You know those business bloggers who never run out of innovative ideas, churn out a piece of content like it ain't no thang, and are always one step ahead of industry trends?
How annoying are they?
Well, the good news is you can be like them! That's right, you! All for the low, low price of reading this blog post!
I've coached a lot of bloggers and businesses looking to get started with blogging, and I can say with full confidence there are concrete habits and characteristics the most successful bloggers adopt that separate them from the ones that end up flailing and trailing behind their competitors.
Here's what I've found the best business bloggers do. Where do you have room for improvement?
What the Best Business Bloggers Do
1) They read stuff that has nothing to do with their job.
Variety is the spice of life! Want your blog posts to have a little more pizzazz? You need a variety of sources of inspiration for that to happen. The best writers read a lot -- and so do the best bloggers, in both quantity and variety of content.
Venture outside of your industry publications. Find a host of amazing content sources -- a great podcast, a great magazine, a great YouTube channel, a great bunch of websites -- and consume that content just because it's high-quality, innovative, and interesting. It'll help you improve skills like storytelling and story structuring, and give you ideas for new content formats to experiment with.
2) They aren't scared of writing.
There's no magic potion that makes blogging easier or faster. The only way to get to that point is to just write.
Seriously, just go write.
A lot of people are afraid of blogging -- so if this rings true, you're not alone. Maybe they're scared of doing new things that are outside of their typical job function. Maybe they don't fancy themselves good writers. And heck, maybe they're not ... yet, at least.
But every blog post you write makes the next one just a little bit easier. The more you blog, the easier it'll be. And before you know it, you'll have no fear of blogging, and writing a blog post will be one of the easiest (dare I say enjoyable?) parts of your job.
3) They write with empathy.
Empathy is a powerful skill for content creators. The best business bloggers use empathy to guide all of their editorial decisions. It helps them choose topics that'll address their audience's pain points and solve their problems. It helps them structure content in a way that will resonate with readers. It helps them phrase things in a way that leaves their audience open to hearing more from them (nuance is a powerful thing, you know).
Remember, in most cases, you are not your target audience. But if you blog with empathy, you'll have a hard time creating stuff that falls flat.
4) They take the right criticism.
One of the best things about blogging is having something to show for your work. There are plenty of jobs that can require hours of serious effort -- but all that you have to show for it is a calendar full of meetings. But when you blog? Look! You've created something!
The downside to creating something? It's there for someone -- anyone -- to critique. Now, some people will tear you apart no matter what. But you know what they say about those people:
Then you'll get some criticism that you should actually listen to. For instance, you'll hear that you left out an important part of the story or that your advice doesn't work for a significant segment of your target audience. Listen to these kinds of comments -- and learn from them.
Your criticism could take another form, too: total and utter silence. If your blogging is falling on deaf ears, it's a good sign your topic choices or execution are a bit off. Don't worry, though. Just revisit what you've written in the past that resonated and identify what people liked about it. Repeat more of that -- and keep listening to what your productive readers have to say.
5) They let themselves cut corners.
Not every blog post is the be-all, end-all of your marketing. That means you can write some really short posts once in a while, because you just don't have time for the lengthy, meaty thought leadership piece. Or maybe you don't have time to locate the best image of all time for a piece -- there's other important stuff to do.
Somewhere along the way, people got to thinking anything associated with business meant the requisite hiding of all personal quirks. No smiling. No personality. All briefcases.
Although you are doing business blogging, it doesn't mean you can't infuse personal elements in your content. In fact, the best business bloggers I see create posts that pack a hell of a lot of personality punch. My theory on why this works? People like people.
It's nice to feel like you're reading something from a person -- not a content farm or an encyclopedia entry. Have some fun, infuse your personality, and allow yourself to go "off-brand" for a bit. You might even find your blog becomes a good testing ground for new brand positioning.
What else do the best business bloggers you know have in common? Share their habits and personality traits in the comments!