Updated: Oct 6, 2021
All good writing has purpose. Blog posts are no different. If your business has a blog (as it should), the more you narrow down each post's purpose, the more effective your blog will be as a marketing tool.
During my research as a freelance copywriter, in business blog after business blog, I see a "throw everything at the wall and see if it sticks" theme. That's not to say that the posts on these websites never "stick" - sometimes I'm sure they do - but is 'sometimes' good enough?
It seems a common approach to business blogging is this:
A business recognizes the value and necessity for a blog
The blog is set up on the business website
Good topic ideas are generated
The writing is assigned
The blog writer delivers
On the surface, this approach may appear "not-so-bad" because generally, it's not. But is "not-so-bad" going to:
Solidify current customer/client loyalty?
Engage a targeted community?
Deliver brand awareness?
Maybe...but certainly not consistently and with targeted intent.
Good writing mechanics are not enough - a writer/blogger must take the time to identify TWO KEY ELEMENTS that make the difference between a serviceable blog and one that delivers consistent measurable gains for the business it promotes:
If you are getting a little Deja Vu harkening back to your high school Language Arts class about now, that's good. We old English teachers weren't just willy-nilly busting your chops on this writing basics' point.
Knowing your audience and their needs and priorities makes all the difference between successful writing and hit-or-miss writing. Here's why:
SMA Marketing gives this advice about the importance of targeting the audience for blogs:
"One of the biggest misconceptions about a blog is that it should appeal to as many readers as possible. Casting a wider net will not help you catch more fish in the internet sea. You’ll end up with watered-down content if you try to have mass appeal. Your blog should be written for your buyer persona and no one else. Educate and inform your target audience instead of trying to appeal to everyone."
If you are reading this blog, I can assume you are:
a. a business person interested in sharpening your marketing techniques
b. another freelance writer or blogger adding to your own expertise
c. a business person interested in making your blog more productive
The title of this post is the giveaway, and it matters because I will write accordingly. All three target audiences (now readers) are basically on an equal footing due to the commonality of the subject matter of this post: targeted business blogging. While they may have differing levels of education, types of industry, etc., they are all reading because of what they do have in common: an interest in blogging for effective marketing. So, I have written in a conversational tone and used daily verbiage and phrasing.
In a Blogging Explorer post, blogging authority Mikke says,
"When you target a very specific audience, you have a better idea about what they need and want.
When you know their struggles, you can offer the perfect solutions, too.
Hence, your blog posts will be the perfect answers to the questions and problems your blog target audience is facing.
Therefore, they’ll find much more value in your articles as long as you’re aware of who they are."
Of this post: I want to give business owners and fellow bloggers something of value while establishing myself as an expert in my field.
Medium writer Michael Schultheiss lists the 3 Purposes of Blogging as:
Blogging Provides Information People Want (Usually to solve a problem)
Blogging Establishes You as an Authority
Blogging Exposure Leads to Sales
Any number of nuanced purposes will fall under these three main purposes. And, just as there can be multiple target audiences, there can also be multiple target goals for a post.
Example Blogging Scenario:
Business: A directional drilling company
Blog post topic: The environmental advantages of perforating technology and equipment in the oil and gas industry.
Priority Target Audience: The general public/community
Target Outcome: Garnering community support and trust by establishing the business as environmentally-conscientious.
Secondary Target Audience: Prospective clients in the oil and gas industry
Target Outcome: Gaining respect of prospective clients for community involvement
Goodwill and trust with community is vital to the success of any business. In this case, the technical and industry-specific jargon would be simplified and replaced with common vocabulary, and the tone would be conversational and friendly.
A Second Scenario:
Business: Same directional drilling company
Blog Post Topic: Technology used in directional drilling to reduce environmental impact
Priority Target Audience: Prospective clients in the oil and gas industry
Target Outcome: To convert prospective clients into active clients/customers
In this case, technical and industry-specific jargon would not be simplified or changed because the target audience would clearly understand it. Also, using industry-specific jargon would relay the expertise of the blog's business. The tone, accordingly, would be more formal and business-like, garnering professional respect of potential customers.
Taking the time to determine the target audience and target outcome of each blog post will pay off. It's the difference between
If you feel your blog is not delivering the way you want it to deliver, I'd love to help! Visit my website and fill out a contact form for more information.