You know that blogging is an important aspect of your overall marketing strategy. After all, blogging is a great way to create a distinctive voice for your brand, build and engage with an audience, and expand your reach and brand recognition.
Blogging lets you connect with both prospects and existing customers in a creative, authentic way, and it doesn’t require a huge amount of technical knowledge or a large financial investment to get started.
For all these reasons, it’s really no wonder that blogging is a part of the overall marketing strategy for 80% of B2B marketers, and 75% of B2C marketers in North America.
Blogging is an indispensable part of any savvy content marketing strategy, and yet for many businesses as illustrated by the chart above, it hasn't proven itself especially effective. That’s not because blogging itself is a flawed marketing strategy. It’s because way too many companies slap together a few blog posts per month without any real consistency or strategic planning, and then never see anything approaching real ROI.
They make common business blog mistakes and then completely give up, which is tragic since most business blogging mistakes are completely fixable.
If you are going to dedicate time and money to blogging (which you should!), you want to ensure that your investment pays off in the form of better search engine traffic, increased website visits and engagement, and more leads. This is absolutely within your reach (see our post on how to measure your blog’s ROI to figure out exactly how you’re doing), as long as your blogging strategy is smart, intentional, and incorporates sound inbound strategy.
One excellent way to pull all that off is to know which top blogging mistakes to avoid...and then actively do so.
Here are our current top 4 blogging mistakes to steer clear of, so you can start seizing on ROI.
1. Your blogging style is self-absorbed.
Listen, we love when business bloggers tell an authentic, personal story as a more interesting way to frame a business topic. When used judiciously, talking about your story and your business directly, even in a promotional way, can be effective. The problem is when that’s all you blog about. If you go on and on about your company’s mission and services, eventually your readership will grow bored, dwindle, and then vanish.
Why? Because you’re focusing on yourself and your business instead of your customers and what they need.
For every post about how your company is expanding or offering a new product, there should be several posts that demonstrate you understand your customers and care about their pain points and FAQs. Blog posts focused on tips, templates, how-tos, and the like provide immediate use value to your readers, which will keep them coming back for more.
Here’s a great example: Avalara is a sales tax software product designed to help e-commerce business owners streamline the tangled, complex process of collecting sales tax. While their blog could focus on how great their product is, it instead provides helpful tips and advice, like this post on how Amazon sellers can maximize their profits on Amazon Prime Day.
This approach does great things for your brand: it demonstrates expertise, which makes your business more trustworthy, and it creates a sense of loyalty since you are actively helping your readers for free. In return, many prospects who read your blog will become loyal readers...and eventually return as paying customers.
2. Your blogging is inconsistent.
We all have diminishing attention spans these days, with way too many websites fighting for our attention and time. In order to maintain interest and avoid frustrating readers who enjoy your posts, you need to provide consistency. Publishing your blog on a regularly scheduled, predictable basis helps you build a loyal audience, but it also does wonders for your SEO.
Publishing fresh new useful content each week (or ideally, more often) gives you more opportunities to rank for specific keywords. Google’s algorithms are constantly crawling the web looking for useful content that answers the questions and queries internet users search for. This means that if you blog consistently and your posts are high-quality, you will see ROI in the form of better SEO.
So, how do you start blogging consistently? An editorial calendar for organization is key, and so is dedicating time each month or quarter to brainstorm a master list of new blog topics so you always have something to write about. If you simply don’t have the staff or bandwidth to blog regularly, this is the perfect marketing task to outsource to business blogging experts.
For a rather aspirational example of blogging very consistently, check out HubSpot’s blog which is updated frequently and as reliably as clockwork. While most businesses don’t have the blogging resources to post quite that often, posting fresh, useful, well-written content once or twice a week is within reach.
3. Your content isn’t unique enough (or engaging).
This one can be tough. With so many blogs out there, it may feel like you have nothing new to say. The mistake is to give up and just post the same old drivel everyone else is already posting (or even worse, have your intern churn out some generic content each week). Yawn.
A better approach is to follow these tips:
- Aim high—come up with 10x content—blog posts that are 10 times better than anything your competitors are putting out there. All it takes is a little extra SERP research to determine how to seize on this opportunity.
- Carve out your own unique niches in an over-saturated space. Instead of writing generic posts about how a home security system keeps you safe, become an expert (and demonstrate it!) in how smart-home technology and home security work together.
- Start each blog with a sharp, focused, crystal-clear purpose. Solve a specific problem, answer a question, provide a solution to a defined audience. The more clear your focus, the more unique and engaging your blog will be—and the more fun it will be to write.
- Home in on your unique style and voice. You don’t write just like the other guys because you’re not the other guys!
Example worth emulating: REI’s blog is hardly the only blog in the outdoor adventure space, but their posts have a unique energy, tone, and vibe that is distinctly REI.
4. Your content has a short shelf life.
Achieving great ROI on a blog post doesn’t happen immediately. Evergreen posts that remain helpful over time tend to continuously get shared and linked to, helping your content strategy long after you hit “publish.”
But some posts are simply not great at going the distance. Blog posts focused on industry news and events, for example, are only going to be of interest for so long.
While these posts with short-term benefits can be part of your overall blogging strategy, the truth is that most of your posts should be able to provide a return on investment for many months or even years after they are published.
Here’s how to make sure this happens:
- Promote the heck out of your posts. Your blogging job isn’t done when you finish writing the post—a lot of the most important work happens in your promotional strategy. We’ve got you covered with a two-part guide (here and here) that will help you build a kick-ass promotional strategy from the ground up.
- Revamp & republish old posts. Update links and statistics, add more detail, and keep ever-changing SEO best practices in mind. It’s less work than posting a brand-new blog, and lets your old posts continue to build your reach in exciting new ways.
- Enlist the help of a nifty service like MeetEdgar to keep republishing your posts on an automated schedule on social media, which can provide a healthy, thriving afterlife for posts.
- Encourage a company culture of sharing each other’s links to blog posts on social media channels.
- Get more eyes on your posts through paid ads on social media.
- Rework your posts slightly for reposting on Medium or LinkedIn.
As you can see, an effective content marketing strategy takes work, time, and a whole lot of strategy. Avoiding these top blogging mistakes is an excellent place to start, and which will help you significantly improve marketing ROI by employing these very doable, holistic changes.