Ah, blogging. It’s something that the vast majority of modern businesses consider not only effective, but integral to their marketing strategy—especially B2B companies. Contrary to what many managers and CEOs may believe, however, the process is a combination of both art and science. In a perfect world, simply coming up with a list of topics, preparing each piece, and publishing them on your organization’s blog would be enough; if only it were so simple.
Starting a business blog isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to keep you up at night. Want to build a blog that’s actually effective and drives traffic to your website? Here are five mistakes you need to avoid.
1) Using your blog as a press center
So you’ve just put together a press release that you know is going to get a lot of traction—why not toss it on the blog, right? Stop right there.
You can certainly mention your company or even highlight accomplishments, but your blog should be reserved for content that readers will actually find helpful in their own lives. A tech company, for example, will garner a much more engaged audience with a post about future trends in the tech industry than by publishing a boilerplate PR piece listing new hires.
If it’s newsworthy but offers little real value to the reader, take the safe route and send it to the press.
2) Forgoing personality
The Internet may be loaded with fun, engaging content, but for every blog that fits this description, there’s an unscalable mountain of boring blogs and articles to sift through.
Newsflash: No one wants to read something that’s going to cause them to fall asleep. It’s not the subject matter that tends to be a problem, either; it’s the voice. Industrial tubes and pipes can be made interesting with the right amount of injected personality, but even interesting content will fall flat if presented in a monotone fashion.
Not sure how to inject a unique voice into your blog? Be sure to:
- Use humor: Humor sells. If you can’t find a way to be funny, at least find a way to poke fun at that.
- Stand out: Read as many “boring” blogs as you can to get a sense of how not to write.
- Simplify your language: 50% of adults read at or below the 8th-grade level. Your blog is no different, so keep your verbiage simple and to the point.
- Focus on brand identity: Language matters, but so do visuals. Your organization needs a strong professional logo, and it needs to live prominently on your blog to enhance brand identity.
3) Blogging irregularly
One of the first things many managers and CEOs ask when learning how to start a business blog is how often they should be posting. There’s no perfect model or “one size fits all” answer to this question, but there is something that just about every expert can agree on—consistency is the key to managing an effective blog. This doesn’t mean you need to post five blogs per week (you most certainly do not), but it does mean developing a regular schedule and doing your best to stick with it.
Need a few tips?
- Start slow: If you’re just now getting things off the ground, start with one blog per week.
- Consider the future: You may want to ramp up to 2-3 blogs per week, but do you have enough relevant topics to cover?
- Pass-on the work: If you don’t have time to write blog posts, chances are you’re not going to—assign the task to someone that does.
4) Providing useless content
For every piece of useful content found on the web, you can bet the farm that there are at least 1,000 others that contribute little. The bottom line is that the content you post on your blog should speak for your business.
If it’s boring and of no use to your readers, they’re never going to come back to read future posts. Developing a robust content calendar takes time and a fair amount of thought, but it’s crucial to the success of your blog.
What types of things should you blog about? Here are just a few things to consider:
- Identify the problem: Why are readers coming to your blog? What problem(s) are they trying to solve?
- Provide a solution: Structure your blog posts so that users will walk away with a solution to the problem or problems you’ve discovered, whether or not that relates to your company’s products or services.
- Consider a multi-part series: Multiple blogs that are part of a series and delve deep into specific topics can be extremely useful and great for driving traffic.
5) Shutting down the conversation
Everyone knows that the “comments” section of a news article covering a heated topic can be full of nightmare responses and is generally best avoided—your blog is a different story. Since you’ll effectively be engaging current and potential customers with your posts, you’ll want to use the comments section as a way to foster a conversation.
You want to be an authority on whatever you’re discussing, but you also want to encourage people to share their opinions, which will in turn help to create brand affinity. A call-to-action (CTA) at the bottom of the page can be very helpful in achieving strong results and boosting comments.
Blogging may not always come easy, but it’s a huge part of marketing your business in the digital world. Know what mistakes to avoid when starting a business blog, and you’ll already be one step ahead of the competition.
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