Business blogs can be extremely beneficial for online marketing, and just about every company should have one and know how to use it. Of course, in order to be truly effective, the blog has to have a real purpose. It has to do more than just exist. It has to be focused on supporting your overall business goals.
One of the main benefits is that a good blog is a great vehicle for generating new clients and building a lot of positive exposure for your company. Since these are the two main goals of any good marketing strategy, companies should pay particular attention to the success that a blog can bring for their business.
Most companies understand this, but, unfortunately, many of them are unable to follow through and really turn their blog into a powerful marketing tool. If no one ever posts on it or if you’re only posting random information for the sake of increasing the amount of content, you may as well not even have one.
There are a lot of simple things you can do to avoid some of the more common blogging pitfalls and become a better blogger in general. A good blog is the perfect place to flex your content marketing and SEO muscles, so it’s important to have a plan and follow some basic guidelines.
The Most Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
There are a lot of common mistakes that businesses make with their blogs. These issues are not limited to new bloggers, but they are still considered "rookie mistakes" because they are found more among writers who don't have a successful background behind them. The three most common problems all have great solutions from the seasoned veterans which help you to start off right.
1. Writing off random bouts of inspiration. If you've had a lot of experience writing, you know that when you’re focused on a given topic, you are often hit with random ideas throughout the day. However, just because it’s an idea relevant to your business, or just because it’s a unique take on a subject does not mean it is right for your blog. Brainstorming may be an important part of the process, but that doesn't mean every idea has a place on the blog.
Tip from the pros: Your blog posts should help with company goals whether they are trying to improve your image, grow the company, or make your site a place where customers can come to solve their problems. The blog isn't a place indulging yourself and your ideas. It is a place for engaging with customers and providing real value.
In a recent post over on the Moz Blog, they even recommend that if your blog posts aren't seeing engagement in the form of regular comments, then you aren't doing it right and might as well ditch the entire blog. While it’s hard to completely agree with that sentiment, there is definitely some logic there worth considering.
2. Stiff, formal writing. Most people start out writing with the assumption that they sound more professional if they keep things overly formal. Sounding professional is more than using big words and focusing on pronouns. Stiff writing that worries too much about the technical aspects of grammar and vocabulary will push readers away more than it will keep them around.
Tip from the pros: Relax. Try not to focus too much on all the grammatical rules. (Within reason, of course. You don’t want to look like a complete illiterate, either.) Write like you speak and then go back and make any edits after you finish.
The best blog posts are easy to read and engage a reader in a conversation. Ask questions that encourage readers to leave comments and talk to each other. You should also respond appropriately to any questions as soon as possible. As a writer, there are some simple ways to keep things professional and casual at the same time. This could include:
- Giving the post some personality with a joke or two
- Using contractions
- Keeping the text simple
- Saying what you want to say without making it sound too flowery
- Limiting the business jargon
This doesn't mean you should throw all professionalism out the window. Keep your posts consistent with an outline. Correct misspellings and make sure that your formatting is right.
3. Disregarding the title. The more readers you have, the more likely it is that your blog is going to show up in RSS feeds or on a search engine results page. If your post has a title that is uninteresting, readers may not even click on your post to read it. Research shows that 8 out of 10 people will read the title or headline while only 2 out of 10 are going to go on to read the post. If the thought crosses your mind that the title doesn't matter that much, think again.
Tip from the pros: Spend at least half your time on coming up with a creative and interesting title. In the article linked above, Neil Patel recommends spending as much time crafting the headline as you do the entire post.
The title should tell the reader what the article or post is about, but it should also make them want to keep on reading. Think of the title as a way to sell your readers. You’re not selling them on a product, you’re selling them on a click. They should want to click that title to read the entire article.
For some more details on crafting a great headline, take a look at the above link. There’s some great information on what elements come together to produce a clickable title.
Practice Makes Perfect
Overall, make sure you are not over-thinking things. Your post is never going to reach perfection and if you try for that, you are going to take up too much valuable time. There are a lot of things you will learn and perfect about your writing over time. None of this is as easy as it looks, but you will get the hang of it quickly if you keep working on it.