Something a lot of writers are worried about is boring their readers. With a blog about your line of work, this is an especially big concern. While researching this week’s topic, I found a fabulous article on Entrepreneur titled 21 Ways to Make Your Boring Trade Blog Interesting. Now, I’m not trying to say that blogs about your business are boring, but when you are writing a blog for your potential or current customers, you may get excited about things they don’t or post about things they just don’t understand. Since Neil Patel talks about B2B blogging in this Entrepreneur article, I’ve gathered his ten most relevant points to help you make your blog more interesting for your customers.
Don’t understand why you need a blog for your business? Read our blog post Why You Should Start a Business Blog.
1. Be informed.
At the risk of sounding generic, I’m going to say it: You’ve got to know what’s going on in your industry. What’s more, you’ve got to actually have experience in the industry in order to write authoritatively.
B2B blog readers are familiar with jargon, buzzwords, and industry best practices. In order to deliver something of quality, you must possess industry knowledge.
Whether you’re blogging in-house or outsourcing a professional writer, B2B bloggers should know both the industry and the audience. Here are the five most important things to be informed about.
- What your audience does on a day-to-day basis and how they do it. What tasks will they perform when they walk into the office each day? What kind of projects will they work on? How are their minds working?
- The greatest needs of your audience. What does your audience want? More to the point, how can you give it to them? Can you help them solve their problems by delivering helpful content?
- The biggest challenges in the industry. Are there current obstacles in the industry? Threats to success? Painful conundrums?
- Largest players in the industry and what they’re up to.Who are the existing thought leaders, big businesses, or authoritative writers?
- Latest trends in the industry. Are there current events that have an impact on the industry? Government regulations? Lawsuits? Algorithm updates?
2. Write from the first person.
Writing from the first person means that you use the words “I” and “me.”
It’s totally fine to do so. You’re not breaking any grammatical rules or unwritten codes of blogging. First-person content is interesting content.
I’ve observed two related mistakes in B2B blogs:
- The first mistake is nosism — using the word “we” instead of “I.” It’s clumsy for a business to write a blog. Individuals do the writing, not a corporation. Refer to yourself as yourself, not as a corporate entity.
- The second mistake is third-person detachment. This is when a B2B blog refers to their business in the third person. For example, “Leaders at Awesome Biz have decided to write a blog. Awesome Biz has been in the widget industry for 14 years. The goal of Awesome Biz has been to…” You see what’s going on there? Third-person writing gets old, not to mention boring.
Try this style of writing:
- “I want to tell you about an experience I had this week.”
- “My co-workers and I recently faced a challenge.”
- “I’m going to do something a little different in this article.”
- “It took me four hours to write this article, but I think it’s worth it.”
Those types of opening lines are much more interesting, more engaging, and ultimately, more successful.
3. Don’t be afraid of being personable, as long as you’re professional.
Part of the power of the first person voice is that it’s personal. You need to use your personality to communicate.
Often, people mistakenly believe that B2B is interaction between businesses. But the real interaction is between people within those businesses. When you write your B2B blog, you’re writing for an audience of other people, not businesses.
Yes, you can be professional, but don’t be stiff, formal, or rigid. Be a person. Your best communication moments will come as you drop awkward formality and express yourself as a person.
4. Don’t always promote your stuff.
Another turnoff is the promotion blog. A blog is not an open channel to coerce people to buy your stuff. You can try that, but no one is going to really read and engage with it.
When you are constantly pushing your products, new versions, updates, improvements, the awesomeness of a cool new feature, or five reasons to get the platinum plan, you are boring.
It’s important to realize that the very presence of an interesting blog is a form of promotion — a much more appealing one. Sure, incorporate a call to action in each post, but don’t be shoving your products constantly before your audience.
5. Tell a story.
Storytelling is not just for kids or summer evening campfires. Storytelling is a tool that can make your blog move from boring to brilliant.
The “once upon a time” opener probably isn’t necessary. Little stories — a failed product launch, a midnight system reboot, a two-year slump — can be fascinating.
6. Be extremely clear.
If you are skilled at being clear, you are automatically interesting. I’m not talking about the kind of clarity required when you’re writing an operational guide or technical manual. I’m talking about the ability to make a clear and unmissable point.
Take the point above — No. 10 — as an example. It’s three words, but the point is obvious. Then, in just a few sentences below, I’m driving it home. Clarity is taking a point, communicating that point, and making it incredibly apparent what you’re trying to say.
When it comes to jargon, every industry has its acronyms, terms, and insider expressions. You can use them in your writing, just be sure to explain yourself if there’s a risk that your readers might not understand an acronym.
7. Share real-life examples.
In a point above, I suggested that you tell stories. An entire blog post can be a great story opportunity.
But every blog post can have real-life examples within it. These are mini stories. Already in this post, I’ve shared a few examples with you to prove my point.
Hopefully, these illustrations have made this article more interesting. When you write “let me illustrate this,” or “here’s an example,” you’re creating points of interest that your readers will love.
8. Journey into forbidden waters.
Want to be really, really interesting? Even viral? Talk about the stuff that no one else will talk about.
There are few things more magnetic than a controversy. Most public fights have spectators. Most public arguments have listeners. Most controversial blogs have readers and commenters.
If you want to be interesting, open the worm cans and discuss the uncomfortable topic. Tasteful restraint is always recommended, but you can still broach the subject.
9. Show emotion.
You are free to express any level of emotion in your blog. Remember that bit about humans interacting with humans that I mentioned?
When you say “It was hilarious” or “that was a frustrating experience,” you are
10. Show empathy.
Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to someone else’s experiences or feelings. Empathy sounds a bit soft or emotional, and surely not part of a B2B blog, right?
Wrong. Empathy is an important ingredient of any successful blog. If you truly want to connect with your audience on a level of interest and engagement, you must be able to relate to them.
For example, you can sprinkle an empathetic line or two just about anywhere:
- “I know what it’s like to stare at spreadsheets for eight hours on end.”
- “Like almost everyone else in the industry, we had a devastating third quarter.”
- “Remember when ABC Corp. unleashed that new product? I was amazed, and I think everyone else was, too.”
Statements like that — expressions of empathy — will really improve your relatability and amp up your interest level.
These ten tips will definitely help you attract and keep an audience of your customers and potential customers. Here are all 21 of Entrepreneur’s 21 Ways to Make You Boring Trade Blog Interesting, if you’re interested in all of Neil Patel’s tips. Good luck blogging!