Nix these errors and your blog will perform to its potential
You know that you need a blog for your business. It’s the number one long-term marketing tool available to you. I recently posted the six statistics that show why SMEs that publish business blogs are more successful. Here’s one more:
- According to HubSpot, businesses that prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their marketing efforts.
The best business blogs build leads, engage prospects, and develop customer loyalty. Unfortunately, business blogging isn’t easy. It takes time, planning, patience, and dedication. Sometimes results can take weeks or even months to become apparent. But when they do start coming through, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to put a business blog calendar in place.
However, owners of small and medium-sized businesses don’t often make the best bloggers. As an owner running a business, you’ve got a hundred and one other things to do. Committing time to researching, writing, publishing and promoting your blog soon falls down your list of priorities. When this happens, all the work you’ve done on your blog unravels very quickly.
In this article, you’ll learn the most common mistakes made by small and medium-sized business blogs. Avoid these, and your blog will be half-way to achieving its potential.
1) You publish uninformative blogposts
One of the 11 essential elements of a business blog is that you write posts that help your audience solve a problem or learn something new. They must have a point. Without knowing what you are writing about beforehand, your posts run the risk of becoming short, non-consequential flashes or long, dull rambling. (In an upcoming post, I’ll help you mind-map a blogging diary for your business, so that you never run out of ideas about what to write).
2) You post irregularly on your blog
Business blogs that post regular, informative content build readership loyalty. While small business owners can’t afford the time to pump out multiple blogs every day, they should aim for a consistent and steady flow. This might be one blog per month, one every fortnight, one a week, or daily. The point is that the reader’s thirst for new content must be satisfied, and a business should never let them down by neglecting their blog.
Again, a blog diary is imperative – I know what I’m blogging about for the next six months already. I work with some clients and help them produce blogging diaries that run for a whole calendar year. Do similar, and every blog you publish will have a point, and will help walk your target audience through the customer journey.
3) You write blogs with too broad a message
It’s easy to get carried away when writing about a subject that is a true passion of yours. But if you’re not careful, you will end up writing rambling posts that lose the reader’s attention. You must concentrate on a single point, and write to answer this and this only.
To help concentrate your writing, consider who your target audience is, and as you work through your blog diary write very specific working titles. Instead of writing about ‘How to do build a kit car’, write posts on very specific aspects of building a kit car. The potential audience for each blog is smaller, but of higher quality, and therefore more likely to generate leads.
4) Your blog posts are stream of consciousness rambles
OK, you’ve got a great idea for a blog post. You’re pumped up about getting your thoughts on paper, so you start writing. Then you publish, but the post doesn’t produce the hits you expected. What you’re guilty of is stream of consciousness writing. Not good for blogging.
You must use a specific blog type for all your posts, and make it easy for the reader to know what they are getting and to be able to scan. Post types include listicles, how-tos, step-by-steps, and so on. It’s all about structure and planning a post for maximum impact.
5) Your blog post is an advert for your business
Of course, every blog post you write should have a call to action, but if your posts are hard sell, you can wave goodbye to sales. People like to make buying decisions, not get sold to.
Make your business blog about showing and evidencing that you really know your onions. You are the expert in your niche. You’re happy to help others. Let your blog build your brand, rather than trying to force it upon your audience. Do this and you will build your authority, build trust, and create loyal customers.
6) Your blog is one huge expanse of unbroken text
A huge block of unbroken text scares people. If they had wanted to read a never-ending novel, they’d have bought a copy of ‘War and Peace’. Huge blocks of text encourage people to hit the back button. Pander to the natural human desire to scan and digest bite-sized pieces of information by:
- Splitting your content into smaller chunks
- Using plenty of subtitles that explain the content to come
- Use short sentences
- Use bullet pointed lists to break up large blocks of text
- Use images if appropriate (and always at least one)
7) You write and publish without editing
Once you’ve written your blog, don’t think it’s ready to publish. You’ll need to make sure it does what it says on the tin – or at least in the title! You should take a breather, and then read through your blog with the eyes of your target audience. Does it help them? Is it coherent? Does it have a structure? And a call to action?
