Handshake 2.0’s audience is those who lead companies – through position or initiative, from founders and CEOs, to agents, assistants, partners, vendors, evangelists and investors. Our content assists decision-makers.
To write a good business blog post, start with a strong first sentence, offer value in 300 words or fewer, write a final sentence that clicks home the beginning, link to 2-3 authoritative sources, add an image, done.
These are the fundamental characteristics of the writing we have found best engages Handshake’s business news audience – and gets read the most, gets shared the most, and gets the best results from search engines:
- Stories, articles, and essays – not press releases or pitches – written in fewer than 300 words or told in an image or video. (Here’s what 300 words looks like.)
- Content that both interests the mind and relates to human emotion. (If interested, see Frontal Cortex for why.)
- Specific details rather than generalizations or abstractions.
- A first-person narrative written from experience or expertise or a third-person informational piece. (Advisory pieces written to the reader as “you” can be perceived as lecturing by a superior to a subordinate – an approach that definitely does not build a “handshake” of rapport with the reader. Here’s a lengthy explanation about why not to use you should.)
- Links to 2-3 authoritative sources that support and corroborate points the writer makes.
- An image to accompany the text of the post that illustrates or symbolizes the content.
- Our “Anatomy of a Blog Post” infographic shows you what we mean.
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If you’re in a hurry, write a good blog post now. Writing great blog posts, like all skills, takes time and practice. To help you write great blog posts, here is information that expands and deepens the fundamentals above.
Here are the characteristics of an ideal blog post – an explanation, infographic, slide presentation, links to more pages and sources, the works.
First person, second person, third person?
To connect with a reader using social media – from a blog post, to a Facebook update, to a Twitter tweet – the first person “I” is highly preferred. Social media is social – if I show up, you’re more likely to show up! Reach-wise, it’s crucial. People are much more likely to share a personal story or a personal experience piece in their networks than an informational piece.
Some people are much more comfortable – and feel naturally more confident – sharing what they know rather than who they are. But here’s the fundamental concept of using social media for business: People do deals with people, not with what people know. The more writers can blend who they are with what they know, the more likely they are to connect with readers both personally and professionally.
Consider avoiding addressing the reader in second person as “you.” Readers often perceive this as a finger-wagging “you should” which feels parental rather than collegial and increases the distance the reader keeps from the writer.
A word about a series of posts
Since posts, .pdfs, and files of any kind are accessed one at a time through search engines and other means, writers can create a series of posts, but readers click away pretty much immediately when they read an announcement that it’s a series of posts because they want fast info. When they learn they have to read a whole series to get what they want, they leave.
The workaround is to write a series of posts, but to create each one as a stand-alone post. Philosophically, the writer knows he or she is writing a series of posts in a sustained narrative, but gives readers the one-of-a-kind, stand-alone experience they seek. For our clients, we put a link like this at the bottom of each post in the series:
Read more from Your Name on Site’s Name.
“Your Name on Site’s Name” will link to your column:
That’s how readers can access the series.
Each title in the series can be in this format: “Series Subject: Topic of the Post.” This invites search engines to appreciate your posts for the keywords for both your series and your posts. A viewer who likes what you say and how you say it can then click on your column for more.
- People search for solutions to problems. 9 of these top 10 posts offer solutions or answer questions.
- If the problem is persistent, the traffic to a problem-solving post will be persistent. 5 out of these 10 posts were written prior to this year – even prior to last year! They are “evergreen content” – of on-going service to others.
- A picture can be worth a thousand words – or a thousand hits. 2 out of the 10 posts use “show, don’t tell” to communicate their messages: they contain explanatory images and infographics.
If you would like to publish the content of your post elsewhere, for optimum search results for you on Handshake 2.0 and for you elsewhere, we ask you to wait at least 24 hours. Create a unique introduction to the piece so search engines won’t “think” you are trying to spam them with duplicate content, then add the post as an excerpt or in whole, and link to the original post.
Want more information or ideas? Please contact us.