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7 Ways to Engage Readers of a Business Blog

In this post Alyssa Gregory from avertua, LLC shares some tips for business bloggers wanting to become more engaging with readers.

People are busy, and in order to gain and keep readership as a blogger, you need to provide your readers with information that makes their lives better, easier, and less stressful. Business blogs are a unique case because the general subject matter tends to be a bit dry. It’s up to you as the blogger to overcome that obstacle and provide the business information you are offering in a quick and easily digestible way.

How do you do that? Here are seven ways you can engage readers of your business blog and keep them coming back.

1. Offer Advice

You’re likely blogging about business because you have business experience. One way to gain loyal readers is by sharing your knowledge and giving them practical information they can use in their own businesses. You can give your readers an instant benefit by avoiding abstract ideas and providing specific tips, advice and tools they can use right away.

2. Talk to the Audience

You’re already ahead of the game with this one, because the readers of your blog have interests that are common to yours, otherwise they wouldn’t be reading your blog. Get to know them by keeping an eye on comments, watching for trackbacks and listening to feedback in other forums. All of this input can be material you can use to make your posts resonate with your individual readers.

3. Share a Personal Story

Business is business and personal is personal, right? Not anymore. Today there is an increasing amount of overlap between the two, and people want to know a little more about the person behind the blog, beyond that they are an expert in business. So give a little of yourself to create a stronger relationship with your readers.

4. Go Off-Topic

Throw in an occasional post that’s not exactly business-related. If it bombs, it bombs and you know to go a different route next time. But if it is successful, you can insert some comic relief, mindless banter and maybe even a personal story as listed above to give your readers a brief change of pace.

5. Keep It Short and Sweet

You could probably write some very long posts when you’re discussing your latest business endeavor or what it took to have your website redesigned. If that much information is necessary, split it up into a multi-part series. Use lists, subheads and images to break up heavy content whenever possible.

6. Give Up the Wheel

Ask directed and specific questions at the end of your posts to encourage reader commentary. For every few posts where you provide advice, throw in a post that asks for the answer. Involving your readers will give them an opportunity to take an active role in your blog.

7. Give readers what they want

Carefully read the comments provided by your readers. They are invaluable because they allow you to tailor your posts to the information your readers are asking you to provide. Acknowledge the comments, answer the questions, and address the requests and you’re on your way to building great relationships with your readers.

What are some other ways you engage your readers when you’re blogging about subject matter that may not be the most exciting subject matter?

Alyssa Gregory is the owner of avertua, LLC, a full-service virtual assistant firm. She has been designing websites since 1995, and has a passion for supporting small businesses. Alyssa provides business tips, advice and news through her Small Business Idea Generator blog. Alyssa is also a regular contributor on SitePoint.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Ryan McLean says:

    I run an entrepreneurs blog (not exactly a business blog)
    But these are still really great tips that I can take and apply to my blog to make it bigger and better.
    I have almost 1,300 RSS subscribers and growing and I really like the point “Give Readers What They Want”

    Great advice for anyone with a blog

  2. Derek says:

    The information isn’t “new” but it is still relevant. And, do you know what’s funny? Most people don’t listen to these tips even though its the sure-fire method for building a successful blog.

    So, if you’re sitting at a blog with less than 5,000 RSS, take a look at this and make sure you’re using these tips. Great job Alyssa.

  3. Veereign says:

    Great Advice!

  4. Alyssa, I like your style because it is reader focused. Often, it seems bloggers fail to take notice because they’re worried about traffic, twitter or other online distractions, building a rapport with your readers is central and simply a must- stories will effectively enable us to do so. Thanks for sharing, bravo!

  5. Nice post. I especially support the suggestion about giving practical advice.

    So many well intentioned business blogs end up as general philosophising with an occasional rant thrown in!

  6. Brent says:

    Hi Darren,
    I run a marketing blog and it is new. You are correct, give the subscribers what they want.

    Brent

  7. Unoblogger says:

    Seriously… inspite of the fact that there can be so much achieved with business blogging, companies aren’t for it for some reason. The business executives have to read this gr8 article to understand the ways they can achieve market captivation….

  8. Great points. I’m following most of them.

    How’s this for a dull niche: an actuary sharing ideas, insights and best practices with advisors.

    Going off-topic with a personal story can be effective and lead to readers who find you through a search engine.

    I’m glad to give up the wheel, but have a challenge getting readers to leave comments. I rationalize that my niche consists of readers who are more interested in reading that writing (even when anonymous).

  9. Cyrus says:

    I agree that companies are starting to blog about them, their research. etc…

    And they are getting very targeted traffic and some not so related traffic to their main site as well.

    Since the birth of blogging, the internet has been a very different place now, we have to keep up or you will loss out.

    Cyrus Yung
    http://www.seoblogtheme.com

  10. blog4movie says:

    Nice and simple advices that some times are ignored by the bloggers.

  11. Christie says:

    Great advice! Most of the corporate blogs are sooooo boring. They fail to realize that blogging is about incorporating your personality into your writing. I would hate to work at a big behemoth with zero corporate personality.

  12. Rita says:

    I write a blog for baby boomer consumers at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide at http://boomersurvive-thriveguide.typepad.com.

    Although your article was written for business blogs, Many of the concepts apply.

    Another blogger gave me a valuable tip. Include photos with my posts. I try to have one in every post. It adds so much valuable interest.

    Also, thanks for the reminder about length. I’m a journalist so I think in 500-word articles, as you can see when you visit my blog. That’s long for a post.

    Rita

  13. Sean Supplee says:

    I run a traffic exchange blog where at first I was going to make it just about my traffic exchange. However since I started it up and learned more about blogging and the traffic it can deliver I have thus started to blog about different programs and internet marketing in general. The above will give me some other ideas to engage my readers and bring in more followers. Thanks for the advice!

  14. PaX says:

    Great tips.
    Really liked the tip #1 and 3 “Offer Advice” and “Share a Personal Story”.
    It gives readers in-depth knowledge for “how-to” stuffs.
    And my best business blog is QuickSprout.com by Neil.

  15. This is great advice and it has definitely worked for me! We have gotten lots of great feedback (great traffic too!) from implementing our blog (http://targetstars.blogspot.com). It was important for me to be able to have an outlet to share my personality while providing great information. Blogs are a great way for companies to develop relationships with their companies.

  16. Kaushik says:

    Great advice! My website is not business related; it’s about waking up from the world of fear and sadness, which affects almost everyone. What seems to work is to offer something useful in each post, write well (vary sentence length and structure; be succinct), and get out of the way!

  17. Tommy L. says:

    Well put, I intend to implement some of these tips. I manage and provide most of the content for my company’s blog since the new year, but I haven’t quite figured out my target audience or who I want to reach, for I can be somewhat random in my writing and go off on tangents for humor sake. We’re a creative shop/ad agency so I feel the need to exercise creativity through the blog as an outlet, but yet there has to be a level of professionalism to indeed keep it a “business blog” for clients causing me a bit of divide.

    So I guess my question to you is, how do you find your niche or audience as a business blog? Should you strictly gear towards potential clients or market? Or have a bigger reach?

    Tommy L.
    http://www.gettingspotted.com

  18. Team Nirvana says:

    Old Advices, but, Well said and which are to be followed religiously in order to get to know the heartbeat and pulse of the readers.

    An advice is what many of us would be giving away generously, but when these advices really turn the plates for some reader, then the expected work is half done.

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips.

  19. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the basic key building blocks that make up a blog successful. Always good to hear!

    Thanks Darrren! :)

  20. Some good tips here. Including concluding with questions and sharing personal stories.

  21. Dean Rodgers says:

    Great stuff. I still need to work on short and sweet. I totally agree about wandering off topic. I recently did a post about the branding impact caused by Michael Phelps when he got caught smoking pot. 95% humor 5% business.

    Care to guess which post keeps getting the most hits (even several weeks later)?

    http://koifishcommunications.com/blog/branding/trusty-omega-helps-phelps-know-when-its-420-0061/

  22. Anders Holm says:

    In a business blog, chances are pretty high that the blog will be run by someone in the marketing dept. The marketing dept. will certainly have some ideas of what to write about but the real gold mine of great blog content will come from the customer service dept.
    If you want a truly successful business blog all you have to do is survey your customer service dept on what problems they come across on a recurring basis.
    Take that information, and as marketers you should easily be able to flip the problems into useful information that your customers can use. Do this to cover the bulk of your content and you should have a blog that your customers will find useful and return to regularly.

  23. Great post. The part about getting a bit personal is very important. We need to know the ‘face’ behind the post.

    Thanks

  24. Clark Mackey says:

    Spot on advice that only sounds easy. If only more business blogs followed these guidelines!

  25. Thanks for sharing these tips. It may be a bit hard to inject some personal sharing into a business blog, but it’s worth a try to see if it works.

  26. Noobpreneur says:

    Hi Alyssa,

    Great tips – I always seek ways to improve my Noobpreneur biz blog’s readership, as well as the quality of each post.

    #7 is very true, as every time I blog on hot topic, such as recession, the blog post received much attention from Noobpreneur readers.

