Business blogging blunders…and how to avoid them
As purveyors of top notch content at CW, we’re big fans of the business blog.
Get it right and it’s a real opportunity to establish your authority; show your personality; share your knowledge and experience; differentiate your business; engage with your customers; and spark conversations.
But every day we see businesses getting it wrong and scoring own goals – so here are our 5 simple tips to get it right.
1. Don’t blag on your blog
All too often people seem to think they’ve gone to the trouble of building a website and creating a blog so it must be the perfect channel to post press releases, promote products and hard sell services. Right?
Wrong! It’s the fastest way to turn off your prospects.
Try and be a little more original and creative. Share your thoughts on your industry, reveal insights into day-to-day working life and processes at your company, provide tips and tricks you have learned during your time in business, be controversial and/or humorous…
By deliberately NOT blowing your own trumpet you become more readable, more credible and therefore actually more noticeable and memorable.
2. Don’t play hide and seek
The best blog in the world is little use to anyone if your potential readers can’t easily find it, or don’t know when fresh content has been added.
Some sites seem to go out of their way to keep their best content under wraps. Your blog should be an integral part of your main website, not a separate site accessible by an obscure link. Position and promote your blog prominently on your homepage. Use your blog URL in your email signature, on business cards and all printed marketing materials.
Use Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to let people know when you have posted a new blog. Make it easy for readers to find and subscribe to your RSS feed.
Consider sending out your own html e-newsletter to current customers and prospects containing headlines and teasers from your blogs and linking them straight to the full content on your site.
Optimise your content for SEO by using keywords, and write about subjects you know your customers are likely to be searching for, but don’t be tempted to insert loads of keywords and search terms into a post just for the sake of it.
3. Less is not more
I’m generally a big fan of less IS more – and still am when it comes to actually writing your blog. Keep your posts tight – 350 words or less as a rule – don’t waffle and keep it simple.
But when it comes to frequency, once you start a blog you have to keep updating it. The objective of the exercise is to give customers a reason to keep coming back so you need to be consistent and ideally stick to a regular schedule. Once a week, even twice a week. If you are not prepared to support this level of commitment you should seriously consider if a blog is right for you.
That said, it need not be as daunting as it sounds. With a bit of forward planning, brainstorming some editorial ideas, sharing the workload with colleagues, even inviting clients to guest blog (or finding yourself a friendly content agency!), and it is eminently manageable.
4. Not engaging with your readers
The real benefit of blogging over other communication channels is that you are creating a community of like-minded individuals. Even better, get it right and your readers will start spreading the word for you and become evangelists for your business – real word of mouth marketing in action, all the more powerful because peer recommendation is much more effective than traditional PR and advertising.
It’s therefore vital that your blogs engage with your audience and the best way to achieve that is to spark a conversation. So make sure you enable comments on your business blogs and if you get a comment, comment on the comment. More than that, as an active blogger, look for opportunities to join in the conversation on other blogs and forums in your industry and leave comments as this will bring new readers to your blog.
By the way, talking of sparking conversations always remember to write the way you talk and don’t be afraid of having a laugh. Most business people take themselves far too seriously.
5. Great expectations
I’ll be honest. Creating a blog for any business requires focus and an ability to think creatively about your work. It’s most definitely a marathon and for months you might feel you are alone in your blogosphere.
But too many people give up because they expect too much too soon. You’ve got to give it a good 12 months regularly posting quality, original, relevant content.
If that sounds like hard work it certainly can be; but take on board our tips and you can minimise the time and effort required, and whether you do it yourself, or outsource it to someone like us, blogging represents excellent value for money compared to other advertising or marketing activity – and you can’t put a price on happy, engaged customers eulogising about your product or service online for thousands and tens of thousands of others to see.
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