How to write good blog content

by Mack Collier

During the last #Blogchat, at one point the discussion shifted to writing good content on your blogs, and what defined ‘good’ content.

Most of us seemed to fall into one of two camps: People that said that good content created value for your audience, and people that said that good content created value for the blogger.  With the general consensus being that if you are a business blogger, that your content was written for someone else.  And if you are a personal blogger, you are writing for yourself.

Then I got to thinking about my blogging here.  Ultimately, this blog is a business development tool for me.  I use it as a tool to grow my business and get more consulting and training clients.  But I also want and am very thankful for those of you that leave comments here and contribute to the conversation.  So while the actual comments and conversations we have might not have as much of an impact on my business as the content itself, it has an impact on ME.

Which I think is an important issue to consider.  Even those of us that are business bloggers need to get a sense of personal fulfillment from our blogs.  It keeps us motivated and inspired.  Sure, getting money from your blog is always inspiring, but making personal connections with people and creating value for them via your content, is also very rewarding.

In my mind, the best bloggers are the ones that create their content with a specific audience in mind, but they also have a personal attachment to their readers.  As a result, even their ‘business’ blogs aren’t stiff and boring, they are even personable and inviting.

What do you think?  Should your blog content and approach combine personal and professional elements to be more effective?  Or should your blog’s focus be completely one or the other?

How do you write for your blog?  What’s your approach?

{ 19 comments }

Amy Fitch January 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

“Even those of us that are business bloggers need to get a sense of personal fulfillment from our blogs.” I never thought of it this way, but you are absolutely right. I can’t feel inspired to write good content (blog or otherwise) unless my voice is coming through. Maybe that’s why I did so poorly in college courses where I had to write to make my professors happy? (Hmm…I digress). As a reader, I am much more interested in reading a blog that tells me about the person/people behind the business FIRST and about the business SECOND. There is a balance to strike, but “all work and no play” doesn’t fly with me. :-) Great post, Mack.

Mack Collier January 25, 2011 at 9:32 am

Thank you Ms Fitch ;) I really do think that most of us want to see a more personal side from the blogs we read, even if they are business or company blogs. It simply helps us connect with the blogger if we know more about them and what motivates them.

And as the blogger connects with their readers, it makes writing the blog more rewarding.

Sean Bailey January 25, 2011 at 9:22 am

Hi Mack,

Any content always comes across as more interesting when you have that personal element to it, so i don’t see why a business blog would be any different. It doesn’t have to be dry. If the writer is in the industry, they will inevitably have some kind of personal experience with the subject, so why not touch on it if it means your readers will be more engaged?

Mack Collier January 25, 2011 at 9:34 am

Sean I agree with you, but what if a blogger believes that readers don’t WANT to hear about them? For example, if a busy executive is writing a blog, they probably have the mindset that ‘time is money’, and as such they may think they would be wasting their reader’s time by writing about themselves, as opposed to creating value for the reader.

Or maybe a better question is, how can we as readers encourage our favorite bloggers to be more personal with us?

Sean Bailey January 25, 2011 at 10:21 am

It doesn’t necessarily matter what the blogger believes. If no one is commenting after a long period of writing, then clearly the readers want something else, right? And you can write about yourself (or your experiences) and still add value. It’s like a reporter adding a person to a news article.. people will still find out about the issue AND see how it affects them.

How a reader can encourage someone to write more personal posts is by offering their personal experience with the issue (if they have one) and/or simply asking the blogger to share theirs.

Emil A. Georgiev January 25, 2011 at 10:41 am

Hi Mack

While I blog on stuff I work with or I am interested in, I try to reduce it to issues and causes I can identify myself with. That is how I personalize my content.
I guess the majority of my readers endorse this engagement, though I have received also feedback to the contrary.

Keri Andino January 25, 2011 at 11:37 am

I try to answer the questions that I think my readers are asking in an actionable format, and one that is relevant with the culture (mindset) that we are living in today! My biggest blog buster is frequency.. I am so client focused right now, that I haven’t set enough time for writing! Any suggestion for me Mark? I would love them!

Mack Collier January 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Keri I don’t know if you are like me, but I tend to be a perfectionist with my posts. Which I think means that I sometimes spend time trying to make a post ‘too perfect’ instead of just posting it. For the last week or so, I’ve posted at least once a day, and as a result, I had to choose to ‘just publish’ a few of the posts, and not obsess over them as I usually do.

And interestingly, I have had a few people tell me that my posts in the last week have been better, even though I assumed they weren’t, simply because I wasn’t spending as much time with them.

Maybe the lesson is to just publish it.

