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If you don't nourish your reader, you're letting them down

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If I could give one rule above all others to any writer, it would be this: put the reader first.

That sounds obvious, but it’s often forgotten. And it's particularly important to consider in the process of writing blog posts for your company. In the thick of putting together a blog post that might need to please lots of different groups, the reader can get lost in the mix.

Priorities, priorities

If you're writing a post on your company's blog, you probably start out with a clear idea of what you want to achieve. But then all sorts of competing interests can come into play. The SEO specialist wants you to optimize your writing so it appears high in search results; the head of sales thinks you should use a very specific wording in the title that ties in with a campaign they're running; the CEO is desperate for you to work a cheesy joke into the opening paragraph… you get the idea.

In the end though, it’s all about the reader. If you submit to all those other demands, you’ll likely end up with a messy piece of writing and a confused audience.

A good company blog post should do the following three things:

  1. Achieve one clear goal for your company

  2. Nourish the reader with useful information

  3. Convey a little of the company’s personality.

Let’s dig into those in a bit more detail…

Achieve one clear goal for your company

Like other forms of marketing, a good company blog post has one single call to action attached to it. Maybe you want people to sign up to your next webinar, or download a new app, or read an e-book… whatever it is, focus on that one thing and don’t confuse the reader with more.

And don’t confuse the reader with less, either. That call to action needs to be big and clear and easy to act upon. That could mean adding a clickable button, or just writing in a way that clearly leads the reader to the action you want them to perform.

Not every post on your blog will have an obvious call to action associated with it, but adding one that’s at least loosely related to the subject will mean a casual reader has an opportunity to develop more of a relationship with you.

For example, if you're writing about how you continually train your staff to develop their skills but aren't hiring right now, at least make sure you link to your recruitment information. If you accept speculative applications, that post would be a perfect place to let people know.

Nourish the reader with useful information

When you’ve finished your first draft, read it back carefully a couple of times. Does it serve you more than the reader? It’s easy to do that accidentally.

Sometimes serving the reader and serving your own company are perfectly aligned goals. If someone is reading your blog, they’re interested in reading about your company, so an announcement about your new product serves them well. But if you’ve decided to write a guide to the best products in your field, and you’ve put yourself as top selection in every category, even if – deep in your heart – you know that’s not true, you’ve not nourished your reader – you’ve fed them junk information.

And if you've lazily rewritten another company's blog post offering advice on a topic you're supposed to be an expert in, just because you really need to publish something this week – again, that's a junk food blog post.

If you want someone to keep coming back to your blog, you need them to leave satisfied each time they visit. If you're lying to your readers to make a post worthwhile, or just rehashing things they can read better versions of elsewhere, it’s probably not worth writing that post in the first place.

Convey a little of the company’s personality

You can tell a lot about how comfortable a company is ‘in its own skin’ from its blog. Do they awkwardly publish thin and pointless Q&As with random members of staff and write-ups of their summer party, or do they communicate in a consistent tone of voice that matches their products and their customer, no matter what a post is about?

A generous reading of ‘fun things we’ve done as a team’ posts is that they’re good for recruitment, but unless they’re really well written, in-depth, and composed with recruitment in mind, it’s better to just put this kind of information on your jobs page. Otherwise the casual observer might think you’re just posting filler content.

Communicating your company's personality and values through the style of your writing takes an experienced writer who understands the company well and is steeped in its culture. That's one reason why it's important to take your blog seriously and not leave it as an afterthought.

Want help with your tech company’s content? Big Revolution can help.

A version of this post first appeared on LinkedIn. Image credit: Element5 Digital on Unsplash

AdviceMartin Bryant