The art of the blog

The pressures of content marketing are driving more and more organizations to push out a steady, regular stream of consumable content on a near-real-time basis. Blogs are a handy way to do that. Yet while generating fresh material is important, there are risks in treating content (which is just a way of saying “good, valuable ideas written down”) purely as a commodity.

Here are some tips we’ve compiled developing blog content for our clients:

Only blog when you have something to say.
While it may seem that the most important thing about blogging is just having your voice out there in the mix, a flimsy blog will undermine your credibility. Saving your blogging for when you have something significant to share will boost the value of your content. Quality still counts.

Be strategic.
Think about the themes you want to explore through your blog program. For example, maybe your blog will focus on customer pain points or emerging trends. Choosing themes of value to your readers provides a compass to guide you as you write and publish.

Create an editorial plan.
Based on your strategic themes, map out a program of content entries for the coming quarter or six months. Don’t be rigid: the plan will no doubt change based on emerging topics and new opportunities. But having a roadmap makes it easier to be strategic about your content. It also gives you milestones to work toward, which means you’re likelier to post on a regular basis.

Organize your thoughts.
How many times have you reached the end of a blog and wondered what it was really about? Blogs may be informal but they still need structure and a point. A meandering blog will lose readers’ interest or, worse, make them doubt your authority on a topic.

Keep it concise.
On average, aim for 400 words per blog. If it’s a technically deep topic, go to 800. Keep it digestible for your readers. If you really want to explore something in depth, take the opportunity to sustain readers’ interest and split the subject across multiple blogs in a series.

Maintain momentum.
If you’re time or resource-crunched, get help — either to get a first batch of blogs “in the can” ahead of launch, or to bridge a gap when your internal team is occupied with other priorities. With help now and then you can keep the thought leadership flowing.