Marcia Reid January 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm

If you are writing your business blog yourself, then I think it should have a personal element to it. This makes the postings much more interesting for your readers and, as you say, provides fulfilment for you too.
I compare writing a blog to writing a novel – you need to write about what you know (or have researched), use a style that is natural to you, and therefore credible to your readers, and provide content that is either entertaining or informative, or even better, both. In the same way that the key ingredient in cooking is love, the best blogs are written by bloggers who enjoy the process and that enjoyment will rub off on their readers.
I mainly write about healthcare, but my other passion is football so I occasionally slip in a blog about that – and my readers don’t seem to mind!

Judy Helfand January 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Mack,
I always try to add a personal touch to my business blog posts. A week or so ago, Lisa Petrilli covered this topic beautifully about how to use your blog to land a new job or client. In today’s world, I am sure that potential clients browse through a company’s blog posts to get a feel as to whether or not they share similar outlooks, what the company (owners) seem passionate about and what life experiences they bring to the table. It makes perfect sense.

This is one of the reasons, a few weeks ago, that I suggested “use of colorful language” in blog posts as a #blogchat topic. How you purport yourself means something…don’t you think?

Judy

Ricardo Bueno January 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Hi Mack,

I was going to leave a short comment at first sharing what I thought made up ‘good blog content’ then I got a bit carried away with too many words so I slapped up a post with my thoughts instead:

http://www.ricardobueno.com/how-to-write-good-blog-content (hope you don’t mind the link)

Ultimately, to me, good content is helpful first (as in no sales pitches) with a bit of a personal touch to carry on the conversation.

Kari O'Brien January 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Hi Mark,

Interesting dialogue here. I was looking for a little direction in how to write good content but the question of personality is good too.

I’ve heard it said “A good book is like a conversation with the author.” Maybe having more personality is good because we feel like we’re friends with the writer; They become someone we can relate to and trust.

Personally I keep two blogs now…two facebooks too…I’m a SoMe addict. The first is a tumblr & is ridiculous and filled with my genuine passions which might not be everyone’s cup of tea. The other I’m just getting into is for employers to find and filled with digital strategy info.

Recently I began adjusting the content based on search terms and referral sites. “Give the people what they want.” I’m always frustrating following links to blogs which don’t have the info I need, so my new thing is trying to offer the answers people were searching for.

Kelly January 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I LOVE this topic, and I don’t see why we have to pick a side.

I believe that all of our posts can create value for both ourselves and our audience simultaneously, and in fact, I think that is the key to successful and sustainable blogging.

I always say that everything is a co-creation. Our blogs are co-creations.

If our blogs are not creating value to us (through personal satisfaction, money, etc.) AND to our readers, it is not a sustainable pursuit.

Mireia January 26, 2011 at 5:32 am

In my humble opinion, you enjoy a blog when it is written with passion, joy and professionalism. I mean, if the blogger likes to write in his/her blog and has more aspirations to follow than simply making money, you will feel this while reading it.
Connections between human beings are kind of an art; the art of seducing, awaking feelings and invite everybody to think more deeply.
If a blogger succeeds in combining business strategies and the pleasure of a well done job, both the writer and the reader will be satisfied and happy.

Tracy January 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Interesting blogs are written by interesting writers, who also tend to be interesting people. Talk to three new people at a party or networking event. Which of the three was the most interesting person? The one you had the most interesting conversation with. Even if you purposefully started on the topic, I guarantee one person excelled at engaging you, either with their knowledge or curiosity about the subject. Just because someone can blog, doesn’t mean they should, it’s not the right medium for everyone. If a blog is not useful, humorous or engaging, it’s like the phone call from aunt Shirley babbling on about the weather. Whether funny, riveting or relevant, it should be brief. …Have I said too much?

Shree January 27, 2011 at 6:01 am

I completely agree with you Mack. Connecting with the readers is what matters to a writer, be it for business or for personal blog. Writing a blog which focuses on the business as well as draws the reader’s attention is the main issue.

Charles January 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm

For me, I read blogs primarily to learn and secondarily to connect with people. So when I write blog posts, my first priority is to teach the reader something. After I know that the post has enough valuable information to make it worthwhile, I might add some personal information. I think it is human nature for people to be more interested in themselves. I have a feeling that blog readers are subconsciously thinking, “That’s great that you like cats, but how can you help me?”

oconn92234 October 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Hi Mark,

Whether blogging for business or for personal use you still need to be able to engage your visitor otherwise they won’t stick around to read what you have to say. You do this best by letting your personality shin through in your writing and this applies to both types.

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Adam Johnson October 8, 2012 at 6:13 am

Now Many people can write good blog content. visit my website http://www.wordsmithcontent.com for sample of good content writing by professional writers.
Thank you for posting this blog

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