Afraid your business blog will put your readers to sleep?
You’re not alone. People read blogs because they’re interesting, useful, entertaining, and fun. How can an insurance broker, a dentist, an air conditioning manufacturer, or a data analysis company come up with enough interesting topics to keep their blog readers entertained?
Maybe you find your industry fascinating, but when people ask what you do, their eyes tend to glaze over as you begin to explain. And you’re afraid the exact same thing will happen if you try to blog about it.
But the truth is, no matter what industry you’re in, you can still spark the interest of your potential readers with the right content.
Have a “boring” business? Your blog doesn’t have to be. Here are five ideas you can use to spice it up.
Be Ultra Practical
One of the keys to blogging success is being useful to your readers.
Think about it: You’re in business for a reason. Why do you customers need you? How do you improve their lives? What common questions do your potential customers often ask? What are their challenges? Once you answer these questions, you’re on your way to creating a useful, interesting blog. If you’re having a hard time thinking of useful things to blog about in your niche or industry, think about more broadly related topics.
Once you have a blog post topic, don’t be afraid to spill all the details and give your readers every answer they’re looking for. By making your blog ultra-useful, you’ll keep your readers’ attention, even if you’re not in the most exciting industry.
Examples of Ultra-Useful Business Blogging
- Insurance isn’t exactly an exciting topic, but Allstate overcomes that problem by offering practical and useful advice on its blog. From budgeting for your first apartment, to planning maternity leave, to what to do after an earthquake, they cover every insurance-related concern their customers might have.
- Navex Global creates risk and compliance software, which isn’t exactly a riveting conversation topic. But their blog looks at the bigger picture, considers their target audience, and provides useful, specific advice for the workplace (plus big, shareable images with every post — more on that in the next point).
- Zendesk keeps readers coming back by providing specific, step-by-step tutorials on their own product, which is full of advanced features and functionality.
Across the web, multimedia gets more engagement on every channel:
- Tweets with photos get about 35% more retweets than those without.
- Facebook photos get 53% more likes than text-only updates.
- Videos get 25% more engagement on Facebook than text.
- Infographics are liked and shared more than any other content.
On average, people remember only 20% of what they read, but remember 80% of what they see. Infographics, cartoons, video, and podcasts make information more interesting and engaging.
Examples of Leveraging Multimedia in Business Blogging
- General Electric isn’t an exciting business, but their blog at GE Reports is anything but boring. They use beautiful large photos with all their blog posts, which they also share on their Instagram and Pinterest accounts.
- Investec is an international specialist bank and asset manager — are you yawning yet? But they keep their visitors interested with a section of their blog devoted to cartoon illustrations and infographics, with topics such as “Currency Strength Test” and “The Interest Rates Challenge.”
- Unum is an income protection insurance company that uses cartoons and infographics on their blog to great effect. One example is their “Which Office Stereotype Are You?” Infographic.
- Salesforce, a CRM service and cloud computing company, uses cartoons on its Social Success blog that are consistent with their branding and give them a unique and memorable look.
- Infusionsoft also uses unique cartoon graphics for every blog post.
If you feel like your business blog is just rehashing the same topics over and over, why not get some fresh voices to weigh in?
Instead of making it all about you and your business, you can make your blog more interesting and useful by interviewing experts in your niche or industry. Inviting experts to contribute is another way of widening your reach and growing your audience, since your interviewees will likely share and promote their interview to their own audiences.
Another great source of interviews for your blog are your readers and customers. By putting the spotlight on your readers and customers, you’re crowdsourcing content, which lessens the workload of you and your team. Plus, you’re inviting their engagement and letting them know their voices are being heard. It’s also an effective way to save time on your marketing by repurposing content: You can write a case study or produce a video testimonial, and use that content for your blog as well.
Examples of Guest Voices on Business Blogs
- Salesforce’s Social Success blog invites experts on a variety of related topics to hop in and answer questions on their areas of expertise. Because the experts are from related but not competing companies, this is a great way to cross-promote, help each other’s businesses and expand your network.
- Dropbox highlights how its users use the file sharing service in their own lives in a series of customer interviews on their blog.
- Impact Branding and Design’s blog follows most of the advice in this blog post by being ultra useful and using shareable graphics and jargon-free language.
- Garmin uses customer testimonials and stories on their blog.
You might think that humor only works for inherently funny businesses, but any business blog can becoming more interesting and relatable by lightening up!
You may be serious about your business, but that doesn’t mean your blog has to be super serious too. Your readers may be looking for some lighthearted entertainment, as well as useful information.
Examples of Humor in Business Blogs
- Infusionsoft uses humor in all their blog post images. The blog posts themselves aren’t laugh-out-loud funny, but are written in a lighthearted, casual tone.
- Airconco, an air conditioning manufacturer, lightens up their blog with a posts like Virgin Mary Image Found on Air Conditioning Unit, and Unusual ways to stay warm.
- Eat24’s breakup letter to Facebook on their blog is hilarious.
- Priceonomics is a data analysis company, which is far from what you’d consider entertaining, but their blog is witty with especially interesting headlines. Check out Are One-Star Reviews for Assholes? and The Very Model of a Modern Mineral Dealer.
Your blog is really about making a connection with your readership, and the best way to do that is by being transparent and relatable. Your readers don’t want to read a cold blog full of jargon and corporate speak; they want to connect with the real person behind the words. Transparency leads to trust.
In order to build your relationship with your audience and build that trust, you can make your blog more transparent and relatable.
You can do that by:
- Sharing some behind-the-scenes stories from your workplace.
- Sharing company “secrets” to build trust with your audience.
- Talk about the challenges you or the company has faced.
- Invite the whole team to post on the blog, and don’t censor their words.
Examples of Transparent Business Blogging
- NinjaOutreach, a blogger outreach SaaS company, has a wonderfully transparent blog that outlines their successes and challenges as a startup.
- On Intercom.io, the VP of Engineering talks about lessons learned from his hiring experiences, and a new employee talks about their first impressions working at Intercom.
- Buffer CEO & founder Joel Gascoigne talks about the reasoning behind Buffer’s core value of transparency on his own blog.
Don’t Bore Your Readers
Just because your business doesn’t make for a great conversation at parties doesn’t mean your business blog has to be boring. You can connect with your target audience in any industry or niche by taking inspiration from the examples above to make your blog interesting and entertaining.
What are your favorite examples of interesting blogs from “boring” businesses? Share your examples in the comments!