Establishing Order on the Planet of Your Blog

icy snowflake“Establish order on the planet of your blog by using proven structures for your blog posts,” advises Tracy Gold of the Content Marketing Institute. Gold suggests a few possible blog post frameworks:

  • Q and A
  • Case study
  • Comparison/metaphor
  • Yes/No debate

Q and A
I tell new Indianapolis blog content writers that, in creating content for SEO marketing blogs, we need to keep in mind that people are online searching for answers to questions they have and for solutions for dilemmas they’re facing. But even if those searchers haven’t specifically formulated their question, I suggest we do that for them by presenting a question in the blog post itself and then answering it.

Case study
Back in Journalism 101 class, we were taught to “put a face on the issue” by beginning the article with a human example. Stories of all kinds, including case studies and customer testimonials help personalize your blog post.

Of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0000 snowflakes that have fallen on earth, no two are identical. Snowflakes form around particles of dust and sea salt, but the conditions of temperature and moisture are different each time. The “nucleus” around which business blog posts are formed is their topic, but there is endless variety in how that topic is presented. Metaphors “wake up” blog content by making unusual comparisons.

Yes/No debate
Helping readers sort truth from myth is one important use for business blogs.  In the natural order of business, many of misunderstandings about a product or service present themselves, and shining the light of day on misinformation shines light on your own expertise in your field. Even when there is no final answer, blog content writers can summarize the different schools of thought and recap the research that is being done in the field. That in itself can go a long way towards making your blog a “go-to” place for readers seeking information relating to your industry or profession.

Establish order on the planet of your blog!


What Do Blog Readers Need Out of Our Blog Content

Carla Hill

What do we need at work?

That’s the question Carla Hill, responsible for leading Business Furniture’s New Business Development teams, knows marketers must be able to answer.  Hill’s years as a learning and development consultant have helped her put together the following list of what each employee needs in the workplace:

  • people who help me
  • tools
  • information
  • exchange of ideas

The list of what blog readers need is nothing if not parallel to the Business Furniture list:

People who help me –
Never forget this one truth: People want to do business with people, and readers relate to stories about people, not to facts and statistics.  Let tales of people helping people tell the story of your company, your products, and of the services you provide.

Tools –
Readers want to know that you and your organization can teach them something.  “Briefly,” says Jim Connolly of  Jim’s Marketing Blog, “here’s how content marketing works: You build and market a website and stock it with free information that has real value to your prospective clients.”

Information –
Use business blogs to offer readers free information that has value to your targeted
readers. You can do that “whilst offering them the opportunity to purchase goods and services which are closely linked to the information you give away,” advises Jim
Connally in Jim’s Marketing Blog.

Exchange of ideas –
Whether it’s business-to-business blog writing or business to consumer blog writing, , you must first take a stand on the issue yourself, using various tactics to bolster that stance in the eyes of readers. Then, through including guest posts, citing material expressing the opposing viewpoint, and inviting readers comments, blog marketers have a chance to facilitate productive exchanges of ideas.

You might be composing blog content for your own business or professional practice or doing blog marketing for clients.  In either case, before posting your latest creation, ask yourself:

Am I giving the readers what they need out of this blog?




Choosing Healthy Blogging Habits

Nurse talking with elderly people showing test results during ro

Nurses and chiropractors should have some good ideas on healthy habits, I thought. Sure enough, I found four blogs that I think are examples of effective blog marketing.

Modern Scrubs for Nurse Practitioners” is a blog post written by Melissa DeCapua. It was an interesting choice for me, because, while the post is informational, it’s a very “sales-y” piece, promoting the EON collection of scrub uniforms manufactured by the Maevn company. (Typically I advise blog content writers to go soft on the selling, sticking to advertorial style.)

Three things save the piece, I believe:

  1. DeCapua has sent out a survey and is now reporting that, based on the feedback, the company has designed a new line designed for comfort, style, and performance. The blogger has positioned herself firmly on the side of the customers, representing their interests.
  2. It’s useful and actionable – the blogger includes a size chart, after explaining that “when purchasing clothes online, I inevitably worry about picking the right size”. DeCapua ordered extra small top and small bottoms, and the clothes fit just right. (Sharing her personal experience serves as a testimonial for the readers.)
  3. It’s very personal. The blogger names her own favorite pick of the collection, the mesh panel jacket.

Choosing Healthy Breads”, another blog post written by a nurse practitioner, is in stark contrast. This one’s long, too long, I think, for a single post, but it’s also filled with useful information for the readers, and each section is introduced with a directive: “Ensure 100% Whole Gran is the 1st ingredient on the label.” Points of explanation follow that statement. An explanation about why consuming white bread is not a healthy choice, particularly for diabetics, follows the directive “Avoid Refined Breads.” The entire blog post is instructional and informational, with no effort to sell anything to the reader.

