Thoughts on Writing Better Blog Articles
So... Is Blogging Dead?
This is going to be a bit ironic because I’m writing this article in a blog, but I’m here to sound an alarm. Just like you hear about telemarketing, email marketing, and social media, B2B blog writing (as most of us recognize it today) is nearly dead. I’m sounding the alarm because I’m as guilty of this as the next guy.
A few years ago, blogs attracted attention. An active blog meant more organic traffic and the chance that any given post could lead to considerably high-quality backlinks. These metrics spiked on sites with active blogs because competition was low and the internet was relatively thin on content that was free, quality, and timely. Although it was easy to notice a positive ROI for your efforts then, we don’t live in 2012 anymore.
Today, unless you have a big subscriber base or a very active social media presence where internal and external advocates are liking and sharing your content, then it’s going to be very hard for your blog articles to break through. Here are 5 other reasons your blog will fail.
In its current state, the internet is saturated with thin, disingenuous, dated, and duplicated content – especially in the form of blog posts. People are becoming content blind, but they’re also becoming savvier. They see through these sorts of blog post or web page. Building articles for the sake of putting something on the page will rarely cut through the filter of today’s internet users.
The exception here is the less-frequent blog post that is extensively researched, print worthy, uniquely valuable, relevant, and worth the time to read.
The best articles aren’t necessarily long articles, and the best blogs aren’t posted 3 times a day or 5 posts a week. They’re filled with information that people find valuable. They’re interesting and provocative. They put ideas on their heads and spin them around and show five sides of the concept that they never considered before. They help you look at topics in new ways that lead you to performing your job better, reevaluate established concepts that are outmoded, challenge your thinking. Most importantly, they start a conversation.
You can no longer just post conventional wisdom or restate commonplace ideas and expect to readers to derive much value from your post. You have to dig deeper and identify the unique value or unique perspective that your writing is going to bring to the table. You have to dabble in the art of language. Structure, clarity, voice, grammar, and word choice are your weapons in the battle for readers’ attention.
What does bad writing look like and what does it mean for your brand? Reflect on your blog and ask yourself these questions:
- Is this valuable? Would you stop what you were doing to read the blog (or at the very least take a minute to skim and bookmark)?
- Would you share the information with a colleague or friend?
- Is this content relevant to my reader? Are you publishing something that you want to say or that your site visitors want to hear?
If you didn’t answer yes to any of those questions, then put the keyboard back and start re-working your idea.
Bad writing – we’re not just talking about poorly worded, poorly planned, and quickly written content, but content that doesn’t answer yes to the above questions – is at least wasting your time and at worst damaging your brand. If your last brand impression was a poorly structured, unclear piece, where spelling and grammar were afterthoughts, then that may be your VERY last brand impression.
Low quality content will eventually alienate your site visitors. They may bear with you for a rough article or two if they know that you have consistently delivered stand-out content. However, don’t expect that to last if you’re saturating them with subpar content.
Churn and burn
We live in an age of marketing saturation where tele, email, social, and blog writing have fallen into the “more is better” trap. If your lead rate on 1,000 dials is going down, then make more dials. If your open rate on an email blast is diminished from last year, then buy a bigger list and send 20 more emails. If 1 social media post per day isn’t attracting the traffic that it used to, then publish 10 a day.
The arms race of marketing saturation creates a cloud of confusion. Don’t fall into the more is better trap. Take the better-is-better approach. Be strategic, be thoughtful, and work wherever possible to speak to the unique concerns of the people receiving your messages. This will not only help your writing, but also with achieving your email, telemarketing, and social media goals.
Quality > Quantity. ALWAYS.
If there’s one takeaway you get from reading this blog, remember this one: Quality writing always wins, regardless of topic. Work to imbibe it with your unique voice and perspective and keep in mind your audience in both search and social media, and you’ll be started in the right direction.
If you can tell a story that ignites imagination, wrinkles a brain or two, and speaks to your audience, then you’ll win and bring your blog back from the dead. It's original intent will be fulfilled: to help assist your sales and marketing teams in lead generation.
Pushing vs Pulling
Although today’s B2B blogs must provide value, they must ultimately assist conversions early in the funnel by:
- Creating an affinity for your brand.
- Increasing social awareness.
We hear the term “thought leadership” a lot in content marketing circles. Today’s blogging isn’t about pushing out massive amounts of content. The whole point is to showcase your skills and abilities to create better brand affinity.
Modern content creation and content strategy is about the roots of marketing: building brand affinity, creating brand loyalists, and promoting content that is designed to pull in visitors at different stages of the buying process. Once you pull them in with your quality content, it’s about nudging them towards your shared goal.
These are our goals for TSL’s Market Now blog moving forward:
- Every article we write will have a positive visible impact on our business or it shouldn’t be written.
- Every article will have an identified purpose.
Want to learn how to create great content based on your customers' unique personas? Check out our white paper, How Great Content Dresses Your Company for Success: