9 Deadly Business Blog Mistakes Most SMBs Make
Blogging is essential for driving traffic to your business, but are you doing it right?
Today, about 36% of Fortune 500 companies have a blog, and 77% of internet users read them on a regular basis. If you’re writing a relevant, compelling, on-brand business blog, this is great news. If you’re not, it represents a missed opportunity.
The good news is this: even if you’re not a self-proclaimed blogging master, you can improve your business blogging skills by avoiding these nine common mistakes:
Writing on the wrong topics
Topic mining is by far one of the most difficult things SMBs come across when developing blog content. Since blogging is an ongoing effort, it’s easy to run out of ideas and start getting desperate. Say you write ten blogs a month, for example. That’s 120 unique topics you have to come up with each year! If you find that daunting, don’t worry: you’re not alone.
When it starts to get tough to come up with compelling topics, though, the one thing you can’t afford to do is go off-topic. Not only will this take you off-brand and make your content confusing, but you’ll also put your existing readership at risk.
How to Fix it: Use the tools that are available to you. Buzzsumo is great for tracking down trending content in your industry, and social platforms like Quora is a goldmine of authentic conversation and unanswered questions. To use it, just search a keyword or phrase related to your industry, and browse the questions that pop up. You’ll be bursting with inspiration in no time.
2. Writing like a robot
Readers can tell when your writing style is stiff and artificial, and they don’t like it. Unfortunately, lots of business owners believe that blogging is an exclusively formal pursuit, so they write like they’re made of plaster. This won’t ever work in your favor, though.The more you write like you talk, the more compelling your blog will be. Keep it professional, but don’t let it get stuffy.
How to fix it: As you write your online content, take a tip from Tim Ferriss: imagine you’re giving advice to a close friend standing right in front of you.
3. Not adding your personality
Today, customers want to do business with brands they like and trust, and the only way to earn this is to show them who you are. Brands like Dollar Shave Club, Neil Patel, and Patagonia all do an excellent job of showcasing who they are and what they stand for. Use them as examples.
How to fix it: Consider what makes you and your brand unique. Look at Neil Patel‘s content, and you’ll notice he’s not shy about sharing his journey with his clients, including his mistakes. While this may seem like a vulnerable approach, it’s a sure-fire way to help your customers bond with your blog content and brand. Just be sure to always keep it professional.
4. Being too broad in your writing
It’s impossible to write well about excessively broad topics. Try to be everything to everyone, and you’ll quickly find that you’re exactly the opposite. Narrow it down, and you’ll serve your readers and your industry better.
How to fix it: Get small. Too many small businesses think the best way to approach being in business is to fulfill all niches at once. Unfortunately, this is impossible. It’s also a recipe for burnout. Instead, focus on what you do well and narrow your topics to concentrate on that. For example, if you run a small family practice medical operation, you’d be better off writing about things like newborn health, well woman care, and how to stay healthy during flu season than you would how to recover from surgery or prepare for chemotherapy since those are likely demographics you don’t serve.
5. nOT uSING exact quotes and statistics
Don’t link to sources that link to sources. Instead, dig deeper and find the original source of what you’re writing about. It’ll make your writing more credible and reliable.
How to fix it: Learn to include relevant statistics in your writing. For best results, include links to sites with a high Alexa Rank in anchor text or keyword-dense links.
6. Not double-checking for plagiarism and duplicate content
If you outsource your writing to someone who doesn’t guarantee it to be plagiarism-free, you need to check everything before you publish it. Even if you’re creating your own content, it’s essential to be sure things like your meta content and descriptions aren’t duplicated, as this can cause a major issue for the SEO and quality of your blog.
7. not citing sources
If you’re using sources in your blogs, and you should be, you need to cite them. In addition to preventing you from committing accidental plagiarism, this also allows you to connect with the influencers you’re citing, which is a great way to build your network.
How to fix it: Call out the sources you use. Here’s an example: “According to Impact Branding and Design, internet users spend three times as much reading blogs as they do email, so it’s in your best interests to get your business blog strategy right!” Use the company’s name to input a hyperlink to the content you’re referencing.
8. Not editing your material
We’ve all heard the saying “first draft best draft,” but if you’re not revising and editing your material, you’re missing a major step. You’re also putting yourself at risk for embarrassing mistakes and typos.
How to fix it: Arrange your blog strategy so you’re not rushing through your writing. Once you draft a post, put it aside for at least a full day before you go back and edit it. As you do edit it, move slowly and read the post out loud. You’ll be surprised how many mistakes and awkward sections you catch.
9. being inconsistent
This is a major one, and it’s tough. When you’re running a business, you’ve got a million things to think about, but you still need to be consistent on your business blog. While 71% of business bloggers report that their blogs have boosted their visibility, you can’t enjoy this benefit without being consistent.
How to fix it: Prioritize your blogging. During busy days, it’s often the first thing to get pushed out, but this approach will hurt you in the long-term. If you can’t prioritize your blogging in-house, consider outsourcing the content, instead.
Better Business Blogs Start Here
Your business blog is one of your most critical assets. If you’re making any of these nine mistakes, though, it’s likely not as successful as it could be. Luckily, knowing how to recognize and address these errors is the first step to getting your business blog back on track and enjoying all the benefits it has to offer your company.