Writer, NPR commentator and Atlanta’s resident funny lady Hollis Gillespie has something to say about blogging. In her Shocking Real Life Blog Workshop, Hollis distills her years of experience cultivating an online presence in support of her career as an author and travel expert. I took a Sunday to learn from the best how to make a blog that gets results. (And in marketing we all know that “results” means “sales.”) Here’s what I learned:

1. Be yourself.

Some of the most successful blogs out there aren’t written by writers—they’re written by regular people who have something unique to say about a specific subject. Your thought leadership articles position you as an expert in your field, but what will truly set you apart is your company’s unique voice. Hollis recommends that you write like you talk. Authenticity is king when it comes to blogging, and the more you can put your company’s personality in every sentence, the more you’ll connect with your audience. And an engaged audience is a profitable audience.

2. Make yourself easy to find.

With the right combination of back-end keyword SEO, analysis of metrics, linking to other blogs and other articles in your blog, and SEO-friendly blog titles, your audience should have no problem finding you. Use keyword websites like Google Adwords and Keyword Tracker to help you find the right terms people use to search for you. Your SEO strategy is effective by itself, but works even better in conjunction with your social strategy. Link your blog to Facebook, Twitter and other relevant social sites, to increase your reach and your traffic.

3. Sell, baby, sell!

Whether you have an e-commerce site for a full line of products or you’re a scrappy startup with one item, make it easy for potential customers to give you their money by using the blog to sell, in addition to your main site. Even if your site is purely for lead generation, your blog is an opportunity to benefit your audience with educational e-books about your industry. Make the link to your sales site or lead generation item top-line prominent.

Blogging shouldn’t be a secondary thought or “nice to have” line item in your marketing strategy. Informational blogs written with your unique voice generate sales, build your web presence and position you as a leader in your industry. And thanks to Hollis and the Shocking Real Life Writing Academy, we can all be experts.