Common blogging mistakes (and how to fix them)
There a few common blogging mistakes – things that I notice time and time again when I’m reading business blogs that let them down. It’s nothing to worry about and it’s easily fixed so let’s take a wee look at a few of them…
Sales in disguise
Let’s be real. The very nature of business is to attract more clients and ultimately sell more. However, in this day and age, pitching and overtly ‘selling’ will probably lead to the opposite.
The idea of blogging is not to sell, it’s to build relationships, gain trust and credibility, and to establish authority in our industry by demonstrating our knowledge – not in a ‘look how smart I am’ kinda way (more on that below!) but in such a way that we use our knowledge to help our audience so that they come back to our blog of their own accord.
Once people are coming back to your content off their own bat, it’s pretty likely that they’ll think of you when they are ready to buy whatever product or service you offer anyway.
Often, blogs dress up what is essentially, ‘look how important what we offer is’ and ‘you can’t live without our products or services’ as helpful content. To me, this is sales in disguise.
Let’s look at two brands that have become incredibly successful through content marketing and the types of blog they’re writing:
Jammy Digital – Blog posts include:
Louise Harnby – Blog posts include:
What both Jammy Digital and Louise Harnby are doing is answering those burning questions that their audience has, addressing the topics that their audience is interested in reading about because they relate to things that they’re struggling with. What they are not doing is writing blogs entitled ‘Proving the value of WordPress websites’ (Jammy Digital build with WordPress) and ‘Studies show that books that have been edited prior to submission for publishing have a 50% higher success rate’ (Louise edits fiction!)
Bragging about awards
So we’ve established that blogs should provide value to the reader somehow and that normally the way we do that is to help them solve a problem or answer a question they have. Basically, make them either happier (by entertaining them in some way) or smarter (by educating them).
You have to ask whether someone reading a blog post about an award that a company has won or an employee who has joined them is doing either of those things. Probably not.
There is a place for this kind of content. Perhaps on a separate news page of your website in your newsletter or on social media. The thing to remember is that when we’re creating content, it’s not about us at all, it’s all about them, the reader and what benefit they’re getting from consuming that content.
Writing for your peers, not your potential clients
As I mentioned above, we should be looking to demonstrate our knowledge to our audience so that we come to be seen as an authority on our particular subject, but not in such a way that we alienate the very people we should be attracting by blinding them with science and making our content inaccessible.
For example, a financial services company may well have a wealth and depth of knowledge on all aspects of financial planning, may understand the intricacies of stocks and shares and modern portfolio theory (whatever that is), but to spill out all their knowledge on these matters in a blog post might be interesting to read for their peers, but stands a good chance of alienating the people who are most in need of their services and in need of someone to provide them with clear, easy to understand and accessible information.
The financial adviser’s target audience may actually prefer to read content along the lines of, ‘Three strategies to create wealth for your retirement’ and ‘How to know if you’ll have enough money to retire’.
Avoid the temptation to show how much you know and how informed you are for the sake of it. Always make sure your blogs are directed towards solving a specific problem or answering a specific question and that they’re pitched at the right level for those who you should really be looking to build relationships with.
Lack of focus
Blogging without a clear focus and strategy in place is more than likely going to lead to a blog which confuses your audience and fails to establish a loyal audience. It’s one of the most common blogging mistakes and it all boils down to your branding and knowing what it is you stand for and want to be known for. But beyond that it’s crucial to plan your blogs out based on the products and services you offer and the associated problems and questions that your audience may have about them.
Keep your message consistent and avoid straying into territory which isn’t serving to further your pursuit to educate, inform and inspire your readers, and that isn’t relevant to your target audience.
Putting together a content strategy for the months ahead can really help to keep your content focused.
Are you making any of these blogging mistakes? Maybe you feel like you’re not but you’re not getting traction with your blog? Either way, I’d love to hear your experiences.
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