The 7 Deadly Sins of Business Blogging
Since blogging has become so common, far too many people have fallen into the trap of thinking that it’s easy. This can be a huge mistake, especially for businesses.
The simple fact is that your blog can be one of the most important marketing channels you have at your fingertips. The most successful brands use their blogs to drive traffic, increase conversions and build authority, all crucial to the success of a brand.
At the end of the day, blogging works. As long as you avoid certain pitfalls.
Here, we’ll cover seven huge sins that many business blogs make. If you’re making any of these, they can sink your blog before you even really get started. The good news? There’s still plenty of time to fix any issues.
1. Not doing it at all (or frequently enough).
To really make your business blog work, you need to develop a consistent content schedule. It’s not enough to put up a post when you have something to say. You have to do it in a way so that your readers and potential customers know exactly what to expect.
That doesn’t mean you have to blog every day, but it does mean you should have a consistent weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly posting schedule.
The key with consistent blogging is that it can actually have a compounding effect, meaning that blogs that are months old can actually drive more traffic than recent blogs. Look at this graph from HubSpot:
They found that the power of consistent blogging brings in a massive return in leads, from HubSpot’s own data they’ve found “about 90 percent of the leads we generate every month come from blog posts that were published in previous months. Sometimes years ago.”
Create a content calendar with your team to ensure you have new posts going out on a consistent basis.
2. Not using proven formulas.
Successful blogging is a lot more than just writing a post, clicking publish and calling it a day. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work.
What does work is using proven content formulas that have been shown over and over again to drive traffic, increase conversions and build authority. Here are just a few different types of content that works:
CoSchedule highlighted nine different types of blog posts proven to boost traffic.
The key with this is to mix things up. Using a planned out (this is where your content calendar comes into play) combination of all the proven types of content will help meet your ultimate content goals.
3. Creating boring content.
This is one area that holds up a lot of brands. If you haven’t started a blog yet, you might be holding back because you think your product or service isn’t "sexy" enough. Let's face it -- who wants to read boring content?
Now, hold on a moment there. Just because a product or service might be "boring" doesn't mean your content has to be. In fact, lots of brands succeed by creating really interesting, informative, educational and engaging content out of topics that don’t usually get their customers collective juices flowing.
So what can you do?
First, think out of the box and get creative. This post from Copyblogger highlights how much fun and interesting content can be created off a seemingly boring item like a coffee mug:
- How they can cook or bake edible mugs
- What some iconic coffee mugs from TV, movies and films are
- How fast can you accelerate without spilling your coffee mug?
Moz has even more suggestions, highlighting how brands can also use contests, local content, case studies and even infographics to make content really interesting for readers and customers.
4. Boring headlines.
There is one universal truth about any blog: if it doesn’t sound interesting, then no one is going to read it.
That starts right there with the headline.
Our attention spans right now are shorter than ever, now averaging just over eight seconds! That means if you really want to get people interested you have to grab their attention from the start. So, it can all come down to the headline.
According to BuzzSumo, there are five main elements of viral headlines that you need to pay attention to:
- Emotional element
- Content element
- Topic element
- Format element
- Promise element
The image below highlighted how a headline performed based on the style:
Notice anything special?
The biggest winners are headlines that not only hit those main elements but also include things like numbers, are unique, and include superlative words like “amazing, inspiring, or delightful” to name a few.
Couple these with a few more winning elements and you’re going to start seeing better results.
5. Not engaging influencers.
“Influencers” might be a popular marketing buzzword today, but the reason why influencers are gaining so much attention is because they can make a big (and positive) impact when it comes to your business blog’s success.
One of the very best ways to drive more traffic and authority to your site is to have a popular industry influencer link to or mention your blog. It will automatically put your brand on their audiences' collective radar, which can help generate more customers for you.
But, you might be asking, what happens if we don’t know any influencers?
Chances are, you do. Think about popular industry speakers and experts. Think about industry articles, blogs and videos you watch, anyone who people in your industry or niche pays attention to is an influencer and you want to connect with them.
You can outreach effectively in a number of ways:
- Link to them or their content in your own content (then let them know)
- Strike up a short conversation with them on social media
- Take the content they’ve already created and improve on it (also known as the "Skyscraper Technique")
- Highlight how their methods have helped you or your brand
- Offer to help them
- If all else fails -- just drop them an email to introduce a great piece of content you're featuring them in
The key with this is not to just “make contact” but to be authentic. Once you are able to get on the radar of an influencer, there are tons of potential future opportunities to explore.
Related: 17 Tips for Entrepreneurs Who Blog
6. Ignoring the importance of visuals.
If you haven’t started already, your blog needs to get visual. And that doesn’t just mean on your site, it also means creating visuals for both your brand and your social media shares as well.
The above stats from QuickSprout highlight just how huge visual content has become, and that doesn’t just mean images for social media and infographics, it can also include video content as well, which has been growing in leaps and bounds.
The good news is you don’t need to be an expert or a huge brand to create great graphics. Tools like Canva and services like Fiverr make it possible for even the smallest sites to step up their graphics game.
But also bear in mind that it takes time to create content and people like to consume content in different ways. By repurposing your content into different formats (graphic, video, pdf, audio, slides, etc..) you can get more bang for your content buck as well as breathe new life into old content.
For even more tips on exactly how to create stunning visuals, check out this roundup.
7. Not promoting your content.
Writing great content is only a part of the battle, many experts would argue that the more important part of the equation is promotion.
Many expert content marketers who have grown their business blogs to huge audiences like Sujan Patel and Derek Halpern argue that brands should spend 20 percent of their time creating content and a full 80 percent of their time promoting it.
After all, unless you are already the most popular blog in your industry, traffic isn’t just going to appear, you have to get your potential customers to know that your blog is up and running (and a great read).
So how do you promote content exactly?
- Share your content across a number of channels including social media
- Repurpose your content into videos, slideshares, infographics and ebooks
- Utilize email marketing to promote your content to your subscribers
- Highlight those influencers you’ve connected with in your content and let them know
- Create ads across social media
- Submit to content communities
Promote, promote, promote and you won’t go wrong with getting more traffic to your blog. Be prepared that this is going to be based on a long term and consistent approach to promotion, so patience is key!
Whether your business blog is brand new or you’ve been running it a few years, it’s never too late to start stepping up your content to really drive traffic, increase conversions and build authority.
Avoid these deadly sins and you’ll see increased success from your business blog over the long run.
The main thing is to get started and to hone your skills along the way.
Tony Messer is the co-founder and CEO of UK web hosting company Pickaweb. Having worked with thousands of small businesses, ecommerce retailers and startups, Tony knows what it takes to grow an online business. He is the author of two books on online marketing.