Here’s the thing. People are moved by emotion more than by logic. A robot-like corporate voice will not drive potential customers as much as appealing to folks senses and passions will. Likewise, a blog post written in AP style like a news release may look and sound splendid, but the question is will it move visitors to take action? How are you moved, by calculated facts or by emotion? Folks are more likely to take action when they’re moved by emotion. When logic alone is presented to people they’re more likely to stop and consider the reasoning—not take action.
A great corporate blog doesn’t lecture, it engages
Be your audience – Stand across from your blog on the other side. Who is your audience? The key is to talk to them—not at them. A business blog shouldn’t attempt to be an esoteric journalism piece or a scientific treatise. It should speak to your audience in a conversational, transparent, and human voice.
Break some rules – For example, regardless of what you’ve been taught or what your style guide recommends use contractions. That’s how people talk. And people end sentences with prepositions, begin them with conjunctions, and dangle a few modifiers.
Be enthusiastic, share your passion – Once again, if you want to connect with people you have to talk or write as people do. Cold corporate speak may be subdued and fact-filled but if you want people to get excited share passion and enthusiasm.
Stay away from big words – The average American reads at a grade school level FHWA.gov. You may think, “My readership is above average.” You may be right. However, what do you think your above average readership appreciates more, big words and insider jargon, or clear, plain, and simple language? The last time you read a jargon-filled piece full of multi-syllable words did you read the entire post or scan the sub-heads?
Tell stories – Last summer, I was halted by road construction while on way to present to a group of business people in eastern Indiana, My GPS sent me on a WGC (wild goose chase) and to make a long story short I was 15 minutes late. My topic of the day was how to find engaging blog topics. After introductions, I asked the group how I could use this personal experience in a business blog. They came up with a dozen ideas. How can you use your personal experiences?
It’s OK to be funny– It’s better than OK, it’s desirable when it’s done right. Business blog humor should never be mean, and although some disagree with me, I don’t think there’s a place for snark in a biz blog. The best humor is when you poke fun at yourself and your business; people like to know you’re human.
Brand it – Your biz blog should look professional and be consistent with corporate branding. It should use the corporate logo, colors, and fonts. AND it should sound familiar from blog to blog even from various writers. This can be accomplished by developing your own style guide, for example at TKO Graphix we use the following:
- Posts should be told as a story not a list of facts
- Use contractions
- Most posts should be written in the first person
- Posts will include sub-heads, bullet points, and lists for easy reading
- No paragraph should be more than five or six sentences
- Numbers are to be written out until 10 unless it breaks up the continuity of the post
- Posts will end with a call to action
- Posts will not be link stuffed but should always include links to facts, statistics, and quotes
- When appropriate, backlinks to previous blog posts should be included
A voice for your readers
Creating a consistent corporate blog voice that reflects the interests of your target audience is critical to developing a readership. Presenting a familiar voice makes readers comfortable to return to your blog, open additional pages, and maybe even inquire about your product, and isn’t that the ultimate goal?
Do you run out of blog ideas? This may help, How to never run out of blog ideas.
And here’s a Slide Share for creating a consistent content plan, Business Blogging 101.