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16 Dec 2016

Says Who?! Why Objectivity is Important for Your Business Blog

Blog content is a great way to establish credibility for your company’s website while simultaneously increasing brand awareness and improving ROI. Research shows that a large percentage of blog readers, roughly 74%, trust content that appears objective when educating readers about particular topics—these visitors are far more likely to become future customers.

For blog content to be effective, it must at the very least:

  • Maintain a reader’s interest
  • Provide useful information in an engaging manner
  • Avoid overt self-promotion

While company bloggers may mention one or two of their organization’s products in a manner that makes sense within the context of a blog article, too much self-promotion can irritate readers who were expecting a more objective piece. A more successful approach is to develop blog content based on what site visitors actually want to see. By providing an objective learning experience rather than an advertisement, blog content will naturally drive readers to explore your company’s website and the valuable products and/or services on offer.

In this article, I provide some helpful tips for maintaining objectivity in blog writing in order to reap the benefits of a company blog.

Corroborate Your Sources

According to a recent Kentico survey, 57% of persons reading your blog content will want to corroborate the information provided. In fact, they’ll find your data more credible when you verify it by naming your sources—either by including a list of sources at the end of the article or by linking directly to those sources. Visitors to your company’s blog recognize that your primary goal is to drum up business for your organization, and they’re thus likely to take unsubstantiated information with a grain of salt.

Corroborating your sources can demonstrate to your readers that, while still aiming to grow your audience, your blog is a legitimate source of information regarding the topic of focus—whether it’s puppy training, fly fishing, or business branding. By developing this reputation, you’ll ensure that readers continuously return to your blog as a source of insightful and engaging content.

Remember that it’s important to strike a balance between being informative and being overly fact- or research-heavy—after all, you don’t want to bore them, but rather get them excited about the topic and boost their confidence in your (or your organization’s) expertise!

Plus, if they view your content as trustworthy, visitors are far more likely to share your material with friends and family.

Maintain a Friendly, Informative Tone

Think about a time when you wasted your time online reading a terribly technical troubleshooting article. These informational guides are notorious for offering too much detail, often coming off as condescending to readers who know computing basics (i.e., that the computer must be turned on in order to work). Too often, when trying to appear authoritative and knowledgeable, business bloggers sound like they’re talking down to readers by blatantly minimizing the intelligence or tech savvy of the general public.

To avoid offending your readers, try to develop a tone that suggests that you’re offering friendly advice—that you’ve been in their position and you have some helpful tips to share. Use phrases such as “we’ve all been there” or “we all know how difficult X can be.” It can even help to offer an example of a time when you made a common mistake or believed a common misconception. Just avoid being overly familiar or presumptuous—again, it’s all about striking the right balance.

Consider Other Perspectives

Does everyone in your industry agree with the viewpoint that you’re presenting to your readers? If you’re writing about a topic on which there are a wide range of opinions and perspectives, especially ones that disagree with your own, make sure to address this so that it doesn’t become the big elephant in the room, so to speak. Readers can easily become turned off by blog articles that ignore their perspectives altogether or are obviously one-sided. An article that considers varying opinions and politely argues against them will garner more respect from visitors.

For example, a recent article in The Atlantic considers how the idea of decluttering can be a complicated and deeply political issue. While most bloggers would likely be comfortable telling readers to throw out/donate clothing that is out of style or that doesn’t fit, writer Arielle Bernstein notes that for the children of immigrant and refugee families, this topic can be particularly emotional. Those who have historically been without certain necessities often try to fill that previous gap by holding onto things that others might easily discard.

Remember a few years ago when the U.S. Congress deemed pizza a vegetable? Even things that seem relatively neutral can be extremely important to certain groups. Make sure to consider whether or not another significant perspective exists on the information that you’re presenting and, if so, at least acknowledge that this perspective is out there. You may even want to offer a persuasive yet respectful counterargument, which can successfully sway readers to your way of thinking.

Avoid Writing Advertisements

Most blog readers are savvy enough to know when an article is actually an advertisement masquerading as an objective source. For example, if readers visit your site expecting to read an article on the importance of staging one’s home while it’s on the market but instead get an article that explains exactly why they should choose your business for staging, they’ll be much less likely to hire you.

Instead, by convincing readers that businesses such as yours fulfill an essential and useful purpose, they’ll be convinced of the value in what you’re offering and will think of your organization when they need that product or service. They’re already on your website, after all, and over time they’ll come to appreciate the fact that your business provides them with useful and free advice. This often subconscious gratitude can easily translate into business down the line.

Increase Shareability

Any blogger’s goal is for people to engage with their posts, right? The more your reader enjoys your content, the more likely they are to share it with friends. This shareability factor requires that a blog post be viewable as a single entry on a single page in order to linke directly to it. This might not be the first thing on our minds when developing our websites or blogs, but changing the format is generally pretty simple—your web developer can help you make the switch.

To make it as simple as possible for people to share your article, it’s important to have social media links accessible from each blog post (for example, our social media buttons appear at the bottom of our blog posts). That way, visitors can share your article on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter with just the click of a button.

Shareability also implies having content that is worth sharing. That means making your content informational, respectful, entertaining, and visually appealing all at the same time (which is no simple task!). Avoid overly long paragraphs that are difficult to read on a monitor and choose meaningful, high resolution visuals that complement your content.

And, it goes without saying, don’t forget to proofread!

Managing all of these variables when writing an article for a company blog can be challenging—even though I write these articles all the time, we all need a reminder every once in a while not to openly advertise or over-explain concepts when blogging! A successful blog practice, however, is invaluable in terms of the traffic it brings to your website and the eventual business it will draw to your organization.

Invest in developing exceptional content and delivering great writing and you’ll see your business begin to thrive!

Keep Writing,

Katrina Oko-Odoi
Founder & Chief Editor

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