Last week’s post focused on choosing or understanding the two main writing styles you can use for your blog. That post went into incorporating the personal into your business blog – this one will focus on what I like to call topical blogs that have more of a business feel and remain directly relevant to hot issues in the industry your business is in.
But first things first. In the last post I mentioned there’s a very fine line between adding a personal blog for business and sticking to something topical and I asked for some guesses on what style that particular post used. As far as I’m concerned that post was more topical than it was personal, and here’s why. I did write it in first person, providing a feel that’s engaging to readers, I didn’t actually use any personal examples relevant to my business. I also used other examples of good, personal blogs.
What my post from last week didn’t have was any points that you could easily relate to me on – it was based on fact about my industry. Even though it incorporated some opinion and personal experience, it wasn’t presented in a way that was about ME. If you want to see what I consider a personal post when I write, read yesterday’s post on my blog.
So, with that little introduction to topical blogs, here are some of the components that should appear:
Use of factual information – think of what’s happening in your industry at the moment, or what your clients are most likely to be concerned about and present relevant facts. Whether you use statistics, tips in a “how to” format or a blurb with commentary from a recent press release; you’re on the right track with your topical blog.
Consider the format – my post from last week was presented in paragraph format, but often for readers to quickly pick up information, it’s easier to read if you use bullet points or numbered steps where relevant.
Avoid tying yourself to factual statements – when you’re providing a topical post as a reference or guide to readers, don’t introduce it with “I think XYZ”. You may agree, but no you don’t think if they’re universal facts and not your opinion. To be an authority in your industry, you don’t always have to be the one coming up with the innovative ideas; sometimes you can just be the one relaying them.
Keep in mind that a topical blog doesn’t need to be boring, incorporate a bit of the personal, but make the factual information the focal point. There are some major benefits to using this style – the first is that your readers will know that you’re up to date on industry news and knowledgeable enough to share tips or indirectly address questions prospective clients may have. As a plastic surgeon’s office, you will know that a patient’s number one concern is typically risk factors, so outline the risks of those procedures so they know you’re open and honest, and will have a great understanding by the time they call you. The second relates directly to client recruitment. Keep in mind that someone considering plastic surgery is likely doing their research for a great cosmetic surgeon and in searching for their areas of concern, they will come across your site and you may have earned yourself a new client.
Find the blend of styles that works best for your blog. You don’t need to write exclusively topical or exclusively personal blogs, so pay attention to the stats and reader comments and see what they find more engaging. You may find it works best to do half and half each week, or to dominate with topical posts with a first-person style and throw in a more personal post once a month. There is no ideal formula, but with an understanding of both styles, you can find the combination that works for you!
Coming up next – picking specific blog topics to attract readers each time you sit down to put together a post, and the importance of blog scheduling.
Beth Graddon-Hodgson is a professional writer/blogger and the founder of WriteSourcing a professional blogging, writing and editing service.