Should You Be Formal On A Business Blog?

When it comes to blogging in any capacity, there are no set rules.  You’ll of course find advice and guidance if you want it, but because blogging is such a versatile resource, it can generally be utilised in most ways.

The problem is that a lot of the time, understanding what should be done to see the most results can be confusing.

And for business blogs, a perfect example of the potential confusion comes when you look at the approach you take when communicating with your target audience.

A blog is a social platform.  When blogs first started, they were online diaries where people could publish their thoughts to the world; platforms that allowed people to express their thoughts.  Whether the writing was grammatically perfect or not, people enjoyed reading through the regular updates, often inspired to create their own blog.

When we fast-forward at least a decade, blogging has changed quite considerably in a variety of ways, but the basic principle of providing content on a regular basis to a ready and waiting audience is still there – and it’s still done so in a social way.

As organisations first become aware of this, they often think one of two things – the social approach isn’t going to work for them so they won’t blog at all or they’ll ignore the social aspect and write in the formal style that they want to.

In some instances, this might work.  As there are no set rules for blogging, it’s likely that occasionally, producing formal content and publishing it on your blog will work.  People will visit, they’ll read the content and they’ll enjoy it.  They’ll engage and they’ll share.

But in many other instances, the effect will be anything but positive.

And the reason behind this is a formal approach to blogging detracts from the most basic focus of using a blog – to communicate with your target audience on a social level.

People don’t want to be sold to, nor do they want to be spoken to.  They don’t want to feel as though reading the content you produce is a chore or that they have to do something as a result of reading it.

They want content they feel comfortable reading, content that they can engage with and respond to.  The blog posts need to be produced on a level that makes a reader want to read it and return time and time again to read more in the future.

This doesn’t mean the blog post can’t be about a more formal, business topic, such as a research study or an annual report.  What it does mean is that you should be able to differentiate between content that is suitable for a social audience and content that’s produced for other professional situations, such as presentations, e-mail campaigns or sales pages.

It’s often underestimated how complex it can be creating an effective blog post.  Finding that professional, business voice that suits your audience without being overly formal or conversely, overly social can be difficult.  It can take time and perseverance.

The most important thing you shouldn’t do, however, is to make a decision on the type of content you’re going to produce before you’ve even analysed your audience or taken into consideration the various approaches available.  A formal voice may work in some situations, but it needs to be understood that for blogging, it’s not the norm.

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