By Tracy Gold published October 11, 2011

What Makes a Good Blog Post: 10 Tips for Corporate Bloggers

Uh oh,” you may be thinking. “The marketing department is talking about that whole blogging thing again. Last time we did this, it was a disaster. Worse, no one seemed to like my posts.”

Yikes! Stop right there! And think again!

Yes, a lot of corporate blogs are awful. But neither your company’s blog nor the posts you contribute to should bear a sense of impending doom. At Right Source, we spend a lot of time helping clients manage their blogs. This involves bringing together subject matter experts, sales reps, marketing employees, and executives — many of whom have unique ideas but have never written a blog post.

One of the first questions we get from new bloggers is, “What makes a good blog post?”  As we answer, the doom drifts out of the room and is replaced by the glowing light of nurturing leads and increasing sales. Cha-ching!

We thought we’d share our answer with our readers here. 

1. Good blog posts speak to a target audience.

Figure out who is buying what you’re selling and write for them. If your company specializes in building mobile applications, you’re likely selling to executives and marketing departments, not mobile app developers. Your own developers can still write content for your blog, but they should keep content way less technical than it would be if they were writing to their peers.

2. Good blog posts speak to the same audience the whole time.

It would be nice for marketers if every business had just one audience to reach, but that’s not realistic. Take the mobile app company again. Sometimes they sell to marketing, sometimes they sell to IT. They also use content as a recruiting tool, so sometimes their developers really are writing to their peers.

Addressing all of these audiences doesn’t make for the most consistent blog as a whole, but as long as you keep each post consistent from start to stop, you’re ok. For example, it’s not a good idea to start a post with a novice question and then give a very technical answer. Let your readers know what they’re getting into.

3. Good blog posts are about 400-1,000 words.

Blog posts should be easily digestible during a coffee break.  Readers will give up if they need to scroll down endlessly.  If you’re getting upwards of 1,000 words, consider breaking your post into two parts, or tightening up your ideas and language.  I chopped off about 400 words to make the final version of this post and it’s better for it.

4. Good blog posts are quick and easy to read.

Just because something is short doesn’t mean it’s easy to read. Make posts easy to skim by cutting content up into sections and lists. In fact, I’ll bet most people reading this post will simply skim the bolded description for each point, and read the explanations for the points they don’t understand. If I’m wrong and you’re reading every point word for word, prove it with a comment.

5. Good blog posts say something interesting and useful.

It’s OK to write a blog post about a quick thought, but make sure it’s a whole thought, not half of one and half of another. Would what you’re writing change the way your reader thinks about an issue? Spur an idea? Be worth emailing to a coworker? If not, you’ve got work to do.

Note: Old news to you might be useful to your readers. Last year, I wrote a post on How to Use Twitter for Beginners. Simple, but readers liked it (as shown by the comments), and we often send it to prospective clients who are Twitter newbies.

6. Good blog posts don’t have to be works of art.

You probably won’t win a Pulitzer Prize and that’s ok.  As long as your posts are useful, readers will come back for more.

7. Good blog posts show, not tell.

Don’t tell readers your company is awesome; write great content so readers are the ones who say your company is awesome. Use concrete, specific language and examples to build trust with your readers.

8. Good blog posts have a compelling title and lead paragraph.

Make your readers want to read your post right away.  But don’t promise something with your title and intro that you don’t deliver.  Here are 5 tips to improve your headline click-through rate.

9. Good blog posts are SEO optimized.

OK, I just told you to have a compelling title, but especially with titles, you need to strike a balance between catchiness and SEO. Scott Paley explains this with a story over at Abstract Edge. Don’t flood readers with keywords, but do pay attention to the basics such as pretty URLS (#2 here) and meta descriptions.

10. Good blog posts include a call to action.

Even if it’s just a call to comment or connect on Twitter, blog posts should end with something that moves readers to a next step. Do not, however, ask people to buy something at the end of a post. Hard sells in blog posts will lose your readers’ trust.

Well, there are my top 10 qualifiers for a good blog post. Please feel free to add your own tips and questions in the comments. And then get blogging!

Author: Tracy Gold

Tracy Gold is a Marketing and Content Associate at Right Source Marketing, a content marketing and marketing strategy firm. Please don’t hesitate to drop Tracy a comment on this post, and for more like this, follow me on Twitter @tracycgold or check out the Marketing Trenches blog. For a full take on content marketing best practices from the Right Source Marketing team, check out our webinar on magnetizing your content.

Other posts by Tracy Gold

  • http://twitter.com/McTeags Meagen Ryan

    I read the whole thing from start to finish–well done! I might add that good blog posts sound like they’re written by a real person. They’re not short white papers. They demonstrate the writer’s personality, no matter how sophisticated the topic.

    • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

      Well, you proved me wrong with a comment! Flattered. That’s a great point–personality is clutch. Blog posts shouldn’t look like short white papers, or something I see all the time–regurgitated press releases. 

      • http://twitter.com/annkmeany Ann Meany

        It can’t be said enough: disguised press releases often don’t make for compelling content. However, in the hands of the right writer, (and with your tips in mind) they can be transformed into an interesting blog post.
        Thanks for a good list!

        • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

          Ann, totally true in many cases. When press releases simply can not be made compelling, though, and there’s a lot of them, it makes sense to split things up into a “news” section and a “blog” section. Your blog’s readers might not care what your earnings look like this quarter but it’s still important to post. Thanks for coming by and reading!

  • http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog Mandy Kilinskis

    I also read your post from start to finish! As a corporate blogger (Oh hey, your target audience!), I’m always looking for tips on how to make my blog posts better. I definitely agree with Meagen’s comment about writing with personality, and I’d like to expand that by saying not to take yourself too seriously. Make your blog posts fun! Throw in a joke! Write about how your topic relates to a popular TV show. You can bring in more readers just by voice and allusions alone!

    I would also like to comment on how true tip 4 is. My most-shared blogs are ones that I have cut up into sections to make points more digestible. It’s also a nice break for your eyes. 

    • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

      Thanks Mandy – as more than a few of my posts involve Jedi knights and Dumbledore, I’m right with you. Sadly no geeky references in this one, my bad! Harnessing pop culture is clutch..or at least that’s what I tell my boss when he sees me snooping around on YouTube when I’m supposed to be writing a blog post! Seriously though, you can find inspiration and flavor in the strangest places, and it’s all a legitimate part of the idea generation process. 

      Thanks again for coming by, reading, and commenting!

  • Ann Naumann

    And I would add — good blog posts make smart use of subheads and short paragraphs, which yours certainly did!

    • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

      Thanks Ann!

  • http://twitter.com/CopywriterNE Katherine Wildman

    *Hands up* I read every word. Thanks Tracy – a great ‘easy to digest’ post full of valuable information

    • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

      Thanks Katherine! Glad to be helpful. And yes, you proved me wrong in point 4.

  • Scott Frangos

    Excellent tips — thanks. What do you think of “PR” style blog posts?

    • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

      Scott–Thanks for coming by and reading! We’ve actually got a mini comment thread going on (starting with Meagen Ryan) about the PR post thing. Reposting press releases word for word is a bad idea, as those are normally way more formal than what people are used to reading on a blog. Either a recap of or color commentary on the press release should be posted on the blog, or a separate section of the website should be dedicated to news. 

      For other PR type posts, for example JetBlue’s response to the whole “take two beers and jump” situation (http://bit.ly/mXTCaH), the blog can be a useful communication tool. In fact, if something like that happens and you don’t talk about it on your blog, you’re in trouble. Still, the posts should be as consistent as possible–if you have individual authors post normally, a PR type post shouldn’t suddenly come from “the brand.” 

      What do you think?

  • Msw

    I did read them all because my office is doing a program in November on blogs.  Thanks for the insightful tips

    • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

      Thanks! Good luck, and feel free to share this with reluctant coworkers. Or just keep it to yourself so you can be more awesome than them. ;)

  • http://blog.openviewpartners.com/blog/the-open-marketer Amanda Maksymiw (@amandamaks)

    Tracy,

    Thanks for sharing these tips.  I am going to share this post with our bloggers that have had some trouble committing to a regular schedule!

    • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

      Thanks for reading Amanda! Tell me about that fear of commitment with blogging. You’d think there was a ring involved or something. 

  • Jeff

    Thanks for this post – enjoyed it.  I read every word of the posts that interest me, are well written, and actually supply worthwhile information.  And that leave the link back to my own site in my response.  So far, you’ve met 3 out of 4….  http://www.danielleadams.com  Jeffrey Dobkin

  • Norys Trevino

    Great post and when the content is interesting I read the whole post and when it is just OK I skim. Thanks for the great post!

    • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

      Thanks for coming by Norys! I do the same thing, especially if the content in one section is more relevant to my situation than another. 

  • Anonymous

    This thought is a really good explanation of show don’t tell:
    Don’t tell readers your company is awesome; write great content so readers are the ones who say your company is awesome. Use concrete, specific language and examples to build trust with your readers.

    Sometimes that’s a hard concept to explain to someone whose main thing is not writing.

    I also read all the way through, as like someone else mentioned, if a post is something I’m interested in in the first place, and it keeps my attention, I slow down from scanning to actually read thoroughly.

