Writing is something extremely personal. No matter how much you try to leave your personality at the doorstep and assume a public persona for your blog articles, everyone is betraying something about themselves in the way they write. And this is a good thing. People like to read about various ideas, written in various styles, that sound genuine.
So, even when you are writing for your company blog, you should still sound genuine and human. But it does not mean that you should sound like something you would like to read. It is a very wrong assumption that what you write on your blog will automatically be liked by your readers because you like it. People will read your blog and continue to follow it only if they feel that you are addressing them, and writing on topics which are relevant to them and in a tone of voice which is agreeable to them.
Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you write the next blog post. The answers will help you guide your writing style towards your audience, not your pet topics.
- Does This Topic Mean Anything to My Audience?
Imagine writing a blog post about the importance of sunscreen for people living in Greenland or Alaska. The idea sounds amusing, doesn’t it? The average Alaskan or Greenlander hardly ever takes off their winter coat. This means that your article, no matter how well documented it is with statistics, will not achieve its intended purpose – that is, create qualified leads for the sale of sunscreens.
There are many professional blogs which contain an odd topic every now and then, making the reader wonder: what is the purpose of this? Maybe it is a favourite topic for the blogger, or maybe it was trending at that point. But it does not fit in with the overall blog topics.
- Would an Average Reader Know All the Jargon I Use?
Every profession has its specialised jargon and its acronyms. For an outsider, they are meaningless. An enthralling blog post can miss its mark if the reader suddenly stops reading and frowns, asking themselves: “what does this mean?”
It is easy to let jargon slip in your blog articles. You understand them, they are in your daily vocabulary. This is why you should always read your posts carefully before publishing them, and even enlist a friend’s help whenever you can.
- Is This Anecdote Relevant to My Readers?
Blog posts are not only informative, they should also teach and be entertaining. But when you prepare such a topic, you must make sure that your audience can relate to the pop culture references and parallels you draw in your articles.
Just like Greenlanders would not really feel impressed by the need to apply sunscreen, a reader who was never involved in sports will not understand the reference to a “home run” or a “red card”. They will shrug their shoulders and wonder what you meant.
- Can You Really Change Your Readers’ Beliefs?
There is one simple and short answer: no. Many small businesses start out with the flawed idea that they can change the way their prospects think. If your approach to various topics is completely contrary to your reader’s firm beliefs and opinions, they will leave your blog. They will not be interested in the solution you propose.
The only way you can challenge people’s beliefs and win their goodwill is in very small, tentative steps. Do not start out by challenging everything they agree with. Instead, plant the seed of doubt in their mind (in the sense that there are other possibilities) which does not actually invalidate what they believe in.
- Are You Meeting Your Audience Halfway?
As a business owner and entrepreneur, you have access to knowledge and information that your customers do not know. They expect you to speak to them in terms they can understand. They want to be educated, but this will never happen if you write in a style which your peers would be familiar with but which is completely unfamiliar to your audience.
Always try to explain every concept in simple terms, represent abstract information in easy-to-grasp images and references. Once again, a friend who is not a specialist in your line of business can be an invaluable help as a test reader.
Finally, how do you really answer all these questions correctly? This comes only from a clear and deep knowledge of who your readers are, where they live, what they like and dislike, and what problems they expect your business to solve for them. Without this information, you will never really be able to write for them.