I’ve written over 4,000 blogs (to be honest I’ve lost count now) and along the way I’ve learnt quite a bit about what makes blogs successful for businesses.
Generally, I’ve found that for blogs to be successful for business, they need to do three things…as illustrated by the venn diagram below.
Content people want
Successful blogs are written for a specific audience (the one you want to reach), and cover something those people actually want. Really successful blogs help or or benefit that audience in some way – by being really useful, illuminating or just plain entertaining.
For example, the most popular blog on the Hello Fresh website, with over 1,000 shares, is a 5 minute Sangria recipe. This fast recipe is perfectly pitched at their audience – people short on time who still want to create delicious meals.
Content with purpose
Your content needs a purpose. It needs to be working towards your ultimate goals, whether that’s building your business, growing your audience or just getting your message out there. Don’t think this means all your content should be salesy though – think of your blog as a way of reaching the right people, being really helpful and building trust, not necessarily trying to sell.
Best way to sell something – don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, & trust of those who might buy.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) February 4, 2015
In your zone of genius
It needs to be within your “zone of genius”. By that I mean stay within the subjects that you or your business are truly an expert or passionate about. Again, that might not be directly related to your products and services, but it should be something you care or know about.
Here’s what happens if you don’t have each of these elements…
Content with no goal or purpose
Content that isn’t at all related to your goal or purpose is just kind of pointless. Make sure all content for business has a point – does it help you reach a new audience, demonstrate your expertise or show how you’re living your values. It can be easy to fall into the trap of blogging because everyone is saying you should, without working out why you’re doing it.
Content that no one wants
If no one wants the content you’re creating, that’s kind of sad. There’s literally millions of new pieces of content created every day, so mediocre content will just get lost. Granted, it’s difficult to know exactly what people will and won’t want, but you can survey your audience, answer questions you’re asked all the time, or just take an educated guess. Looking at your analytics will also give you a really good insight into what people actually want (look for pieces that have the most reads, longest time on page, and most shares).
Content that’s not in your zone of genius
Finally, writing about something you have little interest or knowledge in is never going to result in really great content. The internet doesn’t need any more half-hearted posts. Stay in your zone of genius and share stuff you’re truly excited to put out there.