Is Your Only Subscriber Your Mom?
Who doesn’t have a blog these days? It seems that every small- and medium-sized business I encounter has started blogging for business. Recent data indicates that 91% of B2B marketers will be creating custom content in 2013, but how many of these companies are simply trying to achieve quality over quantity? There’s a lot of wrong ways to approach blogging, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve learned a few of them myself the hard way. Be ye not so foolish:
1. Waiting to Get Started
Don’t sit back and watch your competitors soar to the top of Google and score the business of all of your prospects. There’s always going to great reasons to put off getting started creating custom content, but the statistics reveal you can’t afford to make excuses any longer.
2. Writing Without an Audience
Any Freshman English Composition professor who’s worth his or her salt will tell you that writing is worthless without an audience. Who are your buyer personas, and what problem in their life is so pressing they’ve come looking for your product or service solutions? Define your ideal customer and use your blog as a platform for answering their questions.
3. Not Defining Brand Personality
I can’t tell you how to brand your company, but I can tell you that content that’s not written in a distinct voice can be pretty boring. You can have multiple voices speaking on your blog, depending on the size of your content team, but be sure they’re consistent with how you want your company to be defined.
4. Making It All About You
People don’t want to hear about how sparkly-fun your team members are, unless you’re trying to sell sparkly-fun branding services. Unless it’s a solution for your prospects, a triumph for your company, or relevant to your industry, it probably doesn’t belong on your blog.
5. Not Taking a Stand
We’re not recommending that you make a point of taking a strong stance in every piece of blog content you write and publish. Combative or negative branding won’t do a lot of good for your company. However, it’s almost equally dangerous to avoid taking a stand at any point, ever. Know who you are, what you are all about, and who you aren’t, too.
6. Not Demanding Contributions
Even if you’re the sole marketer at your organization, there’s still a billion ways to get others to contribute to your content calendar. Make it mandatory, or make contributing just really fun by offering prizes for generating page views or social media shares.
7. Not Utilizing a Content Calendar
Do you sit down every day with a clear vision of what you’ll be writing and when it’s going to be published? Covering topics in a scattered manner makes it hard to develop a following.
8. Phoning in Your Blog Titles
Back when I was a freshman business blogger, I was guilty of phoning in my blog titles. I’d type something informative and completely disregard the need to have a sexy title to generate any social media traffic. Pay attention to what’s being shared on your Twitter feed, and learn how to emulate the art of hijacking people’s curiosity.
9. Abusing Keywords
We’re firm believers that keyword research is a powerful tool for discovering the terminology and topics that are driving searches among consumers. However, keywords can be abused and if you’re struggling to jam an awkward phrase into a sentence or title, just say no.
10. Calling It Quits Once the Post Is Published
Few writers love marketing themselves and their blog content, but it’s critical. You’re missing out on an incredible amount of potential traffic if you’re not actively networking with other bloggers or posting on social media.
11. Writing the Same Topic Over and Over Again
Every business blog has a topic or two that resonates well with their fans and racks up loads of social media shares. While it’s prudent to use these posts as a gauge for determining what to write, don’t let your content calendar turn into a broken record. Mix up tutorials with lists and editorials with newsjacking or guest posts.
12. Not Editing or Writing Well
No one likes a grammar snob, but no one likes bad grammar, either. Trust us, if you’re not editing your blog content and no one is pointing out your typos, you’ve probably driven away frustrated readers.
13. Not Using Image Sources
Adding images improves the chances your content will gain traction on Facebook and Pinterest. While we’re not qualified to offer any small business blogger legal advice, we’re firm believers that stealing is a no-no. Properly credited visual content from freedigitalphotos.net is your blog’s new best friend.
14. Not Using Sources
When in doubt, cite or quote someone better known and more of an expert than yourself. It’s just good journalism.
15. Not Actively Pitching Guest Posts
Guest posting is a powerful way for even the shyest bloggers to build alliances and positive SEO. Write really powerful content and offer it up to your peers. If it’s not good enough to publish on your own blog, don’t try and get it posted elsewhere. Set an attainable goal, which might be one post a week or two a month, and add it to your content calendar.
16. Writing Only Snacks or Feasts
The meals and snacks methodology of alternating longer pieces of blog content with shorter pieces is only effective if you use both. If your content is less than 600 words on a regular basis, you could be losing your opportunity to reap the positive SEO benefits of blogging. If you’re exceeding 1200 words day after day, it might be time to fill your content calendar with some shorter bites.
17. Deleting Hurtful Comments
It hurts your readers’ feelings when you delete their blog comments. There are always going to be trolls, hurtful comments, and people who probably dropped in just to point out a typo. Blogging is a remarkable tool for developing a thick skin. Take their feedback as an opportunity to grow.
18. Not Accepting Guest Posts
When you start offering guest posts to other bloggers, something magical is bound to happen: You might be offered free content in return! There are always going to be posts that aren’t a great fit for your business blog, which is fine. Have standards in place for what’s acceptable, be confident enough to say “Thanks, but no thanks,” and enjoy letting others write your content for you!
19. Ignoring Inbound Marketing Analytics
We’ve all had that refreshingly honest friend at one point in our lives, the one who wasn’t afraid to tell us when we looked awful in that yellow sweater or had spinach in our teeth. Blog analytics are just like that friend, and they’re not afraid to tell you when your audience hates a post.
20. Not Optimizing Your Meta Description
Meta tags and descriptions may not carry the same SEO weight they did a few years ago, but they still matter. Plus, once you’re in the habit of optimizing your meta description and tags, it takes less than 5 minutes.
21. Living Up to the Title "Business Blog"
A few years ago, many of us would have rolled our eyes at the term “business blog.” It just sounds boring—I mean, who wants to listen to some company talking about themselves? Thanks to brave and bold pioneers like HubSpot who made the business blog a veritable resource center, your blog can be helpful and fun, too. Build a community and keep being awesome. Your analytics will reflect your hard work and commitment.
What do you feel are some of the most devastating business blogging mistakes?