It’s All in the Game for Your Business Blog

Carnival Game with Ducks“There’s a unique recipe that goes into coming out ahead in just about anything,” Jessanne Collins writes in Mental Floss, “an enigmatic equation of skill, technique, calculation, probability, chance, and all kinds of other immeasurable factors.” Collins examines competitions ranging from carnival games to spelling bees and Texas Hold “Em poker, concluding that the perfect formula for winning is uncrackable.

Despite the myriad of words devoted to blogging advice, the secret code for blogging success is probably uncrackable as well. Still, I can’t help thinking, the equation for business blog content writing contains all same basic elements Collins found in poker playing and carnival games:

“The vast majority of content online is poorly written,” laments Kevin Muldoon of While anyone who can use the Internet can technically write a blog post, all content is not created equal, he observes.

“The best writers are also keen readers,” advises, adding that content writers must expand their horizons to more challenging material than they typically read, paying special attention to sentence structure, word choice, and flow.

Great blog posts begin with planning, and that means creating outlines, doing research using authoritative resources, fact-checking, creating good headlines, editing, using images, and inserting humor judiciously, continues.

“In our site reviews we often see that a site’s category / tag structure is completely unmanaged,” reports Joost de Valk in Yoast. When used correctly a good “taxonomy” system can boost your blog’s SEO; when used incorrectly, he says, “it’ll break things”. Using analytical tools is the blogger’s way of calculating which tactics are most likely to succeed.

“Until you’ve had a chance to build up a target audience, you’re dealing with assumptions and educated guesses based on your first-hand experience and anecdotal evidence,” says Peep Laja of  After you learn more about the market, you can pivot, changing direction to fit the facts.

Just as with carnivals, spelling bees, and Texas Hold “Em poker, with corporate blog writing, it’s all in the game!



Blogging Almost to the Finish Line

A group of runners in a cross country race.“You can’t open a magazine or newspaper without seeing a recap,” motivational speaker Mark Sanborn wrote. Sanborn isn’t sure, though, how useful recaps are, and quickly concludes he had nothing to do with major events and nothing he could do about them now that they were over.  “The best I can hope to do is learn vicariously from these people and events,” he writes, “and find some ways to apply the lessons in my own life.”

Look first at your successes, Sanford says.  High achievers go too quickly on to the next goal, missing the pleasure and optimism that comes from reflected on success. Next, says Sanborn, look at the setbacks.  What were the lessons you learned?  Have you made changes in your behavior to lessen future setbacks? If there’s nothing you could have done to avoid whatever difficulties occurred, FIDO (Forget it, drive on). Third, advises Sanborn, project into the year ahead to form ideas, goals and plans.

Now that the end of 2015 is coming close, I try to follow that self evaluation process Sanborn wrote about back in 2011, looking back at the past year spent as content writer and corporate blogging trainer. It was useful to go back and read Eric Wagner’s “Five Reasons 8 Out of 10 Business Fail”, which appeared in Forbes two years ago.

Failure reason #1 for small businesses is not being really in touch with customers.  On this one, I give my Say It For You team high marks.  Since our business model involves taking on only one client in each field of business, then assigning a dedicated writer to interface with the owner or practitioner, I put staying in touch in our Success column.

When things didn’t work this year, I realize, it almost always had to do with lack of coordination among the blog writer, the webmaster, the business owner, and the staff of the client’s business or practice. We business bloggers are nothing if not interpreters. Effective blog posts must go from information-dispensing to offering the business owner’s (or the professional’s, or the organizational executive’s) unique perspective on issues related to the search topic.

That means owners and professional practitioners have got to be involved in the process of producing content, even after they’ve engaged the services of our professional content writers. The webmaster has to work together with the blog writer to provide the optimization and analysis that make the content “work”. Hiring professional bloggers is not a “wake me up when it’s over” proposition. I think my biggest mistakes happened when I compromised on this principle. Not only should there be periodic team meetings to discuss content, it is not a good idea for me and my team to take on writing assignments without insisting the business also invest in properly designed landing pages and website optimization. When blog writing is not coordinated with email and social media the results are simply not likely to be what the business owner expects.

I have to say, we on the Say It For You team have more than enough reasons for pleasure and optimism. On the other hand, we’ve already begun to make certain changes to our business model, with an eye to learning from our failures.

2016? Bring it on!