Should Blog Posts Be Op Eds?

opinions in business blogs


“Opinionated editorial essays are often the most fun, fast and furious pieces to get into print – especially for nonfamous  witers with strong opinions and day jobs in other fields,” opines Susan Shapiro in Writer’s Digest.

What about business blog content marketing? Should posts do more than describe the products and services being offered and include the opinions of the business owner or professional practitioner? Three insights from Writer’s Digest can help answer that question….

1. “Convey a strong link to your subject,” Shapiro advises.  “Unless you have fought in the Iraq war, have lost a family member there, or are yourself from Iraq, your chances of selling a piece about it are slim.”

We must be influencers, I advise clients and blog content writers alike. Whether it’s business-to-business or business to consumer blog writing, the blog content itself needs to use opinion to clarify what differentiates that business, that professional practice, or that organization from its peers.

2. “Be aware of your audience…..Beware of making too many New York or Los Angeles references in a piece aimed at the Detroit News.”

As writers, when we tell the story of a business or a practice to consumers, we “frame” that story a certain way. “Your opportunity,” Seth Godin tells marketers, “lies in finding a neglected worldview, framing your story in a way that this audience will focus on.”  Chris Anderson, head of TED Talks, reminds speakers to do a jargon check based on audience research, eliminating technical terms and acronyms that will be unfamiliar to listeners.

3.  “Don’t share the obvious slant. Nobody wants to print what everyone already knows…Argue the rarer point or elucidate as only you uniquely can.”

One point I often stress in corporate blogging training sessions is that,  whether you’re blogging for a business, for a professional practice, or for a nonprofit organization, you’ve gotta have an opinion, a slant, on the information you’re serving up for readers. In other words, blog posts, to be effective, can’t be just compilations; you can’t just “aggregate” other people’s stuff and make that be your entire blog presence.
In “Ten tips to write an opinion piece people read”, A. Stone advises starting with an attention-grabbing opening line that cuts to the heart of your key message, evoking an emotion or curiosity.  It can be a strong fact, statement or even the beginning of an anecdote that has audience connection, he explains. “The first line is the display-window for all the goodies you have inside.” In opinion piece posts, the, the opener should at least hint at the “slant”.

Providing information about products and services may be the popular way to write corporate blog posts, but in terms of achieving Influencer status – that takes opinion!