Every business should blog.
Yup. That's a fact.
The reality: Not every small to mid-size business has professional writers or bloggers on staff.
Very often, the resident blogger gets “appointed”, not necessarily for their blogging skills, but rather for their perceived ability to take on work that others might not want to do (or, more likely, are not comfortable doing).
The result: many small to mid-size businesses have inexperienced bloggers handling what should be a business priority. Strong blogs drive organic traffic and improve Google search page position. Many "appointed" bloggers have to learn on the job, with said learning curve resulting in lost business opportunities.
Hiring a marketing agency staffed with professional bloggers should always help. However, many growing businesses can't yet afford to hire an agency.
In the interim, share these top 5 blog mistakes with your newbie blogger to shorten the learning curve and start getting better results quickly:
Your Headline is an Afterthought
You’ve spent hours developing your copy. Your blog’s more than 1,000 words. It’s engaging and effectively “soft sells” your company. Then you exhale and get ready to hit send to shoot your wonderful blog content off for review and approval.
Remember that headline you typed quickly at the beginning of the writing process? Don’t use it.
Take your time and put serious thought into your headline. Your content might be great, but a poorly constructed headline could leave your blog readerless. Your headline needs to not only capture the essence of your blog (which actually might have changed during the writing process making that first title no longer accurate), but it also needs to be written for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your headline should be catchy and keyword-driven.
For example, let's pretend that you're a residential real estate agent. You just started a blog to generate new business, and you think that first-time home buyers are your best shot for new leads.
Blog Headline #1: Things Every Buyer Should Know
Ehhhhhhhh (think of a game show buzzer)...
Revised Blog Headline #2: Things Every First-Time Homebuyer Should Know.
A bit closer but...Ehhhhhhhh.
Blog Headline Attempt #3: Top 3 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers in a Seller's Market
In the examples above, the blog headline moves from an ambiguous afterthought to a headline with strategic intent. Headline #3 is far closer to what a first-time homebuyer searching online might type into the Google Search box.
Put in the effort; it will be worth it.
In short, your headline cannot be an accident. It must be well planned, connected to your blog content and strategic. See headline development as a process, just like your writing, and your blog results will improve dramatically.
You Write Like Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac was a great American writer. Adopting his “Stream of Consciousness” writing style?
Not a great choice for your blog.
It’s good to let your writing and ideas flow; sometimes, that's a great way to break writer’s block or actually identify what you really want to say.
It's not the end of the writing process, however.
To write an effective blog, you must edit and revise your work. You must be a ruthless editor - a word killer - deleting what’s not essential to make your meaning crystal-clear.
No one wants to read your unbridled thoughts, run-on sentences, and flights of imagination. Tame your brain through careful editing and revision, and then send your blog off for review by a trusted colleague.
Automatic writing has no place in the blogging world.
Editing and revising is a creative process just like writing. Be direct. Be strategic. And write in a way people can connect with easily.
You Blog Like a Stuffy Aristocrat
Your blog is not the place to use your expansive SAT vocabulary or to relive that research paper you wrote on the A Tale of Two Cities in the hopes your B- gets bumped to an A. You’re not writing your dissertation or an admissions essay or a legal brief.
Relax. Breathe. That dream where you showed up to graduation but they forgot your diploma was just a nightmare. You made it.
Write like you’re having a conversation with an acquaintance or even a friend. You want to be conversational and accessible, but not too friendly or informal.
People want to consume blogs quickly. They want information fast. Write conversationally. Use short, concise sentences. Avoid an overtly intellectual or formal writing style.
Your audience wants quick and easy, not Herman Melville, Henry David Thoreau, or the Godfather of All Stuffiness, Henry James (we all know how painful that was to read in high school or college).
Once you start blogging, you have to keep blogging.
It. Never. Ends.
Nor should it.
Stop-and-start blogs don’t work. Every blog builds on the one published before it. It's competitive out there, and haphazard blogging is a sure way to fall behind the competition. Your blog won’t gain traction with Google or other search engines, and the work that you do will be wasted time.
Set an editorial calendar and stick to it come hell or high water. This is the only way to get the results you need.
You Don’t Ask Your Reader to Do Anything
You’ve hooked your reader, they love your blog, and they’ve read it ALL THE WAY TO THE END. Hooray! Mission accomplished.
Uh, but what do they do at the end? Did you ask them to subscribe? Did you offer them a valuable download, or request them to fill out a form?
If not, mission incomplete.
Every blog needs to lead a reader to a call-to-action that resonates with where they are in the Buyer’s Journey and moves them along the lead development process.
Generated SEO equity is great, but your blog will only be a missed opportunity if you don’t ask your reader to act.
Well, there you have it — 5 common blogging mistakes to avoid if you are new to the blogging game (or even if you are a blogosphere veteran).
If you avoid these mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to generating increased traffic and qualified leads for your business.
If you're looking for some marketing advice or assistance, we're fully equipped to help and ready to lend a hand.