Blogging is the most basic and effective method of building website traffic. It's a way to highlight your expertise and send a message to the search engines that your website is valuable and authoritative. Among the complex formula for page ranking are the total number of pages of a website, and the relative popularity of individual posts. Well written posts that become popular are an asset.
One of the biggest obstacles of building a successful Inbound Marketing program for business-to-business companies in engineering and technical fields is the difficulty of blogging. Having an advanced degree, deep technical expertise and decades of experience in a subject can actually be an impediment to successful blogging. The tendency is to over think each subject and agonize over minute details.
The perfectionism that is needed to be successful in a deep technical field can inhibit the ability to write in an attractive and accessible voice to a wide and sometimes non-technical audience.
Here are six tips to writing a blog in a nontechnical, attractive voice:
- The best blogs on technical subjects weave stories in with the data. They reach beyond the technical details of what, and reach for why. They focus on detailing the benefits of a certain approach. For a good example of how to do this, take a look at Freakonomics or Super Freakonomics by Stepen Dubner and Steven Levit. The authors do a fantastic job of weaving engaging stories in with the data. Mr. Dubner did a wonderful podcast interview, Think Like a Freak with Tim Ferris of The Four Hour Workweek, wherein they describe the struggle of writing on technical topics in an engaging and accessible manner.
- Know your audience and remember that you are NOT your audience. What you think is important about a subject only matters in so much as your audience thinks it is important. Keep in mind that the purpose of a business blog is to attract readers who can eventually become customers. What do your best potential customers care about? Take the time to develop great personas.
- Business to business blogs should focus on being interesting, educational and on occasion, entertaining. The focus of your content is not on your products or services. No one cares what you do or sell. To steal a line from Dale Carnegie, they care about themselves. If they found your blog organically, they more likely than not found you using a key word search for something that at this moment in time is important enough to them to spend their time searching for, and if you can draw them in with your writing, they're truly read what you wrote.
- The number one mistake business-to-business blogs do is write about themselves, which is boring and ineffective.
- In order to create enough topics to publish, draw from three categories of subjects to write on: relevant to your profession, semi-relevant and non-relevant content. Relevant content is something related to the core of what you and your company do. Semi-relevant content is unrelated to you and your company and may have something to do with your industry, profession, or related subject. And non-relevant content is based on something that is interesting or entertaining, but is not directly relevant. It could be a productivity type subject, funny business story, joke, or other light hearted content.
- Observe the rules of the bar: No Politics. No Religion. Unless you are a lobbying company or have a religious affiliation, avoid the rabbit hole of controversial political or religious topics.
Clear writing always wins over complex, technical jargon. If you are having difficulty explaining something simply, then you may not understand your subject as well as you thought. Ask yourself one question repeatedly: what are the key principals? What does the layman need to know? Go from there, and you'll be set.