How to Choose Topics for Your Business Blog - dummies

How to Choose Topics for Your Business Blog

By Amy Lupold Bair, Susannah Gardner

While you think about topics for the blog, consider how informal or personal you want to make your blog style. Although the occasional personal post can help to humanize your blog, don’t be tempted down the journaling path: You’re creating a business blog, so look for creative ways of covering your industry.

The goal of many business blogs is to establish (or maybe reestablish) the business as a leader in its industry. Think about how to demonstrate expertise while staying interesting and readable: You need to show that you know your stuff without becoming a stuffed shirt! Use the blog to persuade people that they should trust you without coming right out and telling people, “I’m trustworthy!”

Whoever blogs for your business needs to have a keen understanding of the goals and culture of the company, as well as know how much information to put on the blog without going too far. Many companies set up rules about topics that are appropriate for the blog as well as define what information they want to keep confidential.

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind for your blog content:

  • Keep it true. Double-check blog posts for accuracy before making them live. Like a newspaper or any other publisher, follow a process to make sure you’re publishing facts and not fiction. You can include opinions on your business’s blog as long as you label them as just that.

  • Keep it relevant and real. Be as open and honest as you can in your blog. This approach to transparency can make some in your company nervous (hi, corporate lawyer!), but the more successful business blogs provide insight or communication from real people. Some even give the public access to the viewpoints and words of high-level staff the readers would normally never meet or talk to.

    Furthermore, whoever blogs should stay on topic and keep posts related to the subject of the blog, no matter how interesting that TV show was last night.

  • Keep it informative and educational. One problem that many companies encounter when they start to blog is the fact that their blogs are (ahem) boring. You might have great information, but if people don’t also find it interesting to read about, you can’t get readers to stick around long.

    Try to write posts that educate with a light-hearted manner and that focus on information and news that are useful to those reading it.

  • Keep it positive. Steer away from discussing your competition in your blog. If you can say something nice about another company, don’t hesitate, but you probably don’t want to point out just what other companies are doing wrong. That kind of approach can turn your blog into a giant argument, scaring off less-opinionated customers who might otherwise be interested in your products and services.

  • Keep using keywords. In order to make your blog useful to your readers, you have to get readers from the search engine to your blog. Use your knowledge of your industry and topical news to use keywords that people are likely to use in search engines when they look for the subject of your blog or your business.

    Pay special attention to the words that you use in the titles of your blog posts: Search engines often weight these words most heavily, so hit the highpoints in your titles. Informative is better than cutesy!

  • Keep linking. Business blogs should also link to related articles and websites. You can link to resources on your business’s own website, but don’t hesitate to point folks to good information that isn’t on your website. If you’re a source for information that they need or can get them to the information they need effectively, you don’t lose them for long.

    Also, look for chances to link the blog to itself! A lot of bloggers are clever about linking to old posts on their own blogs so that new readers know where to go deep within the blog archives. This kind of linking can increase traffic and also inform and educate your readers.

  • Keep posting. Post on a regular basis and don’t stop. Don’t worry about an absolutely right number of posts per week, but most experts agree that two to three posts a week is enough to keep your blog active and useful without overwhelming your readers.

    Other bloggers post less frequently, and others post multiple times a day. Do what works for you and for your readers, but be consistent so that your readers know what to expect from you. If your blog has long silences followed by short bursts of posting, you create a recipe for low readership numbers.