Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Bloggers: 8 Tips to help you attract more readers, sales and business leads

blogging

If you write a business blog and would like to see better results from it, I believe you will find the following 8 blogging tips really useful. They are based on my own experiences, having grown Jim’s Marketing Blog from zero, to one of the world’s most popular marketing blogs.

Let’s get started with tip number 1.

1. Write when you have something useful to share. Be useful often

Very few bloggers seem to understand one of the most basic facts of blogging. It’s simply this: You can’t expect people to keep returning to your blog, if you don’t.

For example, if a reader finds a new, useful post on your blog today, then returns in a few days and there’s nothing new, then returns a few days later and still nothing new – you stand a great chance of losing their interest. Conversely, if they find something useful on your blog every few days, they’re extremely likely to keep returning. That’s how you become part of their world. That’s how they start getting to know you.

When you publish posts infrequently, it’s almost like starting from zero each time. There’s little if any momentum: Momentum is essential if you want to grow your readership.

I often hear people claim that they just can’t find useful topics to blog about, on a regular basis. The thing is, these same people have no trouble finding useful things to say to their clients, contacts and friends, every day! Writing is like talking. If you can talk regularly about your topic, there’s no reason why you can’t write about it too. I believe everyone can think of something useful to share at least a couple of times a week.

The next tip takes this one step further.

2. Write as closely as you can, to the way you speak

Have you ever noticed that when you read the best blogs, it almost feels like you can hear the blogger speaking the words to you? That’s because these writers have discovered, that when you write similarly to the way you speak, you make it easier for people to connect with the person behind your posts.

In fact, allowing your personality to shine through your written words, may be one of the best kept secrets of the most successful, prolific bloggers.

3. Avoid writing ‘me too’ blog posts

Some bloggers will only write posts, which agree with what almost everyone else in their space is saying. By adding nothing new, you give people nothing to connect with. You look like a sheep. Always look for a way to add something of your own, something that shows your readers what you think and what you feel about the topic.

4. Aim to be useful

The most widely read blog posts are those, which people find useful in some way. So, give your readers something they can take away from the post and put into action.

Give them an idea, which they can chew over and then draw their own conclusions.

Give them a fresh way to look at an old challenge.

In a nutshell – The more useful you are, the more valuable your blog will be to your readers.

5. Focus on them

Yes, it’s nice occasionally to write about yourself, but if you really want to engage your readers, you need to focus on them. Talk about what’s happening in their world. Offer answers to the problems facing their industry.

There’s a big difference between writing posts that just talk about you, your product and how amazing you are – and writing posts that are all about being useful to the reader, yet contain lessons from your own experiences. In fact, it’s a great idea to share your own experiences, when offering useful examples to help make a point. I’ve done it a few times in this post. Your readers will value learning what happened when you did XYZ – it could save them time and money.

The key is to ensure the focus of the post is on helping them, rather than bragging or pushing sales pitches at them!

6. Don’t try and sell in every post

You write a business blog and the purpose of the blog is to help you build your business. It’s essential to write posts, which promote your products or services, but you need to get the balance right.

In my experience, the vast majority of your posts should be designed to offer independent value to your reader. By independent value, I mean the reader should be able to get something useful from your posts, without having to buy something from you or hire you. I write just a few posts a year, which exclusively promote my marketing services. These are sometimes called conversion posts. All the hundreds of other posts are me offering independent value.

I’m not suggesting you write as few conversion posts as me, but remember that there’s a reason people skip the ads on their TV’s. They watch TV for the programs, not the commercials. Too many conversion posts and you’ll find it extremely hard to build a great readership.

N.B: One of the reasons I write so few posts that promote my marketing services, is that I include a small excerpt at the bottom of my posts. This has a link you can use, if you want to know how I can help you grow your business or build a successful blog. Readers know it’s there and can ignore it, until they want to find out more. It’s out of the way, until it’s needed.

7. Keep it human

If you want your readers to connect with you, you need to be approachable. The reader needs to know that if they email or call you, you will welcome them. This means humanizing the relationship between you and your readers.

Here are a few examples, based on what I do.

  • I respond to every comment, which needs a reply.
  • When I reply, I try and always include the name of the person who commented.
  • If I notice someone commenting here for the first time, I welcome them to the blog. And I genuinely mean it.
  • Everyone who reads this blog via email, can send me a personal email, by simply replying to it! Your reply goes direct to my inbox, so we can have a more private connection. If it isn’t spam, they get a response and they know I love to hear from them. Many readers exchange emails with me several times a week. It’s wonderful. I love hearing from you. If you’d like that deeper connection with me, you can get all future posts via email, for free, by subscribing here.

8. Never aim for perfect

If you do, you’ll seldom publish anything. The perfectionist mindset places the bar impossibly high. It tells us that we have to cover every point, counter every possible argument and do all this, in an engaging way. I’ve written thousands of blog posts and not only are none of them perfect, none of them would ever have been published had I been aiming for perfect.

