Whenever you read tips about promoting a business online, one of the most common recommendations seems to be to start a blog. If you type “define: blog” into Google, you get the definition of “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.” While blogging was once only associated with opinionated individuals who liked to bloviate on various topics, businesses increasingly see them as a useful tool to build authority and credibility in their industry and to get their brand and business name out there on the web. Blogging must be done right, however, for it to be as effective as possible, which means there are certain business blogging mistakes you need to avoid.
1) Failing to Start a Blog, or Giving Up on it too Soon
Not doing a thing seems like a rather basic error in how to do that thing, but that is the biggest error one can make when there is something you know you should be doing to help your business. The biggest reason business owners do not start a business blog is not seeing the potential in doing so. When you send out a marketing email or place pay-per-click ads on Google advertising your website, you see the value in doing this because you get a relatively quick response in the form of visitors to your website, and thus you see the connection and the importance of doing those types of actions. A blog will help build credibility for your business by establishing you as an expert in your field as well as putting your business name out there without having to pay for advertising. Blogging takes more time, however, and this is where the second part of this mistake of giving up too soon comes into play.
Giving up on a blog too early can happen because some business owners may think their business or product is so great that ‘their’ blog should, of course, take off immediately and propel itself to the top of Google. Unfortunately, there are probably at least a couple thousand other businesses in your particular industry with that exact same belief in their company or product. You have to be realistic in how long it takes for a blog to build readership and the credibility that this establishes that then serves to pull in even more readers. Quitting just before you reach this point is a big mistake.
2) Being too Formal or Boring in Your Blog
Remember that part of the definition of a blog from the first paragraph of “written in an informal or conversational style?” Your business blog is not the place to bore readers to tears with a dry recitation of facts and figures. Not that you necessarily want to do that anywhere on your company’s Internet presence, although given your particular product or industry, it may be needed. For example, if you are selling someone a credit card, at some point you have to give them all the facts about interest rates and fees for this and that, but save that for some link on the corporate website that those who desire the details can deliberately click on to be taken to that sort of information. Your blog needs to grab and keep the reader’s attention above all else. It has to offer information that the customer will consider either interesting or helpful or preferably both.
3) Focusing Too Much on Making the Next Sale With Your Blog Posts
As mentioned, your business blog posts need to be of interest to the reader. You do want to make more sales, of course. This is why you started a blog in the first place. However, these posts should not just be ad copy spending the entire blog entry trying to sell your latest, greatest product or service. Write the blog post about common problems the customer may be having related to the industry you sell in, and then at the end you may wish to mention that in addition to the other suggestions mentioned our company has just come out with XYZ product that should help them. That said, occasionally you may want to do a blog post where you do want to highlight a new product that you have just come out with. This type of thing just shouldn’t be every post in your blog. Unless you’re coming out with new products at an incredible rate, such posts probably can’t be typical anyway. Even these, however, should stress benefits to the reader and how they will handle some problem they are having.
4) Not Using Images in Your Blog
You’ve heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, so use this idea in your blog posts. Images and text together are far more memorable than text alone. Also, if you are trying to convey complicated information, infographics or other type of images that helps relay the idea will make it easier for your reader to grasp what you are trying to say. You can also utilize video to make things even more interesting than text and static images alone. If you have something that you wish to convey to readers about your company’s product or service, a simple animated couple minute long explainer video will do wonders for making whatever you are trying to convey stick in your readers’ minds.
5) Failing to Promote Your Blog
Putting a blog together and keeping it updated fairly frequently, such as weekly, takes time and effort. You don’t want that time and effort wasted by no one seeing it. Put the web address of your blog on your business website. Put it on the signature at the bottom of every email you send to anyone. Have it on your business card and any other printed materials. Definitely take the time to submit it to the major search engines, and promote it anywhere online where it would be appropriate to do so such as the proper section of an online business-building forum. Comment on other blogs, and use this as an opportunity to mention yours at the bottom of your comment. Definitely use social media. If your company does not have a Facebook page, start one now! Get the web address of your blog on it and links to your latest blog posts or to those that have a particularly high number of hits since you know they have been found to be particularly interesting to large numbers of people.
Blog Your Way to Success!
Avoid the aforementioned business blogging mistakes, and your blog can help propel you to success. You need to have a long-term strategy when starting a blog, and be realistic in knowing it will take time to get a large readership and create a tremendous influence in bringing you new customers. The higher the quality of the content of your blog the quicker it will spread and take off for you, and search engines also prefer regularly updated, quality content. A business blog is an integral part of an overall online presence and one that you need to start now if you haven’t already.