Small business owners generally start a blog with the intention of driving more traffic to their websites. As time passes, they get busy with other responsibilities and only occasionally get around to posting new content. Not surprisingly, few visitors find their blogs or, when they do, choose to click on the posts. After awhile the whole effort seems to die on the vine.
What’s getting in the way of developing blog content that attracts and influences prospective customers? Here are several of the most common pitfalls plaguing would-be business bloggers.
Too much about you. In an age where people tweet what they had for lunch and freely share their take on the latest Miley Cyrus controversy, it’s not surprising to think that all you have to do is post your “thoughts of the day” and a vast audience will follow. But unless you’re an A-list movie star, readers won’t be terribly interested in blog posts that are all about you.
The same holds true for the mundane details related to running your business. People crave information they can use. What can you share about your business that will help readers make critical buying decisions and/or address pressing challenges in their lives? It’s OK to add some of your own experience in your blog posts, but only if it supports the larger goal of providing useful content to others.
Written too fast. When you do come up with a great topic for a blog post, the impulse is to get it all on the screen and press “Publish” ASAP. The sooner content is posted, the sooner others will read it, right? In fact, quality content requires careful thought and (usually) more than one draft, particularly if research is involved and sources need to be cited. Avoid rushing to post when it means compromising the value of your content.
To position yourself as an expert in your field demands more than just posting an off-the-cuff opinion on industry topics. Take time to read up on subjects you plan to discuss. Check out what leading bloggers have to say and read the latest books, articles, and online features related to your subject matter. Then you can write posts with more authority and gravitas.
Failure to edit and check for errors. Business owners aren’t necessarily known for their writing skills—but even if you find writing fairly easy and rewarding, you’re still obilagted to review and edit content before sharing it with the world. Too many blogs display typos, misspelled words, clumsy (or simply incorrect) grammar, and run-on sentences that lose all meaning as they go along.
Go back and re-read your work. Read the post out loud to hear how it sounds and if it means what you want it to mean. Better yet, run a first draft past a friend or spouse and incorporate their feedback in the next draft.
Lack of keywords. There are specific keywords related to your field, whether you know them or not. Your goal is to seamlessly integrate these keywords into your content, thus making the blog easier to find on search engines. Do the research needed to identify those niche-specific keywords before composing your next blog post.
People don’t know about your blog. After carefully choosing your topic and writing/editing your first draft, you post your content and wait for an avalanche of responses. But that can only happen if people know it’s there.
On the day your post goes live:
- Share it on Facebook and Google+ with an eye-catching image that links to the post.
- Tweet the post’s title and shortened URL at least a couple of times during the day.
- Email everyone in your network, inviting them to read and comment on the post.
- Reply to their comments and get a conversation going. If a reader asks a pertinent question, consider writing a new post as your response.
- Add share buttons on the blog page, making it easy for your growing legion of fans to spread the word about your great content.
Blogs that are easy to find and offer valuable (and entertaining) content will find an audience. The results are worth the effort.