That’s the thing about the perfectionist mindset. It stops us from even getting started.

Here’s what we know about your marketplace: None of them are expecting perfection from you. Not one. As I mentioned earlier, what people want is something that’s useful, something of value. Something they can quickly read and get at least one insight, answer or nugget of information from.

In closing

A business blog can either be a waste of time or an enormously valuable business asset, depending on what you do with it. I hope you find something here, which helps your blog join the latter of those two groups.

To your success!

Photo: Sean MacEntee

JOIN ME!

Jim Connolly

I help small business owners make massively more sales and boost their profits. To see how I can help you and your business, read this.
JOIN ME!

26 Comments

  1. Been following other photographers’ blogs for years, and just realized I need to be following other types of blogs as well: marketing, branding, social networking, etc. I found your blog and have subscribed to it in my Google Reader. Thank you for very sound advice. I look forward to all your future articles. Thank you!

    I loved this blog and the one about 3 business keys to success!

  2. I notice something that all of these points have in common. They are all about offering quality. Not SEO software. Not joining a tribe. It’s all about helping others with a human focus.

    Typical human approach to business from you, sir. You’re very generous for sharing this Jim, thank you.

  3. Hi Jim,

    Did you see this? Your blogs just been listed in the top 10 marketing blogs by B2C http://po.st/xfusC2

    Congrats!!!

    • Hey George. I noticed it earlier and was delighted to be included in such esteemed company.

      It was also a great day, as it turned out, to publish this post about developing a blog.

      Thanks for the congratulations, sir.

  4. When I read your blogs it feels like you care about your readers.

    Most other big marketing blogs I read make me feel like I’m being sold to all the time. That said they tend to sell software, where you ‘sell’ yourself.

    Thanks for all you do Jim.

  5. Jim- excellent points. it is all about adding value in the blogging experience to the readers. This builds trust and credibility. Following your blog now.

  6. Jonathan Smith

    October 25, 2012 at 19:54

    You sir, have made my life easy. My boss just dropped the bomb today that I have to head the Online Marketing Team. And I just found your blog- I count my blessings that I found your page.

    I have spent, I don’t know how many hours, reading your posts. And I feel like an expert on these topics. (I know that this is just the beginning, but I don’t want to kill the buzz).

    Thank for your posts. Keep it up.

    Regards,
    J. Smith

  7. Jim:

    Point #1 really hit home for me. I can never get momentum going because I always hit a brick wall as I run out of ideas to blog about. I suspect many business owners run into the same issue. Plus, business owners get so busy running their business that coming up with a unique, compelling blog post every day or even once a week can be a challenge.

    Travis Van Slooten

    • Hi Travis.

      I’d be curious to know how you think people like myself manage to blog regularly? I run a busy international marketing business, have a wife and son, who I spend lots of time with and a busy social life.

      I think it’s about priorities. I make sure to find time to blog and I do it even when things are not ‘perfect’.

      Other bloggers I know see blogging as a low priority activity. They see it as something to do, when there’s no REAL work to do. As a result, they never get momentum going and see no rewards. Their lack of rewards causes them to do even less, because they can’t get their head around the fact that blogging takes time and commitment, if you want to achieve anything of great value, from it.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      • That’s precisely my question…how do guys like you find the time? I personally can’t do it and I admire guys like you that can. Even if I made the time, I could never think of enough unique and compelling content to write about. After all, what could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said a thousand times by the gurus such as yourself?

        When I talk to my clients, they hardly have time to manage their own business let alone worry about their blog (not too mention most of them despise writing). There are multiple challenges in being a “good” blogger and all I’m saying is that while it sounds great on paper, it’s not always practical for business owners (which is why they outsource it often times).

        Travis Van Slooten

        • I’m amazed they find writing about their subject a couple of times a week so hard, when they talk all day about what they do.

          Thanks for the feedback, Travis.

  8. I sometimes find it hard to post more often because I want to make sure that I post articles that are almost near perfect (at least to my standards). But after I realized that blogging should be a fun activity, I try to let go little by little and do my best to just blog away instead of being crazy about aiming to publish a perfect post.

  9. When I started blogging, I thought it had to be perfect, but I learnt that it does not have to be perfect, because trying to be perfect only holds you back.. I try to post frequently and committed to blogging.. It is a long process to be good at it but I’m learning along the ways..

  10. Great post, Jim! Again. You are one of a very few people I stop what I am doing to read your blog posts. Always very valuable information and I just found you about a month ago. Thanks again for all your insights/wisdom, it has helped me tremendously.

  11. Hey Jim, Facebook just sent me to this blog. As I previously said, I am a newbie to blogging and this is a welcome lesson from the master.

    Thank you.

Comments are closed.