Blogging is hard work. It takes consistent effort, time, and dedication to get it done right. Your blog isn’t going to take off overnight, and thus it can be discouraging. In fact, it may even be tempting to trash it in favor or something else – more pressing activities. But, I’m here to tell you, blogging is worth it – especially for your business.
But, whether you’ve been blogging for a month, six months, or six years, there are many common mistakes you can make. And I’m here to show you what they are, and what you can do to avoid them – so your blog can be pure awesome.
1. Not Collecting Emails
Start out with an email capture form – even if it’s just to subscribe people to a weekly update that features all your posts. The money is and always will be in your list. You can use the email list to nurture your leads and prospects and promote certain events. It’s much easier to track, and reach, your readership via email.
Depending on the type of business you run, you may also want to offer special promotions. One of the best ways to do this is to offer exclusive promotions to the people who’ve signed up for your email list.
Each subscriber you gain is a potential future customer, and if you get started now, it’s easier to focus on treating each person as though they’re special. Because they are – they are the key to growing a successful business, and without them, you have nothing. You may have to ask for those emails – many people won’t give them to you unless you do.
When you ask for those emails, don’t just say, “You’ll get free updates!” Tell them what they get in exchange for that email address. If you don’t know what you’re offering in return, it’s time to think about creating something to offer.
Also known as a lead magnet, create a free gift – an eBook, report, video course, audio series, worksheet/workbook – that can be delivered immediately after someone joins your list. You can change it up from time to time, to keep things interesting and see how each one affects your subscriber base. When there’s something “tangible” people get in return, you’re much more likely to see your list grow.
2. Writing Poorly – In More Ways Than One
The internet and texting have given the English language some leeway in terms of what’s considered acceptable. The flexibility means you don’t have to know every single grammar rule and follow them all the time. But, you must be able to write in a way your readers will understand. If your grammar is lacking to the point where comprehension is lost, you’ll have a hard, if not impossible time building an audience. And considering how many people are out there blogging, there’s definitely another blog out there similar to yours where they can go find what they are looking for.
That said, you can write with stellar grammar and smooth, easy, comprehension, and still write poorly. If you’re not taking the time to put a little personality into your words, then you’re struggling to create a voice for yourself and brand. If your business blog is a collaboration between multiple authors – allow them the flexibility to bring their own personalities into the writing to build their own followings, or develop a style guide to ensure all ghost writers maintain the right voice – one that reflects your brand’s personality.
Write content that’s not only informative, but fun too, to help your customers learn more about your business, let them see what you’re about, and separate yourself from the competition. Customers want to see the people behind the business – to build a connection with you. And the more personal you can make your business, the easier it is to make your business a success.
Since your actual personality can affect your writing, understanding your personality type may help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to become a better writer. For example, the INFJ finds writing to be an isolated activity, and focuses on the audience. They’re motivated by assignments that relate to personal matters, and write quickly, which often means their first drafts lack mechanical correctness. They’re also prone to start writing before they complete their research.
3. Writing Without Considering SEO
As a business owner, unless you’re in the SEO industry, chances are you’re too busy with other tasks to even think about SEO – let alone take the time to study, learn, and implement a strategy all on your own. But that’s not an excuse. You need SEO to help your clients see your stuff, and there’s no point to having a blog if no one reads it, or worse, no one can even find it.
Think of a term or two you want to rank for. For instance, if you’re an interior designer in Charlotte, North Carolina, a phrase may be, “interior design Charlotte.” Check your content titles, image descriptions, headers, and the body of each blog post. If you don’t have that phrase anywhere, you’re definitely not going to rank for it, are you? If you want to rank for a certain term, without paying an SEO expert to help you, you should at least make sure the best phrases to describe your business are featured prominently on your website.
4. Writing to Sell – All.The.Time.
A blog is a vital part of of your online presence today, and of course, should be used as a selling tool. But, rather than writing posts about your products and services all the time – essentially doing nothing but tooting your own horn, you should consider your blog as an educational tool for anyone who is interested about your products and services. Provide relevant information, without overtly selling whatever it is you offer. Just because you’re trying to make money doesn’t mean all your posts should sell something. Consumers are constantly inundated with advertisements, and constantly throwing ads at them or screaming, “BUY MY STUFF BECAUSE IT’S THE BEST” will quickly turn them off.
You’ll see here on the Sach’s Marketing Group blog, I focus mostly on providing you with material related to marketing and online presence – which is precisely for the reason for this blog post about the mistakes you should avoid while blogging for your business. But you’ll also occasionally see posts about what’s going on in the company itself – like when we moved to the new office in November. If you haven’t read that, give it a click. You can a see a video walkthrough of the new office.
5. Keeping Things Too Broad
Of course you want to build the biggest audience possible, right? Sometimes, a smaller audience of more targeted readers is much better for your bottom line. Fight the temptation to cover every single topic under the sun, because with each topic comes additional competition. The more your blog covers, the harder it will be to find, and the more likely it will be hidden by another blog. Plus, if you cover too much, you could be attracting an audience who is confused, or worse yet, not the ideal one for your brand. Carve out your niche – stick to a handful of topics and cover them well. Aim to be the number one resource on the net for the niche, in everything you do.
6. Posting Inconsistently
I get it. It’s hard to come up with stuff to write about. And sometimes, it’s even harder to find the time to write the posts. But, your audience needs consistency. How else are you supposed to stay in the front of their minds?
Sure, it can be hard to determine the kind of consistency you have time for at first, but you should try to commit to at least one post per week. The more content you get on your blog, the more you’re putting out there to make it easier for people to find you. But, don’t slap together content for the sake of content – make each and every piece worthy of its place on your blog.
The good thing about WordPress is, you can sit down once a week and write the content you need, and schedule it out for the following week. When you have a bit of extra time, you can write a few more posts, so you’re always staying ahead. Which brings me to my next point…
7. Failing to Promote Your Posts
While you want to write your posts with SEO in mind, you can’t expect the search engines to do all the promotion work for you. Make it easier for people to find your posts and engage with you. Promote them on social media and social bookmarking websites.
When you’re working from a schedule, and you know exactly which posts are going live and when, you know what you’re promoting and when. This makes it easier to get your social media calendar together – scheduling your tweets, Facebook posts, and so on in advance, too. Of course you don’t want to leave your entire social media accounts on autopilot, but it can help get the bulk of it done. This way, you can take a few minutes a day to focus on being live and present for your audience, for engagement purposes.
8. Failing to Engage Your Readership
If you think your job is done when the post goes live – you’re wrong. You must be available to your readership to interact with them. They can leave comments on your blog posts – which you should respond to, especially if they’re asking you a questions about something in the material. They can share your content on social media, which you should thank them for. People want to know you’re paying attention, so keep an eye on everything, and respond accordingly.
Committing These Mistakes? Fix Them Today!
If you’ve read through this list and realized you’re committing at least one if not more, of these mistakes, fear not. There’s time to fix them. Take a few steps back and see what you can do to improve. It can be as simple as starting an email list, hiring a freelance writer to edit and improve upon your existing content before adding new content to the site, and developing a list of places to promote your content.
Just because you’ve messed up in the past doesn’t mean you have to continue to do so. Chances are you didn’t mess up overnight, and you won’t be an overnight success either. Take it one step at a time.
How do you feel about business blogging? What other mistakes would you add to this list?