    • http://www.marketingtrenches.com Tracy Gold

      Thanks Cheryl! Yes “Show Don’t Tell” can be quite hard to get through! I’m glad my explanation helped, but sometimes it does just take consistent editing and post feedback. 

      Glad you read all the way through–honored!

  • http://twitter.com/TalentAnalytics Talent Analytics

    Good post – read every word.

  • http://twitter.com/TalentAnalytics Talent Analytics

    Good post, I read every word (here’s my comment).

  • http://sagoyism.com/ Josh Sarz

    I love you show don’t tell concept. A lot of people spit out advice but never give examples that people work on. I used to do it, but I found that it looks ugly and pathetic. I’ve seen the content marketing light.

  • Andersonsteve321

    With a global audience it’s never a good idea to only use sophisticated words not everyone may know. Some of your readers may speak English only as second language. They may want to learn new words, but it shouldn’t come at the price of missing your post’s point. (If you only speak English as second language to begin with, following this rule might be much easier.)

  • http://www.whiteazalea.com/18-prom long prom dresses

    It is a very interesting post!

  • http://www.theuniuni.com/ Payton_vege

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

  • http://www.virtual-force.com/services/custom-development Custom Application Development

    Content is most important factor one have to consider it and quality content will ease the work.

  • http://alterisgroup.com/ Alteris

    “Don’t tell readers your company is awesome; write great content so readers are the ones who say your company is awesome. Use concrete, specific language and examples to build trust with your readers.” 
    This is so true, but hard to pull off when you’re used to writing marketing copy. I try to go over every blog post when I’m finished and take out anything that sounds like a commercial.

  • ALex

    I am new to the blogging world, ( my blog is about the PS Vita   http://vivavitagames.wordpress.com/ )  but need advice on whats good and bad since this is all new to me

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Morgan/100003847050278 Anthony Morgan

    With so many ways given to proofread your work and additional tips on what to look out for, there is no reason for you to continue publishing posts filled with typos and grammatical and spelling errors. This is also a good time to brush up on your English if you aren’t able to tell comma from coma and spell grammar as grammer
    .

    http://www.addvalue.com.au

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Morgan/100003847050278 Anthony Morgan

    After spending hours at your desks drafting a post, don’t you think your mind would be so exhausted to go through the text again to spot errors? You might even be eager to just publish the post and get over it once and for all. Stay calm and take a break just before doing a proofread. Step away from your desk, grab a drink and come back with a fresher mind. You’d feel ready to tackle the piece for one last time 
    and be able to spot mistakes better. This is what I usually do after writing a long web hosting article. I would be tired that I usually take a break and come back to proofread it later.

    http://www.addvalue.com.au

  • http://www.grdc.com.au/linkdirect.cfm?targeturl=http://www.articleteller.com.au article writer

    I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. This article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to take a note of your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  • http://www.shorlevin.com/ shorlevin

    I’ve been like this scenario too. Stressful days making blogs and it won’t work after I post, no one should like the post. I’m more than happy to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it and i also have you book marked to look at new stuff in your site.

  • santosh mishra

    Blogging is good for anyone, who is looking a job for him/her. One can earn decent income from writing unique content for blogs.

  • esosa_e

    I have to start a blog for my ‘digital communications and media relations’ module at uni and I read every word. thanks, This helped :)

  • http://studyworldglobal.com/ Online Training

    Fascinating stuff. Well sequenced

    Thanks Tracy.

  • Liz

    I was tempted to just read the bold headlines, but I managed to read the whole thing. Yay me! Yay attention span! As a video editor I was taught that the average person has an attention span of 3 seconds so you have to make the edits happen quick and not let things draw out. Great article.

  • http://twitter.com/lutfiaditya93 Lutfi Aditya F.

    your post is really good and i want to practice in my blog.
    thanks for your post about What Makes a Good Blog Post …!!

  • http://twitter.com/Prof_Surveyor PSM

    I read every word – almost always do.

  • http://www.cloudstaff.com/ Thelma Case

    These are indeed great tips for corporate bloggers. The strategies are surely effective. Thanks for sharing.

  • alikozen

    I am very pleased with your article and continue to make new articles again
    greetings from my Obat Penggemuk Badan
    thank you

  • capitalstars

    Navratri Special Offer!!!
    Buy 1 Get 1 Free
    for all services!!!!!!!!!
    Click Here capitalstars.com

  • capitalstars

    Get free services with 2 days free trial
    You can get accurate and profitable
    trading tips and gain a more and more profit.

  • Felix Brown

    Great information for creation new blog it’s very good tips for blog
    marketing. This blog very helpful for me because i also creating blog.