As was discussed in a recent article, there is a lot of data that shows how blogging is still relevant and useful for businesses. In fact, the rise of mobile devices and social media have simply provided new avenues for businesses to market themselves through the content they publish on their blogs. The importance of a company’s blog means that small business owners and marketers should put their best foot forward. Here are six common errors that can severely hurt the effectiveness of a blog for an organization’s content marketing strategy.
Writing About Yourself
A common mistake made small business owners who are writing their own blog is that they write about themselves. In the era of the selfie photo and reality TV shows, it’s understandable that people want to make a name for themselves, but a company blog is almost never the place to do it. Blog posts should contain a consistent voice and personality (i.e. a consistent style of writing) and bloggers can even relate personal experience in their posts, but turning a blog into a forum for personal opinions or irrelevant personal stories is usually counterproductive for business purposes.
Remember, unless the person is already famous, people aren’t searching the internet for a their opinion. If someone comes to a company’s blog as from a search engine search, and then find a lot of personal information from a random stranger, they will probably leave the site and look somewhere else. Business owners who want to make a name for themselves personally with their witty comments can use their LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to that end because it’s easier to separate the business owner from the business. Keep the blog professional.
It’s important to write blog posts that are SEO-friendly but loading posts with keywords in unnatural ways is annoying to readers. First, there’s a good chance that readers won’t make it through the content because it’s poorly written. A post that uses the same keywords over and over again sounds like something written by an elementary school student who hasn’t learned how to use pronouns. The key is to write naturally and in a way that engages the viewer enough that the read on. Remember, when search engine algorithms rank pages, the bounce rate and average time of the page matter just as much as the keyword density. A page with a high keyword density but a high bounce rate will rank lower than a page with a lower keyword density that keeps viewers on the page.
Neglecting Your Audience
When writing a blog, it’s important to keep the target audience in mind. There are a lot of ways a business can inadvertently neglect their primary market. For example, by trying to appeal to a broad demographic, a blog may neglect the niche it was created to serve. If a tech firm tries to write blog posts that can easily understood by lay people, the content would be too generic to be of any use to the highly technical people the blog was intended to help. Advanced level tutorials can’t be written so that they’re understandable by people who don’t how to right click. On the other end of the spectrum, business owners often have a greater understanding of their industry than the general public they market to and can fall prey to being too technical and full of jargon. To illustrate, a doctor knows all kinds of detailed scientific information and technical terms that would be fine for a medical journal but not so much for a family health blog post.
For many business owners, writing a blog is often their first attempt at writing since their college days. It’s not uncommon for out-of-practice writers to have trouble remaining focused. The writing can be meandering or quickly jump from point to point before the audience can make sense of the information. The key to maintaining focus is to have an outline and to review text before publishing. Knowing where the post will end is helpful in keep the post on track for that conclusion. Reading over the material helps the blogger pick out any passage that need to be removed or rearrange. Even when being focused, try not to include too many points. Even if there are 60 compelling points that can be included in the post, the audience can only remember 10 at the most. Save the rest for later.
Headlines are as important for blog posts as they are for newspapers. According to one report, eight out of 10 people will read a headline but only two out of 10 will read the rest of the content. This means that the headline is the best chance the business owner has to draw people to the content. Don’t wait to the end of the first paragraph to use the best line. There are a lot of ways to write headlines and different things appeal to different audiences. Take the time to try different things to find what formula works best.
Posts That Are Too Short or Too Long
Blogs for a business are different than blogs for individuals. People generally have low expectations for a personal blog, but they expect a level of professionalism from a business. This means that content shouldn’t be so short that it looks amateurish. Searching for information and finding a page with two useless paragraphs doesn’t look good for the business with such a skimpy post. At the same time, a blog isn’t the New York Times, there is no reason for a post to be longer than 2,000 words.
Writing a good blog is a smart way to introduce people to a business and network with other business owners. Not only is a blog an essential part of any content marketing strategy, it plays a big part in the online reputation of a business. It’s worth it to take the time to do a blog right and to create content that exemplifies the best of an organization.