Once satisfied with your blog, get it proofread. Nothing says more bad things about you than a carelessly written piece of content. Those spelling and grammar errors, incorrect links, and meaningless statistics tell the reader that you don’t really care – and if you don’t care about your blog, how can they expect you to care about them.
8) Your writing is as stiff as an over-starched shirt
A blog is neither an essay nor a term paper. Your blog needs to speak to your audience, exactly like you would were you standing in front of them. You must compel a reader to continue reading. Loosen up. Be a little humorous now and then. Write things that make people think. And nix the technical jargon and office buzz words.
9) You get disheartened by low traffic numbers
Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can’t expect an audience to be built in a single blog. Results take time, and continuity of effort. As your blog posts mature and you add more content, you’ll find the stream of blog visitors grows. This is because your blog:
- Becomes more visible to search engines (don’t forget those internal links!)
- Builds a roll of readers who want to read your stuff
- Helps to improve rankings
- Gets increasing numbers of shares on social media
An SME that blogs regular as clockwork once each week really can go from zero visitors to 4,000 new organic visits per month in a year. Each one of those visits is an opportunity to connect and create a customer.
Blogging is a long-term marketing strategy, and one that could pay huge dividends with an ROI that beats all other marketing strategies. Pay attention to the long-term returns, and not the immediate scores.
10) You don’t back up what you say with data
Hey, when you’re explaining something to a customer, which are they more likely to believe:
“A business that blogs will have a better ranking in search engines, so when you blog, your target market will find you easier”,
“A business that blogs will have a better ranking in search engines. In fact, according to research by TechClient, it has a 434% better chance of being ranked. So, when you blog, your target market will find you easier”?
Always back up what you write with evidence, otherwise your message loses impact.
11) Your blog isn’t growing your audience
Great – you’ve been blogging for a few months and your visitor numbers are starting to rocket. There’s only one problem: you haven’t added a single lead yet. You know there’s a couple of thousand new people every month who are interested in what you have to say, but then they never turn into leads. And without leads, you can’t convert to customers, right?
The real problem is that you aren’t using a call to action (CTA), or your CTA isn’t compelling enough. Growing your customer base starts with growing your email list. Sort your CTA out! (Another tip here is to create a landing page to which you can direct potential leads from your social media accounts.
12) You don’t promote your blogs through social media
Now that I’ve mentioned social media, it’s worth noting just how important it is becoming.
One of the best ways to promote your blog posts is to share them, and encourage others to share them. Google’s search engines take their time to find you. It can take weeks and months to start climbing up the rankings.
By sharing your blog content on social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – your blog will immediatel attract an audience. Push all your blogs through your social media accounts. It takes little effort to do so, and the return is most definitely worth it. My last blog post, just through posting to Facebook, spiked its audience by more than 800 views.
13) You haven’t optimised your website for mobile
Here’s a couple of stats you should take note of:
- According to socPub, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business whose website and blog isn’t optimised for viewing on a mobile device
- 88% of people who search for a local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours (Nectafy)
If your website and blog isn’t optimised for mobile, then you are missing a large slice of your potential customer cake. Oh, and let’s not forget that 80% of social media time is spent on mobiles (comScore), so you could be driving traffic from social media to your website, and then that new contact gives up because your blog is impossible to read on a mobile.
Make your blog the powerful marketing tool it should be
Your business blog could be the most powerful marketing tool you own. It can help position you and your business to be viewed as a subject authority, reach a wider audience, and grow leads at a pace unrivalled by other marketing strategies. But, if you make the blogging mistakes I’ve outlined in this blog post, all your efforts are likely to be wasted.
Take time to perfect your posts. Match your passion with your commitment. Nix the common mistakes and maximise the ROI from your blogging strategy. Check the posts you’ve previously published. How many of the above mistakes do they contain? Rewrite them to correct those mistakes, and republish them. The effort will be worth it as you move forward with a better targeted and more positive business blog.
Your hard work, effort, investment and commitment deserve to be rewarded. Get a head start on your competition. Email me today for your free copy of my eBook “How to Write Engaging Blog Posts and Grow Your Online Audience”. I’ll reply personally and attach my eBook for you.
Because quality content matters,