Successful business blogging isn't just about providing quality content, as discussed in the comments of yesterday's post. It's also about providing entertainment. There has to be something that creates “an experience as well”, as Richard Bosworth notes.
How Can Your Business Blog Entertain?
A good thing to think long and hard about is your voice: the persona, or character that your writing seems to convey.
If you're new to keeping a blog, look around the blogosphere and think about how writers construct their “voice”. Ask yourself what makes one writer appear ernest, another entertaining.
One of my favourite blog voices is that of Lisa Barone over at Outspoken Media. Her copy zips, combining short snappy sentences with a personal tone that's sometimes acerbic, but always compelling. Take the following, for example:
Hey. This post dips a bit more into the personal side of things, so if that offends you perhaps revisit our How To Learn SEO post from last week or go have some spiked egg nog and come back tomorrow. I promise weâ€™ll be back to nitty gritty SEO/marketing stuff by then. Hugs! [Source]
The familiar greeting “Hey” immediately sets a friendly tone here that quickly gives way to a touch of humour with the reference to “spiked egg nog”. Closing the introduction with “Hugs” had me smiling in my seat and I gleefully read on to the next paragraph. On the level of the sentence Lisa's writing is downright entertaining. Great stuff!
I'm not suggesting you go out there and copy Lisa's style. You need to find your own voice. But you can certainly learn something about making your copy zing by reading different bloggers not just for content but writing strategies.
Learn to Love Online Video and Podcasts
Another great way to make your blog interesting is to vary the way you deliver content.
More and more bloggers embraced video blogging (or vlogging) in 2009. I expect that trend to continue in 2010. YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the Internet and businesses are waking up to this. But putting up video content on your blog isn't just about being found in search engine results. It's also about entertaining visitors to your site and giving them something different. I help a local Stockholm school with their communications and marketing and the knock-on effect of a video post we ran in the autumn was evident in the way it helped boost RSS subscribers and drive a lot of visitors to to school's Facebook Fan Page.
Pictures can also be entertaining. And I don't just mean the ones you use to illustrate posts. A regular picture feature â€“ think “Pic of the Week” â€“ can be a great way of showing what goes on in your company. Imagine how the Apple Fan Boys would love a pic of the week from the Cupertino offices!
With applications like Podcast Maker (Mac) there's also no excuse not to explore what you can do with podcasting. Podcasts, if done well, can be a valuable part of your online content giving you a different way to engage with your readers and show your strengths.
Entertaining Content Takes Time and Effort
As I've said before, you can't just knock out a blog on a wet and windy afternoon and hope to win an audience. It takes time and commitment. It also takes time to learn new strategies and technologies. Sure, it's getting easier to create video and audio content, but you'll still need time, energy, commitment (and possibly the support of your boss!) to create it.
With bloggers and online communicators under pressure to stand out, attract an audience, entertain them and hold on to them, it's likely things are going to get tougher rather in the world of online content marketing.