What is a blog?
The Cambridge Dictionary describes a blog as
“A regular record of your thoughts, opinions or experiences, that you put on the internet for other people to read”
You can write blogs for personal use (as in a travel diary), or for business use.
Why blog for business?
Business blogs are a great way to both engage your audience and improve your Expertise – Authority – Trust scores to boost your rankings in search engines.
Why do bloggers fail?
Blogging takes time, research and effort!
When you are blogging, it’s easy to slip into a pattern based on when and where the inspiration takes you. If you find yourself doing this, you won’t be getting the best results from your content.
Good blogs are intentional and targeted, follow SEO best practices, and are talked about on multiple platforms.
10 Common business blogging mistakes and how to avoid them
Mistake #1 : Broadcasting what’s on your mind
Talking about topics your customer doesn’t really care about is a quick route to low readership. Amanda Sellers from Hubspot summarises this brilliantly :
“Your blog is a honeypot, not a megaphone. Make it a point to position your content around what your audience wants to discover, not what you want to tell them,”
Avoid this mistake by aligning your topics with your customer pain points – what prompts them to come to you, and what do they get out of working with you?
This said, a business blog is about sharing your insights and thoughts, so do keep your style natural and true to your values.
Mistake #2 : Talking to anyone and everyone
Write for your reader, not for yourself. If you don’t, your content simply won’t resonate.
Talk directly to your target customer persona. Think carefully about …
- How you engage with them (how relaxed is the language you use, what kinds of images, use of technical content)
- What makes them want to know more from you?
- What do you want them to take away from your blog? (are you sharing useful actions and resources)
- What you want them to do as a result of reading your blog (what should your calls to action be?)
Mistake #3 : Writing without a plan
Another sure-fire way to lose your reader is to write a stream of consciousness.
Set up a content calendar to encourage you to blog regularly, and to cover a range of topics.
Consider using a template to help you structure your blogs, and to help you to develop a blogging style your reader can instantly recognise as yours.
Remember that people scan read, so consider your headings, sub-headings and supporting imagery to give your blog visual pace.
At the end, wrap up your blog with a punchy conclusion.
Mistake #4 : Only covering latest news
One of the purposes of a business blog is to add colour and depth to your service proposition, so if you only talk about what’s new, you are missing an opportunity to demonstrate your authority in your core proposition.
Create “evergreen” content, which demonstrates the depth of your expertise in your core subject matter. You can always refresh these types of blogs with a fresh angle, or updated data.
Mistake 5 : Waffling
If you don’t get to the point quickly enough, you will lose your reader. This often happens when your subject matter is too broad – if you are blogging regularly you can afford to be focused on a specific angle in a given blog.
Plan the intention of your business blog, stick to the plan, and circle back once you’ve written it to make sure that you have stayed on track.
Mistake #6 : No evidence
When you talk in vague terms, it is much less impactful that when you can back up what you say with data, or links to highly respected sites that add more detail.
“People use Twitter to keep up to date”
“48% of Twitter users turn to Twitter to get the latest news”
Similarly, using out of date data won’t look good, so always do your research to find the latest data from the highest quality resources that you can.
Mistake #7 : Plagiarism
You might be very inspired by a piece that someone else has written, but don’t be tempted to copy it! Your readers may also have read it, but more likely, Google will spot the similarity and mark you down for search results.
There is plenty of opportunity to take an extract from an inspiring piece, examine it from your customer’s perspective and to draw conclusions that reflect your brand and services.
If you quote someone, or use their images, always credit them.
Mistake #8 : Not proof-reading
Nothing undermines what you have to say like poor use of grammar and language.
Once you have written your business blog, set it aside for half an hour. Go back to it and check it against your plan, and for readability, spelling, grammar and appropriate links and credits.
Also, don’t forget to check that your call to action is clear and well positioned.
Mistake #9 : Not optimising for SEO
Website blogs often come with an SEO plug-in, which will help your blog do a better job for you in Google rankings. Don’t ignore these tools!
Check that your business blog has a punchy title and an intriguing description so that if it comes up in a Google search, readers want to click through to your site.
Mistake #10 : Publishing and forgetting
You’ve put all this effort into your blog, so don’t forget to tell people about it!
Add links to your blogs in your newsletters, talk about them on your social media, encourage people to share your content.
Blogs are a great way to build regular fresh, relevant content for your website, engaging your target audience whilst building expertise, authority and trust for your business.
Yes, it takes time to write a great blog, but done well, the results will be worth it!
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