Last month, we explored the value of a company blog and why it can be such a dynamic marketing tool, especially for a young business. (Visit Small Business Spotlight: Blogging for a refresh) Businesses strive for their blog to generate direct results for the brand, but the most important purpose is establishing a relationship with your audience. In an age where information is abundant and time is scarce, you want to avoid becoming another vessel serving your audience cheap information. If you’re new to the blogging world, we’ll dive into a few common pitfalls to avoid.
It’s all about you
Are you making blog posts all about your company, products and services? Your blog isn’t the platform to discuss you, you, you. This information is reserved for your “about the brand” section of your website, but your blog should cover a much broader range of topics. Focus on your potential reader: what interests them? What questions do they have? What real world expertise can you share? You want to connect on a much deeper level than seller-buyer.
You don’t use the right kind of visuals
Yes, intriguing images will initially catch the attention of your reader and helps them determine if they want to continue reading. However, the right kind of images won’t be purely decorative. Strategically placed images will add value to your words.
There are many options — from stock photos, screenshots, infographics and charts, flickr’s creative commons, etc — so it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Effective images will be customized to your particular brand and reader.
A little here, a little there
Before you begin, sit down and devise a blogging schedule, and adhere to it. The schedule can be tweaked as needed, but set guidelines for a consistency. The benefit here is twofold: you will create a sense of reliability in the eyes of your audience, and they will continue to return to your blog knowing there’s consistently fresh content. Also, structure will simply help you stay on track with your blogging activities.
There’s lackluster conversation
The main purpose of any blog post is to engage with your audience and establish a meaningful relationship; therefore, it’s counterproductive if the conversation is one-sided. Encourage your readers to leave comments with their thoughts, opinions, what else they would like to see, etc. Then make sure you respond across every platform — the blog page and all your social posts. Try to go beyond just thanking them for reading, but spark a discussion that can be telling of your reader and their questions, thoughts, interests.
You’re neglecting your social channels
Remember, blogs and social media are digital BFFs, and when used together can be very mutually beneficial. Don’t forget to promote your blog on all of your social channels, but just as important, tailor each post to the particular medium. Your Facebook description will not work on Instagram, which will need to be altered for Pinterest. Know your followers and what will most attract them to your blog site.
You write for Google, not your reader
Keywords, SEO, search engines..while these are all important factors, we’re getting so obsessed in our writing that it’s actually having a negative effect. Many bloggers are beginning to write solely for search engines, and turning off their readers. Be careful not to insult the intelligence of your audience — most of the time they know what you’re doing. Keep keywords in mind and give your blog a strong title, but don’t become blinded by what Google likes rather than what will appeal to your audience.