There are more ways to do it wrong than to do it right. Are you making one of these common mistakes and shooting your blogging strategy in the foot?
Content marketing can be incredibly effective if done correctly. It can attract more clients, bring aboard new employees, build trust and position you as a thought-leader in the industry. The problem, of course, is that it can also do exactly the opposite. In fact, it’s probably easier to screw things up than most businesses realize.
Here we’re going to cover some of the most significant mistakes that you can make with your business blog. Some of these will cost you money, but some might, in fact, be far more expensive than that, as they harm your reputation and your business as a whole. In that way, you can see if you’re committing any of these problems and move to fix them if you do. After all, the first step to fixing a problem is realizing that you have one.
A lot of businesses when they first start out decide to not go all out on their content marketing. That’s understandable. After all, you want to see if it works before investing serious money. The problem, however, the first thing that they often sacrifice on is the quality of the content.
Then, after about six months, when they don’t see results, they can the whole enterprise and announce it doesn’t work. Of course, it doesn’t work! It’s like you did billboard marketing but only put billboards up on roads that nobody drives on!
Every day millions of blog posts go up. Putting up average content is like shouting ‘me, me, me’ in a very crowded room, with a band performing, strobe lights, while your audience is in the next room over.
It doesn’t work.
Your content needs to be outstanding if you’re going to create content. Otherwise, you might as well not bother.
Writing for the wrong audience
It really is quite incredible how many businesses write for the wrong audience. I’ve seen law firms that write for other lawyers (your average joe won’t have a clue what you’re talking about) and bloggers who tell other bloggers how they can make more money from their clients (clients love the idea of paying you more than they have to).
Naturally, it doesn’t work. The content that you create has to be directed at the customers that you’re trying to sell to. If you’re writing for anybody else, then you might as well not bother writing, because they’re not going to read it.
So, when you think of a headline, think afterward ‘will my target audience actually be interested in this or is this something I’m interested in?’ If it’s the former, then go right ahead and put it up. If you answer the latter, then that’s not a good topic to write about.
Selling too early
Content marketing is a long-term strategy. First, you have to build trust with your audience and get them to want to read what you’ve got to say. Only after you’ve done that, can you sell to them?
Why? Because if they don’t respect what you’ve got to say, then they’re not going to listen to you when you say ‘buy my product’. Even worse, if you start telling them too early that they have to buy your product, then any good will you might have built up with them will probably evaporate.
While we’re at it, also make sure that you don’t sell all the time. People aren’t reading your blog because they want to hear how great your product is. Instead, what they want to hear is some of the more important questions they’ve got answered and if you’re doing that, then they’ll be willing to listen to you tell them about your product.
Forgetting that you’re writing for the internet
People online are immensely distracted. They’ve got a hundred and one things competing for their attention. For that reason, if you don’t have them right from the get-go, you’ve lost them forever. For that reason, you have to keep your topic specific and make sure that your writing is both engaging and easy to read.
In order to make your content easier to read make sure you:
Use short sentences. They really shouldn’t run past a second line. If they do, then consider if you can cut it in two. Often doing so will make your sentences easier to understand and your thoughts far more clear.
Use short paragraphs. Short paragraphs that cover only one idea at a time are a lot easier for your audience to digest. Not only that, the break serves to give your audience a breathing space and allows them to mentally prepare for the next thought. That makes everything easier.
Use the active voice. The passive voice is generally a lot harder to grasp. So try to avoid it where possible. Of course, it can’t always be avoided, but if you can keep it to a minimum you’ll be doing your reader a favor.
Use ‘you’ a lot. We like the idea of being dressed personally by the writer. It creates a bubble where we think we’re part of the conversation. So go ahead and address them personally. Except, of course, if you’re saying they’re doing something wrong. Then switch to the third person to make it less aggressive.
There are plenty of readability score programs out there to use. Most of them are free. Two that I use frequently are The Hemingway App and readable.io.
Not having perfect grammar and leaving in mistakes
You’re trying to position yourself as an authority. How will that work if you can’t even write error free? It doesn’t matter if you say people can get academic help from you, or if you’re selling widgets, people will still think that you’re not professional if you can’t even get rid of the mistakes on your page. This is because we don’t judge people on multiple dimensions. Instead, we generally only have one positive-negative dimension and that’s it. And mistakes count against you (I didn’t really need to tell you that, did I?).
So, make sure somebody proofreads your material. This is vital, as when somebody else reads your writing they’re going to see what you wrote, rather than only what you wanted to write (Which is the problem we always have with our own text).
The more precise the reader, the more useful they’ll be for you.
Not pushing your content often enough
Sure, some content is time sensitive. Most of it, however, can be pushed several times over a several months period. So push it! After all, you paid for it. The content is yours. So why not get the most bang for your buck?
Afraid that people might get annoyed because you’re pushing the same thing again? Don’t be. For one thing, on most social media platforms the engagement nowadays is way down. That means that only a small slice of your reading population is going to see a single post. For another, you might be aware of all your content, but most people are going to forget what they’ve written after about five minutes. So if you push it again a week or month later, they might read it again without even being aware that they’ve seen it before!
Besides, there are several ways that you can avoid having your content appear in front of the same people. If you have a global audience, just push your content at a completely different time than you first did – maybe 12 hours later on a different day? In that way, you’ll be reaching different people and the chance that you’re going to annoy anybody drops significantly.
Not sticking with it
As already said, content marketing is a long-term strategy. You need to build up a reputation over time, find the right readers, build up a following and become part of their established routine. That’s going to take months to accomplish.
Yes, that does mean that content marketing is slower than other strategies. The thing is, once it’s up and running it almost runs itself! People will keep coming back to your site to find out what other content that you’ve got and will actually spread what you’ve got to say across their own networks.
At that time, the only significant costs that you’ll have is the creating of the content. Everything else will largely take care of itself, with people finding what you’ve got to say through social media, search engines and newsletters.
The thing is, most people stop before they’ve reached that stage. They think it doesn’t work and just as they’re starting to book results, they pull the plug. And of course, then it doesn’t go anywhere.
Don’t be that person. Give your content marketing the time to build up and book results. It’s often a small investment of time that in the long run can book very impressive results. All you need to do is let it.
Juliette finished her studies at 2015. And now she works as a blog editor. She wants to improve the educational system. At the same time, Juliette is working as a blogger at different resources. She writes about educational process, students` life, parenting (especially with teens), etc. She never stops her self-development and the learning process.