What may have started out as a simple online diary of sorts, the blog has now evolved into a major source of revenue for many businesses. And it’s not slowing down anytime soon, in fact it just continues to take the world by storm as more and more B2B and B2C sites opt to include blogs on their site
Not only are blogs, in and of themselves, money-makers, they are often used as a major way to drive people back to business site. The blog, in this realm, serves to draw people in, to establish credibility, to convince readers to make a purchase, to invest or to complete the “goal” whatever it may be. As the online business world now calls it: you want your reader to convert.
But, this type of blog has to tread a very fine line. It has to be appealing and entertaining enough that people are willing to sit down and read through it, it has to be informative enough to offer something that can’t be found elsewhere, and it has to convince a reader to “do” something, all without shoving it in their face and pushing them away. So how do you tread? Lightly? Strongly? Is your blog converting like you want it to? Let’s take a look at some basic ways to not only stay afloat, but to swim like a pro.
Establish a Voice
There are a million and then some blogs on the internet right now. Probably thousands just like yours with the same topic. If you don’t have a voice that’s different from everyone else’s, your reader is going to get bored, and get bored fast. If you’re aiming to have a reader stick with you not only through one post, but through multiple, your voice has to be present, it has to be engaging, and hopefully, on some level: entertaining. Think about who you’d be willing to buy a new dishwasher from. Someone you met on a street who’s impersonal and distant? Someone who sounds trustworthy? Somebody who can make you laugh? The voice you will need to master will all depend on what you’re selling. While I may buy a book from you in your comedic voice, I will not opt to buy my life insurance from you.
Cover Basic to Niche
Not only do you need to make things general enough on occasion that you can bring in any reader who may know nothing at all of your topic, you also need to go deep enough into the niche topics of your business to gain credibility with those who do know a thing or two about what you’re discussing.
Make Your Goal Obvious
Don’t be shady. If you want people to finish your blog and go sign up for your weekly mail-out, then tell them that. Nothing kills business faster than being sneaky and deceptive in getting a reader to do what you want. I don’t want to read a humorous description of your weekend shenanigans only to have you shove a bunch of offers for investing in your retail business at the end. Be upfront. And, if you do that, then you can do whatever you want, write whatever you want. But you have to start on the right foot.
Make Things Easy
Never make your readers work for information. Lay it out as plainly as possible. Don’t require them to click 5 links and scour random pages for the information you think they should learn. Include summaries. Make it easy to “convert.” If you want them to click a button that will redirect them to a product for purchase, make it obvious. If you want them to give you their e-mail address, then ask for that and only that, don’t make them fill out useless questionnaires.
Make Their Life Better
This is the bottom line. If you can, in some way, make their life better, they will convert. Whether converting equals buying a product or simply returning as a reader, it’s not going to happen unless you’ve helped them. Make their life easier by providing them relevant, useful information. Anticipate their questions, and answer them. Entertain them. Make them feel better about where they’re headed or what direction you want to help them get to. That’s what it’s all about. Help your reader, and they’ll help you back.