Latest posts by Jay Dillon (see all)
- Which Social Media Platform Is Best For Your Business? (FB, Twitter, IG?) - February 8, 2016
- The Role of Social Media Manager in 2016 - February 1, 2016
- Why Placing Ads In Blogs Can Be A Negative - January 4, 2016
Blogging’s a great way of adding leads to the top of your funnel.
When used properly, business blogs act as the first touch in the relationship with a new prospect, allowing you to then maintain contact and take that relationship deeper with email (and phone) follow ups and more weighty content offers.
But a quick look at the blogs of most businesses is enough to reveal a raft of mistakes that are relatively easy to fix. A few small changes in your blogging approach will yield big returns, and may actually take your blog from a pointless waste of time to an inbound lead generating machine.
Let’s take a look at the six biggest business blogging mistakes and how to fix them:
Ever gone to check out a blog post and found a giant wall of text? It’s daunting, right?
The ideal blog post is one that’s well formatted, with good use of visual elements, subheadings, bullet points, short sentences, and short paragraphs. Most people reading your blog will be finding it from social media or a Google search. They don’t want to read a novel, they want quick, easy-to-absorb information.
Also, most readers will start by skimming the article to see if it’s worth reading. If your article isn’t well structured and formatted then the reader won’t bother going deeper to find the gems inside your carefully thought out post.
Not having a call to action at the end
This is possibly the biggest mistakes business blogs make, and is closely related to your overall content strategy (below). When I talk about “calls to action” in this context I’m not talking about a call to action like “leave a comment” within the post, but rather an invitation for the reader to engage with your premium content (e.g. a white paper) and thus move along the conversion path from a visitor to a lead. This type of call to action is typically situated prominently after the blog post, when the reader has read the post and is hungry for more.
The call to action should be highly relevant to the post at hand (see content strategy, below), and should have a clear benefit for the reader. An example can be found at the end of this very post!
Not getting to the point
It’s great to start your blog article with a story, but we can take this too far by being self-indulgent with our writing. Most readers are taking time out from watching important cat videos to see if you can tell them something they don’t already know. So don’t spend the first three paragraphs talking about yourself or your company. Instead, begin your blog article with an engaging question and/or a clear benefit that the reader will get from reading the post.
Not having a content strategy
Too many businesses start blogging simply for the sake of blogging. They might have read a few articles about the benefits of blogging and have decided to start. Unfortunately though, most of these blogs don’t have any guiding strategy behind them and are just a random selection of topics that don’t have an end goal in mind and aren’t really addressing the needs and desires of the company’s ideal customer.
By developing a content strategy you can have a purpose to your blogging. Now blogging is not just an end in itself, but part of an overall plan where the blog articles are highly targeted towards your ideal customers, and the related content is designed to move them through the buyer’s journey and build trust.
Going too deep
Blog posts should be kept fairly light and be an introduction to your more indepth content, which takes the form of white papers, videos, ebooks, etc. There are exceptions to this rule though. For example, Peep Laja over at ConversionXL regularly publishes blog posts that are 2000+ words long and go into great detail. Each of Peep’s posts could be a premium content offer in their own right. This certainly doesn’t hurt his traffic or engagement – the ConversionXL blog is one of the top 5 blogs on conversion rate optimisation.
But for most businesses this approach isn’t ideal for a couple of reasons:
- You’ve got to leave them wanting more – you want the reader to get a brief overview of your topic and then get the real meat and potatoes by engaging with your more detailed content (see the call to action section above); and
- You’ll burn yourself out – most business blogs don’t get a lot of traffic (especially at first). So killing yourself spending hours writing in-depth posts that nobody will read is a sure way for blogging to get old really fast. Set yourself up for the content marketing marathon instead.
Not promoting your blog articles
Businesses just starting out at blogging put the majority of resources into creating the content. This is a big mistake. Just pressing “Publish” is not the end of the story. You need to then go out and promote your posts via social media, your professional networks, your email list, and by reaching out personally to people mentioned (and/or linked to) in your posts.
Derek Halpern recommends an 80/20 balance between the time spent promoting content vs the time spent creating it. In other words, for every 20 minutes you spend writing a blog post, you should spend 80 minutes promoting that post once it’s published!
Business blogging can be a great way to generate new leads for your business – when it’s done right. Start with a strategy in mind, then make sure you follow the suggestions above to pick up some low hanging fruit when it comes to business blogging.