10 Reasons Why Your Business Blogs Suck
You have been blogging for your company for a while now, but the effort is not going anywhere. You have little traffic, and other than the time you replied to your own post, you’ve never gotten a single comment. You feel betrayed for buying into all the hype about blogging and social media and are convinced that it’s all a bunch of overblown crap.
When used right, blogging is a fantastic way to bring in new leads, boost your SEO, keep existing customers loyal, build a reputation in your field, and more. But used badly, it’s just a waste of time – for you, and for your readers (if you have any).
Here are the eight most common reasons why business blogs suck. Do any of them apply to yours?
Your Headlines Don’t Inspire Curiosity:
A catchy headline determines whether your posts get read or not. Please remember, your target audience gets bombarded with a wide range of content on a daily basis. Your aim should be to have a heading, which is catchy enough to catch someone’s attention for a second or two. If your headline is not engaging, chances are your potential readers will move on without giving the post much of a thought however good your post content might be. Also, don’t wait until you finish writing an entire post. Create the headline ahead of time using a few important keywords.
Your Writing Doesn’t Have A Unique Voice:
Even if your blog is primarily B2B writing, don’t let that scare you away from the personal touch. If your writing is too formal or contains too much ‘marketese’, you’ll turn off readers. Focusing on topics in which you are genuinely invested is a big part of how to write a good blog. If you are just trying to churn out what you think your readers want to hear, chances are your posts will seem dull and lifeless. If you can create an engaging, semi-informal writing persona your readers will feel more connected to you.
You Rarely Have New Posts Up:
What’s your posting pattern? If it’s ‘whenever I get a chance’, then you’re in trouble. You have to ‘train’ your readers to let them know when you will have new content up on your blog. Write a set number of posts each week, and publish them on the same days. If you can only do 2 posts a week, try to run them on the same days, such as Tuesday and Thursday. That way, your readers will know that they should check your blog a couple of times a week to see your new posts. And yes, if someone subscribes to your blog this isn’t an issue, but you can’t assume that they will.
Get your posting on a pattern, and stick with it. If you can only post once a month, then make it the same day every month (and please try to post more than once a month).
Your Blog Has No Visual Treat:
We are visual creatures. We want to see bright and pretty pictures. And, believe it or not, we want to see what the people writing your blog look like. Trust me here, if we can see your picture, that makes it easier for your readers to connect with you, and ultimately trust you.
Your Blog Creates Little To No Value For Your Readers:
Most blogs spend too much time promoting themselves, and not enough time creating valuable and relevant content for their readers. Always look at your blog and ask the question ‘why would anyone give a damn about reading this?’ If you can’t immediately answer that question, then you have problems. Think about the type of content people would want from your blog, think about what the ‘bigger idea’ is behind your products and services.
All Your Posts Are Self-Promotional:
Your blog shouldn’t be a repository for your press releases or new product announcements. It’s fine to let readers know when you have something new and exciting things available – but if every single post is about how great your products are and how great your company is, readers will switch off fast.
Even if you try to be a little sneaky about it, readers can spot self-promotional content a mile off. If every post leads up to a sales pitch, for instance, instead of actually offering helpful advice, you’re not going to keep people reading for long.
Your Posts Have Poor Introductions And Conclusions:
Even if you get the middle part of your post right, there’s plenty of scope for going wrong at the start and end. The most common mistakes are:
- Having a bland, rambling, or confusing introduction
- Missing off the conclusion altogether
A great title is wasted if readers don’t make it through the introduction, but all too often, business blogs will have post introductions that only serve to put people off. If your post starts with five paragraphs about what inspired you to write it, or reads like the opening paragraph of an essay, you’ll have people clicking away almost instantly.
Conclusions matter too: Sure, the lack of one won’t stop anyone reading the post, but it will affect their next actions. Without a conclusion, there’s nothing to direct your readers’ attention – meaning you’ve lost an ideal opportunity to encourage comments, or to offer them further reading from your blog.
You Don’t Engage Through Comments:
Like other forms of social media, blogs are most effective when they’re used as a two-way medium.
Some business blogs, though, do a very poor job of actually engaging with readers. They might turn off comments completely, or ignore the comments that they do get. They may also let spam comments hang around for far too long, which makes their blog look neglected. A blog with lots of unanswered comments – especially if these contain questions – implies that your business doesn’t really care about customers. No comments at all can also be a put-off to readers (and it may result in a vicious circle where readers feel uncomfortable about “breaking the ice” to leave the first comment).
You Don’t Have A Subscription Form:
If people are reading a post on your blog, it’s likely that they’ll be interested in your future posts. Make it as easy for your audience as possible to read everything you post on your blog by creating a form to collect contact information and send your new posts out by email.
You Don’t Encourage Social Sharing:
This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised. If you’re not explicitly telling your readers to share your posts, they’re probably not going to.
Sidebars or footers like ShareThis and AddThis are extremely easy to install on your blog and make sharing exponentially more convenient for your readers by providing simple buttons to click that lead to precomposed social media posts. If you want to take it a step further, pick out a few tweetable tidbits from within your blog posts and include a Click To Tweet link.
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