too many corporate blogs are the answer to a question nobody asked, serving up generic, me-too posts or even syndicated second-hand content.
Give your content a kick up the social by writing to answer these five searching questions...
Why should I buy from you?
Try answering the queries you get from customers. Not the flattering questions you’d like them to ask, like ‘what makes you different?’, but the tough ones they really do, like ‘Why do I even need it?’, ‘Why is it so expensive?’ or ‘Can’t I just do it myself?’
Some questions may be implicit in customers’ attitudes, rather than things they actually come out and say. I’m sure you can already think of plenty.
Connect your offering to the actual situations and problems faced by your readers. Explain how your work has added value for particular people (or types of people). Don’t stretch a point so you can cut and paste content from the corporate brochure – go the extra mile to make your content about the reader, or someone like them.
Carefully targeted answers to specific questions can sometimes be SEO gold, because they naturally include long-tail keywords in a page that has real value – and that people might actually link to.
How much do you know?
This isn’t one to answer directly, but rather implicitly, with really detailed analyses or discussions of specific issues, techniques, products or projects.
They don’t have to be focused in-house – you can talk about anything relevant from your industry. Commenting on things ‘above your station’ could even be a way to unlock new business, by desmonstrating an understanding of areas you haven’t necessarily worked on.
Critical analysis demonstrates rigorous and reflective thinking, while also keeping you sharp and outwardly focused. The discipline of writing for an audience forces you to think things through and clarify every point of your argument before your share it.
What do you really think?
If you want interest, share some views. Real views. Genuine, carefully considered opinion always draws interest – definitely from industry peers, and from others too if you get it right.
The sweet spot is a topic that’s important to your industry that you can talk about with authority, but still has wider relevance or general interest. News stories can sometimes provide the right jumping-off point.
There’s really no point blandly endorsing the party line. Look for the alternative angle, the contrarian view and the unexplored topic.
Remember, though, that while strident, controversial or downright grumpy opinions can certainly grab attention, only reasoned argument can sustain it. Don’t let your attitude write a cheque that your content can’t cash.
What’s to come?
Go out on a limb and talk about what’s coming in your industry. Everyone wants to know what the future holds, so interest and responses will surely follow.
Don’t worry, the post will be forgotten by the time the future arrives. And just in case it isn’t, you can always position your content as speculation rather than prediction.
What else you got?
Blogging on the core topic of your site is important for SEO, since it signals ongoing relevance for your target search terms. However, a tight focus inevitably narrows your appeal – and human readers may tire of your relentlessly self-centred content.
To avoid reader fatigue, mix it up with some posts on related topics. For example, my own blog is mainly about copywriting, but I roam a bit further from home with posts on SEO, branding and freelancing. Varying your subject expands your credibility and increases your chances of gaining social shares, which in turn drive traffic.
When you think about it, getting a reader interested is either about offering them something utterly new and intriguing, or answering a question they already have in their minds. Few corporate blogs can do the former without straying hopelessly off-message.
So considering the questions that interested readers are already asking themselves is the ideal place to begin if you want a popular, interesting blog.