ComPRehension

Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
August 5, 2011

Polish Your Posts: Three Ways to Improve Your Blog Copy


“Blahger: A blogger whose message primarily consists of blah-blah-blah.”
—BuzzWhack.com

Nobody wants to be a blahger.  But too many blogs aren’t worth their pixels. Here are three ways to make your next post more relevant, interesting and accessible to your followers:

1.  Deliver value.

Your followers don’t care about your organization’s stuff. They care about themselves. So why not write about what the reader cares about?

  • Focus on the customer, not on the company. Don’t let your posts sound like a series of press releases. Instead, ask, “What problems can I solve? What expertise can I share? What issues can I weigh in on?” In social media, education is marketing.
  • Think of your company as a publisher. “Blog like you’re the best trade magazine in your industry,” suggests Kipp Bodnar, inbound marketing manager at Hubspot.
  • Promote resources, not products and services. Think about white papers, studies, webinars and conference speeches.

The good news: Offering tips and techniques that serve your customers also helps you position your organization as the expert in the field.

Repeat after me: “The topic isn’t the topic. The reader is the topic.”

2.  Have a voice.

A blog, theoretically, is a personal journal. So have a personality. A real person’s personality, not a PR department’s personality.

“Talk as yourself, not about yourself,” counsels Dan Zarrella, viral marketing scientist at HubSpot.

Having trouble? Take the “Hey, did you hear?” test. Say, “Hey, did you hear?” then read your post aloud.

If your copy sounds as if it could reasonably follow that conversational intro, you pass. If it sounds like the teacher in a Charlie Brown cartoon — “wah wah wah wah” — keep working.

3.  Think visually.

Look at your blog post. Squint. What do you see?

Don’t ask your readers to wade through a river of gray text. Lift your ideas off of the screen and make your copy look more accessible. Break your post up with display copy — subheads, bullets, bold-faced lead-ins, links and highlighted key words.

It’s always important to make your copy scannable — whatever your medium, channel or vehicle. But when it comes to your blog post, it’s essential. Because you know what your readers were looking at before they arrived at your post, right?

Twitter.

This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of Public Relations Tactics.

Ann Wylie, president of Wylie Communications, Inc.,  works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. To learn more about her training, consulting or writing and editing services, contact her at ann@WylieComm.com.

Want more tips for making your posts, tweets and status updates more interesting, relevant and accessible to readers? Join Ann Wylie at the 2011 PRSA International Conference Pre-Conference session, Writing for Social Media.

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