As the world gets steadily crazier, consumers are holding the brands and businesses they buy from to even higher standards than before.
Brands need to provide not only products and services to their clients, but also offer them resources and support. It can be a challenge to toe the line between the two, especially if you’re not a regular writer but do know a lot about your chosen area of expertise. That’s why I’m here to help.
Writing personal, yet at the same time, professional blog content requires skill and practice. As a professional copywriter, I understand how to put together a friendly yet professional post for your business blog posts. I’ve tried to explain the techniques I use and the dos and don’ts below.
Know Your Audience
Before you start writing, make sure you know what your readership is expecting. If you’re writing for your own blog, then you get to set the tone, and you’ll probably know your audience like the back of your hand. If you’re offering content services, supporting a client, or offering a guest post, then you need to know the audience of that platform.
When I’m writing for client blog posts, I always need to check what their audience wants. In some markets, such as the law or institutional finance, an informal blog post isn’t going to cut it. Readers will expect formality and look for informative articles. However, in the marketing industry, I can use more colloquial language and be much more friendly. I always aim to create content that engages the audience and provides solutions to their problems.
Set the Tone From The Start
It might sound obvious, but you need to set the tone from the start of the content. If you start your post formally, and then suddenly introduce a friendly tone and start sticking emojis everywhere, you’ll quickly lose your reader.
Your content will look unprofessional and, frankly, weird. Instead, set the tone from the beginning, by using friendly expressions and a relaxed tone in the introduction.
Use The First And Second Person
If you write in the third person (they, their), then you won’t be able to engage with your reader. Talk directly to them by using the first person (I, we, our), and the second person (you, your).
By avoiding the third person, you’ll make your work feel more friendly and less corporate. You’ll also create a conversational tone, which will help you to guide the reader and make a better impression on them.
Contract Your Verbs
Contracted verbs are shortened versions of verb phrases like you are (you’re) or they are (they’re). Use contractions to make your content look less formal and easier to read.
If you’re not sure whether or not to use a contraction, then try reading your post aloud. If you naturally start contracting the verb when speaking, then you should do it in your written content.
Embrace Recognisable Colloquialisms And Expressions
Expressions are a great way to engage with your reader and make your content feel informal. That’s why you’ve probably noticed a fair few of them in this post. However, you need to make sure that you pick recognisable expressions. If it’s an obscure local expression or one you made up yourself, then you’ll alienate your readers and confuse them.
Use colloquial expressions that most people have heard of and understand, to make your content accessible and engaging.
Break Up Your Content With Headers, Bullets And Images
Very few people enjoy reading a dense block of text. Most readers will be put off by a long article with nothing to break it up, so use subheadings, bullet points, numbered lists, and small images to break up your blog posts. It sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how many business blogs have dense chunks of text on them.
Even simple techniques like short paragraphs and sentences can make your content seem more manageable. Before you make your blog post live, take a look and consider if you’d be happy to read it. If you wouldn’t, then think about what’s wrong with it and try to fix it. Often, visually off-putting content is a deal-breaker for readers, so try to make it look less like a block of text and more like an engaging article they want to read.
Avoid Emojis Like The Plague
Everyone loves emojis- so much so that there are now more than three thousand of them out there. We have everything from basic smiley faces to animals, food and more. They even made a movie about them! That being said, emojis aren’t very professional, and while they’re great for toning down emails or using in social media posts to grab people’s attention, they look out of place in blog posts.
Try not to use them, unless it’s in an example. If you must use emojis in blog posts, choose carefully. Smiley faces are all very well and good, but winky faces can be suggestive. Also, some innocent-looking emojis, like the aubergine, can have multiple meanings. Be careful and if in doubt, leave it out.
Read Loads Of Business Blogs In Your Niche
If you’re struggling to pick the right tone, or you don’t know what’s acceptable to your audience, then do your research. You probably already know your competitors, and you’ll have done keyword research, so you know who’s ranking for the terms you’re targeting.
Read your competitor’s blogs and any others that are relevant, to get some inspiration. See how they write their content, and what feedback and traffic they get, then try to incorporate what you’ve learned into your writing. You’ll soon find that you’ve picked up some useful tips.
Creating quality, informative blog content that’s insightful, interesting, yet still professional enough for your audience requires practice.
Keep writing content, even if you’re not sure that it’s ready for publication. You can always write it, then keep it for later. You could even repurpose the content at a later date, so don’t think that you’re wasting your time.
When you do start posting your content, listen to feedback from your customers and blog readers. Use their comments to learn and improve your writing skills. Most of all, have fun with it.
Content Marketing Manager
A former journalist, Hannah Stevenson is now the Content Marketing Manager at UK Linkology, one of the UK’s highest-ranking link building agencies.