    Thanks for the insights!

  27. Clark Mackey says:

    Spot on advice that only sounds easy. If only more business blogs followed these guidelines!
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  28. Ching Ya says:

    Business blog shouldn’t get too formal, forget the old-styled rigid templates, people are more comfortable when knowing who are they dealing with. Speaking as a consumer, I’m glad that Alyssa puts alot of advise around communications, which is highly needed and valued. Pros are everywhere,
    only those who’re willing to communicate are appreciated the most.

    @wchingya
    Social Media/Blogging

  29. James says:

    The “Talk to the audience ” advice is very important when writing a blog. I also found the “Share a personal Story” idea interesting. This article will be very helpful to people writing blogs.

  30. Really admirable advice.

  31. Solomon says:

    Hi Darren,
    I liked the – share a personal story; go off the topic. Both are really alluring to a reader. The personal story is what gives the reader a real experience. The second one is surprising the reader or entertaining him/her with something amusing.
    A very useful post for me to gain confidence.
    Thank you so much!
    Solomon

  32. indiandigg says:

    Great post. The part about getting a bit personal is very important. We need to know the ‘face’ behind the post.

    Thanks

  33. Dean Saliba says:

    Very good advice.

    The part about being personal is good advice but don’t be ‘too personal’.

  34. Tommy L – I think a niche for a business blog is automatic. It’s what you know and are passionate about. My personal opinion is to avoid marketing to potential clients directly. Just provide quality information and aim to help others with your knowledge and it will have numerous positive “side-effects.”

  35. Simon says:

    Good, clear, simple advice, suprising just how many people overlook these simple steps. Picked up a few new tips as well – every day is a school day

  36. Agent 001 says:

    Offer Advice. Thats a field I am yet to touch. Thanks for Reminding me.

    5. Keep It Short and Sweet is called KISS formula isn’t it?

  37. These are excellent tips – I have had to learn how to infuse excitement and interest into a blog subject that could be rather boring.

    Thanks!

  38. Pat says:

    Excellent tips.

    This all appears to help create the personality and add a little spontaneity to the blog.

    I will try and implement these tips into my blog articles :-)

    Thanks!

  39. That is a pretty good list there of the must do’s for business bloggers. Business owners need to run a site in conjunction with their blogs.

  40. Personal stories are key. I am successful engaging my online community because I share my own personal stories. Stories touch emotions. Stories jump start memories that may have otherwise been lost forever. If you want people to start talking, tell them a story. Also, I can’t help but echo the idea of providing useful information and ADVICE. I wrote about two financial planners in a chapter of my book “18 Rules of Community Engagement” who told me they were very good at face-to-face networking but had not yet tapped into online networking. I convinced them that they were missing out on huge opportunities particularly given the current economic client. I likened offering their expertise to giving people water during a drought. This is not rocket science, and I am so glad to see this type of post illustrating that fact.

  41. Thanks for the tips, Alyssa. It’s always very helpful to share a personal story in your blog; I believe that it helps your readers get to know a part of you, instead of being another accident lawyer that is merely blogging for internet traffic.

    Here’s a short blog I wrote about smoking and how it relates to car drivers. It’s an issue that I feel very passionately about.

    http://www.seriousaccidents.com/accident-blog/miscellaneous/smoking-from-the-view-of-a-car-accident-lawyer/

    Thanks again,

    Mike Pines
    http://www.SeriousAccidents.com/

  42. Joel says:

    Came across your blog recently and saw this article. What a great list, very informative……definitely will bookmark this site to use in the future.

  43. Excellent post, and really sound advice!

  44. Lena says:

    Yes excellent advice, not new but very valuable.
    Also, if you manage to engage readers – keep going.
    Plan where you want to be in a years time, difficult to change voice of a blog all of a sudden.

  45. That is a pretty good list there of the must do’s for business bloggers. Business owners need to run a site in conjunction with their blogs.

  46. Excellent post, and really sound advice!

  47. Very nice post with useful advices. However, as the most of similar posts, this one doesn’t provide any recommendation to new blogs that don’t have many visitors yet.

  48. Home Jobs says:

    Great Tips Darren, We see most of the business these days have business blogs. They use this as a tool to communicate with customers, tell more about the company, corporate news, etc.

  49. jessica says:

    Dear Webmaster,
    I could not bookmark this post. Is there a way i can bookmark this post?
    I need to preserve this post coz i find it very useful for me :-)
    Do reply here

  50. This is a great list. I think asking questions is also a great way of engaging your users.
    The key is to ask open ended questions while putting your suggestions in and leaving most part to the user.

    Just a thought!