My Neck Hurts When I Wake Up”, a post by Active Family Chiropractic, is effective because it  answers questions about a specific problem. The chiropractor, Dr. Lori Goodsell, writes in first person: “I am frequently asked in my clinic, ‘My neck hurts….’.

The blogger then proceeds to give practical advice to readers on how to pick a pillow, depending on whether you’re a stomach sleeper, a side sleeper, or a back sleeper. Dr. Goodsell does invite readers to become patients of her practice: “As always, if you have neck pain when you wake up, you need to have yourself evaluated by a chiropractor.”

I encourage blog content writers to use exactly the kind of “I-you” conversational, personalized tone I found in this blog.

Nurse practitioners and chiropractors have some healthy habits to recommend to  us blog content writers!




A Business Blog Needs Words


Blogging has become the best possible way to leverage your online presence and gain traction with Internet searches performed by your potential clients.”(No surprise there, but what I did find surprising is the source of the remark – none other than the National Association of Realtors!)

The realtor website went on to repeat the modern blogging mantra: “An interesting, relevant image is an essential part of your blog post. It’s not merely aesthetic; it’s crucial for boosting your readership and your SEO. People are much more likely to read a blog illustrated with a nice image,” the NAR advises. “It doesn’t matter what industry, topic, niche, or specialty, images matter.”

“Hey!” I sometimes want to shout. “Don’t forget that, no matter what industry, topic, niche, or specialty, the main content of the blog post consists (or at least should consist) of WORDS. Words matter.” Jennifer Olney of knows what I mean. In “Lazy Blogging: Why Your Word Matter,” Olney comments that too many authors rely on visuals to take the lazy way out of writing. Real authors, she implies use adult words and showcase their understanding of the use and beauty of the English language.

“Content comes in many forms, but web copy, articles and blog posts are among the most popular – and effective,” writes Dan Hughes of jtvdigital. Like Olney, Hughes observes that “ Many people overlook words and the power they have to entice their target audience. In this day and age, pictures and video are powerful promotional tools that cater to the attention span of the modern digital consumer, Hughes points out. “However,” he continues, “much like any business, well-crafted web copy is an essential part of success.”

“Words are art, and our ability to convey our message in words helps us be understood without distraction, Olney says. All the emojis in the world could not convey the extent to which I agree!



Business Blogging Using Not-So-Trivial Trivia – Part A

mothsWriting blog posts on any one topic over long periods of time can get old, as any business owner or professional practitioner can tell you.  And, yes, even we seasoned professional blog content creators have a need to infuse new energy into the process from time to time. That’s precisely where the weird and wonderful tidbits in J.K. Kelly’s Book of Incredible Information can help.

I’ve had so much fun exploring the pages of this incredible collection of not-so-trivial trivia, I’m going to devote this week’s Say It For You blog posts to sharing some of the gems I discovered, along with ideas about how you might incorporate some of these into your own blog content writing….

About one in three movies features at least once scene containing an insect, Kelly reminds us.
There’s actually a name for the professional “bug men” or “bug wranglers” who facilitate the process, I learned. No joke, either.  These are trained entomologists responsible for providing the insects and for manipulating them onscreen.

So, how to you train an insect?  You don’t.  They cannot be trained, only manipulated to fit the needs of the movie script. Spiders refuse to walk on Lemon Pledge furniture wax, for example, so you spray the stuff where you don’t want them going. To make an insect fly toward a window, wranglers place a light out of shot behind the window.

What about make-up for insects? You bet, Kelly explains.  For “Silence of the Lambs”, the wrangler couldn’t obtain specimens of the rare moth needed, so he anesthetized moths and painted on the distinctive markings of the death’s-head hawk moth onto their bodies. Needless to say, the wrangler used water-based, non-toxic paint that would wash off later without any harm to the insect.

So how might you use this insect-training knowledge in business blogging? The tidbit becomes the jumping off point for explaining what problems can be solved using that business’ products or that practice’s services, for defining basic terminology, and for putting modern day statistics into perspective.

On a very simple level, this trivia could add humor and interest to a blog by a pest control company or a makeup studio.

On a deeper level, there’s a lot here about training.  How do you train employees? Can – and should – employees be manipulated? How do you go about inspiring children in the classroom? I can see the bit about the insect wranglers being used in blogging for an employee placement firm, an instructional design firm, or by a college training corporate managers.

For freelance blog content writers, incredible information tidbits can turn into incredible treasure,
adding new interest to the ongoing marketing message in the blog.