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Your blog provides you with the ability to share your point of view, provide information to customers and above all, be helpful. It can expose you to new customers, amplify the reach of your site and help to build your credibility as a brand. But when it comes down to it 85% of corporate blogs have less than 5 posts and many company blogs post so sporadically that readers will never be sure if there is new content.

So what does it take to produce great blog content and keep your readers engaged? I’ve put together 8 tips you can use to get started blogging. They’ll help you not only create better content, but also help you drive more readers and ultimately drive more sales as you start to build up a base of great blog posts.

1. Write about topics your existing and potential customer wants to read

wiggle-blog

Ever bought a bike, or wanted to know which protein bar is best, or whether those new runners are as good as they’re made out to be? When you have a site as vast as Wiggle there’s a lot of ground to cover. So much so, that they post to their blog often multiple times a day. By covering a variety of topics, Wiggle keeps readers interested and allows them to pick and choose the content that’s the most relevant and interesting to them.

2. Write text that’s easy to scan

When we read, we’re more likely to scan quickly than read the content thoroughly. We’re constantly bombarded online with things to read and when we find something interesting, we need to be able to get through it quickly and without having to think about it too much.

nick-rack-blog

The Nice Rack blog provides tips for people wanting to become better surfers and makes content scannable by using numbered lists, dot points and short paragraphs. This approach is particularly useful when you’re providing informational content or tips on how to do something (such as this post!). It also allows readers to scan through and retain the information they need the most.

3. Make your posts easy to share

uber-pong

You got someone to visit your blog, they read it and they liked it. Now they want to tell someone  about it. How easy is it for them to do so? Your posts need to be easy to share and the average user is pretty lazy. Take Uberpong’s lead and use social plugins, so readers don’t have to sign in to their accounts to share, and make buttons prominent and front of mind as soon as the reader reaches your post.

4. Create a short, compelling headline

The headline of your post, as well as that all important first line of copy are key to getting people to not only click through to your content but also to read it. The ideal length of a headline is 6 words. Good news, though – there are quite a few ways to create headlines that will have people clicking through:

Think about how popular sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy are getting people to click through time and time again. Generally their headlines are based on these principles – and whether you like them or not, they work. The next time you’re reading a blog, take note of the headlines that interest you and see if you can figure out why they made you click. Then use that same approach in your headlines.

5. Use photos to break up text

wedding-chicks

The explosion of Instagram and Pinterest tells us one thing: people love to look at photos. They’re easy to digest and can tie your content together. Photos also make your content easier to read, provide a simple way to share tips, and in the case of Wedding Chicks provide inspiration for readers. One tip though – don’t use stock photography. It’s tacky and will make your content appear cheap.

6. Be yourself and be authentic

rapha-blog

You are your own person and built your business for a reason, so be yourself and be authentic when writing. The voice of your brand needs to be consistent across all of your content as well – from your home page, through to your Facebook and Twitter accounts and of course, on your blog.

For Rapha customers, their brand is a way of life. As a brand they are elitist, hipster and non-apologetic. Their blog reflects this and their content is authentic for who they are. No matter where or how you interact with Rapha, you get the same tone of voice and as a result have an authentic experience every time.

7. Tell your story

raven-and-lily

Does your business have a story? Is it compelling? If the answer is yes, then you should be sharing it. Each of the pieces in Raven and Lily’s store is created by female artisans from across the world. In their blog they share the origin of their pieces and reinforce the reason their store exists. Their blog is an extension of their brand and provides a compelling reason for people to shop with them.

8. Be helpful and always create value

Above all, when it comes to anything you’re doing online, you want to be helpful and add value to anyone reading your blog. You need to think about what someone will get out of reading your blog. Will they gain the knowledge to do something better, will they learn how to use your product, or will they just feel good?

mason-jars

Look at Mason Jars as an example. They sell a basic product that can be used for hundreds of different things. In their blog they share all of the ways customers can use their product – from recipes, to entertaining the kids, to crafting. Each post is short and to the point, uses eye catching photography and for the busy mum audience they are targeting, is simple to scan and digest.

Feature image by Ali Massiri via Flickr

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