Use your blog to its full potential, and you’ll find your website getting more traffic, your customers interacting with you more, and your business getting more sales.
But if you blog the wrong way, you won’t only miss out on all those benefits – you could actually hurt your brand and repel your ideal customers!
That’s because a blog is a huge part of your brand. It gives your company an opportunity to establish a unique voice that helps you stand out from your competitors.
But with that opportunity comes risk, because if you don’t establish a unique voice and put effort into creating content that is relevant and helpful to your audience, you might as well not blog at all.
That being said, don’t give up on your blog just because you aren’t seeing the results you want from it yet. It takes a lot of effort and time to nail down and implement an effective blogging strategy.
Check out the following mistakes, see which ones you’re making, and use what you learn from the advice here to improve your business blog.
1. Using your blog to share company news
Lots of businesses – especially in the B2B world – use their blog to share company news. To put it bluntly, that strategy doesn’t make sense at all, and it doesn’t help them build a following.
Because potential customers don’t care about company news. They care about reading content that will help them solve their problems. And company news doesn’t do that.
So, stop sharing company news and start giving your audience more of what they want – actionable, insightful content that will help them achieve their business goals quicker.
2. Stuffing blog posts with SEO key words
Over-optimizing blog posts by stuffing them with key words used to be an effective SEO strategy, but not anymore. Google now penalizes content that is stuffed with key words.
That’s why you need to focus more on content marketing as a whole – not just SEO. You should still use key words in your blog post content, titles, and URLs, but never add so many that it’s obvious you stuffed your content with key words.
If you do, both Google and your target audience will disapprove of your content.
3. Being overly corporate and formal
Let’s be honest – lots of business blogs read like they were written by a pretentious technical writing professor.
This is a major problem because people don’t enjoy reading bland content. They want to learn something useful while feeling connected to the writer, and you won’t connect to anyone using unnecessarily complex language that confuses more than it communicates.
In fact, studies have shown that online content should be written at a middle school reading level for maximum effectiveness.
So, keep it simple by writing your posts in your own blogging voice. And show some personality too! You want people to actually like you after reading something you’ve written – if they like you, there’s a good chance they’ll be more willing to buy from you.
4. Publishing content that is clearly self-serving
When people come to your blog, they’re going to leave immediately if your posts read like a sales pitch. That’s because people don’t want to be sold to – they want to be informed.
So, if you’re putting “contact us today!” in every post (or a similar call to action) and not getting the loyal following you’re after, it’s probably because you’re pitching too hard.
If you really want to use your blog to sell the smart way, you won’t randomly pitch your services within the posts all the time. Instead, you’ll offer free downloadable content that a customer can get by giving you their email address. Then, you can use email marketing to sell to that customer.
While it’s not an instant way to sell, it is an effective way to sell, and that’s what matters the most.
5. Neglecting to add images to your posts
Did you know that articles with images get 94% more total views?
It’s true. Plus, you can use images to improve your SEO if you optimize them correctly. So, if you’re not using images within your blog posts right now, just think about all of the engagement and sales you could be missing out on!
But maybe you’ve thought about using images before and just haven’t done it yet because you don’t know where to find them or how to make your own. If that’s the case, try one of these options:
- Shutterstock – Pay a monthly fee, and you’ll be able to download a specified number of images to use for your business. They have tons of images, and lots of them are high-quality.
- Pixabay – You’ll find free downloadable images here, but they don’t have nearly as wide of a selection as Shutterstock. However, if you’re short on cash and just need some basic pictures, this is probably your best bet.
- Canva – This free graphic design app is awesome, and you don’t even need design skills to use it. You can drag and drop different elements to create social media images, branded cover photos for social media profiles, and – of course – blog post images.
Also, you can add screenshots to explain the points you’re making in your blog posts to make them extra effective. You may also consider using charts, graphs, and infographics (as long as you have permission from the graphic’s creator). The visual learners among your readers will love you for it!
6. Failing to promote your blog
Don’t create content if you aren’t willing to promote it. You can’t expect to gain lots of readers just because you published a blog post – you’ve got to get active online where your audience hangs out and share your posts there!
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers even says that you should spend 20% of your time writing a piece of content and 80% of your time promoting it. So, if you aren’t prioritizing post promotion right now, make changes to your content strategy that will allow you to do so.
7. Failing to break up the content in your posts
Most newbie bloggers’ posts look like gigantic walls of text. And when a reader lands on a post like that, they’ll be too intimidated by all of the content to read it.
To combat this issue, write content that people can easily scan for important points by:
- Using bulleted lists (like this one!)
- Including images and white space
- Keeping paragraphs and sentences short and easy to digest
Doing so will greatly improve your blog post’s readability, and you’ll be much more likely to get positive results.
8. Ignoring reader comments
When someone takes the time to make a positive comment on your blog post, you need to take the time to respond.
Because it’s a chance to talk to your potential customers directly and start building relationships with them. And when you build relationships with your target audience, it’s a lot easier to sell to them.
The more in-depth you can go in your responses to comments, the better.
In other words, don’t just say “Thanks!” and leave it at that. Instead, be insightful and continue the conversation. It might be a bit time-consuming and tedious, but it’s completely worth connecting to your audience. Plus, it’ll help you establish yourself as an expert in the eyes of your readers.
9. Outsourcing your blog content creation to a sub-par writer
I get it – you might be too busy to write all of your blog content. And it’s completely okay to hire a ghostwriter or bylined contributor to handle it for you.
But what’s not okay is hiring a writer who can’t produce high-quality content that turns your readers into loyal customers.
So, don’t get on Upwork and hire the first writer you see for a penny per word. Instead, do a quick Google search to find the type of writer you’re looking for. If a writer has a professional-looking website full of testimonials and solid samples, you can feel confident knowing that you’ll get a good return on your investment.
But make no mistake – it will be an investment. The best writers often charge hundreds of dollars per blog posts because of how much time they spend writing them.
As with many other things, you get what you pay for, so set aside a chunk of your marketing budget to devote to an expert writer. Don’t sacrifice your brand and your content marketing just to save a couple hundred dollars a month, or you might as well not produce any content at all.
And make sure you don’t give up on your business blog just because you don’t see results quickly. Even if you’ve got amazing content and a solid promotion strategy, it’ll likely still take several months for you to start winning new customers with your blog. But if you’re willing to work hard at blogging, your efforts will pay off in the form of new leads for your business!
Have you made any of these mistakes with your business blog? Share in the comments section!