Every business needs a blog. Here are five blog writing tips from some of the world’s most thoughtful content designers and strategists, speaking last week at the Utterly Content conference.

By blog, I mean a place on your website where you post news and regularly update content. A blog is great for search engine optimisation (SEO). And the perfect way to ensure visitors have the latest information about you and what you offer.

Here are five tips to help you create and write a better business blog.

1. Focus on your purpose

We have an issue with “marketing myopia”, says Omneya Nabil (in the panel pictured – bottom centre). All content produced by companies tends to reflect what the companies feel they should communicate, she says. The customer is never in the formula. But it’s important to think about your purpose as a business. What do you really have to offer? Why are you here? What do you care about? Today, consumers want companies to be honest and transparent, rather than just trying to sell without any real added value.

2. Write user stories

Always start with research, says Sarah Richards at Content Design London. User stories and job stories will help you understand your readers and potential customers better. Here’s how to write them. You can run your whole organisation from one set of user or job stories, says Sarah. She uses an “80:20 strategy” where 80 per cent of content comes from one set of stories, and 20 per cent is reactive (responding to a news story or issue of the day).

3. Create a guide hub

A guide hub is a bank of awareness content that gives advice to customers, says Lucy Dodds at Evolved Search. Awareness content is for people who already know your brand: they know who you are, but need more information about what you do. Lucy gives the example of Money Supermarket’s Money Made Easy. The conversion rate for guide hub pages may be low but it’s all about building your expertise, authority and trust (the E-A-T metric favoured by Google). Lucy recommends SEMrush to find what people are searching for around your key words. Then use these search terms to create your guide hub pages.

4. Build partnerships

If you’re in a team of one, look outside for people to reflect with, says Richard Prowse at the University of Bath. Even if you’re in a larger team or department, but you can’t find a soulmate internally, look outside for a sounding board, someone to bounce ideas off. Find a community of practice to discuss your content ideas with. Richard recommends using Slack as a starting point. (Here’s a good article on how to find public Slack channels that might be relevant to you).

5. Slow down

Faster isn’t always better, says Julius Honnor of Contentious. A lot of the time fast is good, eg, when people come to a website looking for information, but there’s plenty to be learned from slowing down. Julius draws parallels with the Slow Food movement: slow content is about making the space for ideas, thinking and conversations. It’s not transactional content. And it’s not content marketing. Slow content can have a bigger, deeper purpose. Julius gives the example of Patagonia as a company producing great slow content. See Julius’s 10 pillars of slow content for more details.

About Utterly Content

I hope you like these blog writing tips for businesses. I’ve compiled them for myself, from sessions that weren’t specifically about blogging. Of course, they work across all business content, but your blog is a great starting point.

Utterly Content is a new global online festival for content strategists, content marketers, content designers and UX professionals. You can still access the talks and workshops here. I absolutely loved the festival. And I’ll probably blog a bit more about it. 🙂

Photo: Utterly Content panel with Omneya Nabil (bottom row, centre).

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