So now you have a basic idea of how to start a blog, but what is going to help make it different and attract customers? Your voice.
Your writing voice should sound almost, but not quite like your speaking voice. Not quite, because you always want to double check the flow of your writing. Is it clear? Do you get to the point or ramble on? You want to interject your personality/your company’s personality into your blog posts, but don’t just gab to potential readers. Make them feel like they are reading your blog for a reason and they are gaining something, whether it is information or entertainment.
Assure your customers that you are a real person and that your business has a personality. The easiest way to personalize things is to tell stories about your day to day business, which shouldn’t make up 100% of your blog’s content, but should be easy to interject into other kinds of posts or on a day you don’t have news or relevant information. Did you have a funny experience? A touching exchange with a customer? Write about it. Did something frustrating happen? Discuss how you resolved it. Have you overcome other challenges as a business? What inspired you to start your business or, if you aren’t the owner, why did you start working for the company? What is the inspiration behind a product line? Is there a major upcoming event or something in the past that will make a good story?
Don’t be afraid to talk about the real people involved with your business, like your staff. Who are they? If you have a relatively large company, don’t be afraid to encourage staff to blog. (I’ll address some guidelines for multi-author blogs in a later post.) Blog about your customers. What is your demographic? How did they become customers? Brainstorm what kind of stories you have. Ensuring readers that you have loyal, satisfied customers you personally interact with helps to build trust. If you’re a flower shop and you want to write about roses for Valentine’s Day, discuss a customer who came in and ordered something specific. Talk about their experience.
Another way to develop a bond with your readers is to use a casual tone, occasionally interjecting humor. You don’t always have to rely on a monotone business voice. Depending on the size and nature of your business, this works extremely well. Obviously it is more appropriate for a cupcake business than it would be for a funeral home, but showing warmth and intelligence is a benefit regardless of your field. This works very well for The Social Skinny, an Australian-based company run by Cara Pring, a social media expert/strategist. The site offers free advice about social media and sells more in depth webinars. Cara’s blogs are intelligent and informative, but she’s also not afraid to be witty or sarcastic. When she shares her opinions with confidence (and sass) it gives the impression that she is certain she’s an expert in her field.
Figure out what will work for your business and what is appropriate. Brainstorm different types of voice that would fit with your company’s blog. Don’t be afraid to adjust your tone based on feedback from comments and the rising/falling number of followers. If you are unsure of how the tone will go over in the early life of your blog, ask coworkers and friends to read your posts and give you some feedback.