Content management system? Check. Blog design and title? A bunch of words written on a page? Check?
Here at Vivial we know how daunting running a quality blog for your business can be. But just because it seems overwhelming, that doesn’t mean you should give up. The truth is that having and maintaining (don’t forget that second part!) a blog is one of the most important things you can do for your business.
Our mission is to help you be successful in all your marketing endeavors, which is why we started our blogging tips series in the first place. But with so much literature on the subject, it can be easy to get lost in all the things you need to do.
So you’ve taken all the steps to make a good blog, yet your content seems like it’s only being read by your grandma and spambots. Well, you’re probably making these seven mistakes.
1. You’re a Follower, Not a Leader
There are times when it’s a good thing to be a follower, like when you’re playing a team sport or becoming a synchronized swimmer. But when it comes to your company’s blog, copying a popular blog’s writing style and topics is a guaranteed way to usher your blog to a quick death. Why should your readers go for the copy when they have an all access pass to the original?
It’s easier to be a leader if, from the get go, you occupy a niche space that no one has covered yet. If that’s not possible, try using the blue ocean strategy to help differentiate your blog from the others. It’s a handy guide for being unique.
2. You’re Too Complex
And we don’t mean in a misunderstood artist way. Want to hear a secret? Having a complicated and detailed content strategy will not ensure success. Not even the most convoluted plan can predict the twists, turns and drop offs that are all a part of the content roller coaster ride.
Let’s call all this planning what it is–fear. And it’s eating away at the time that you could be spending by actually creating the content. In the wise words of Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
3. Content Is an Afterthought
Behind every amazing local blog is a dedicated person or group of people who care about its performance. In the same manner, behind every crappy blog is a person or group of people who treat it as an afterthought.
There are the telltale signs of an afterthought blog: inconsistent posts, rife with grammar mistakes and topics that are as stale as day old bread. Just making your blog a priority will improve your posts. It will also help if you have difficulty coming up with post ideas. Because you’re making the blog a priority, you mind will constantly be churning about possible blog posts. And trust us, the best ideas can come in the weirdest places and the most unexpected times.
4. You’re Afraid to Be Dennis Rodman
Now we’re not saying that you should dye your hair and start playing basketball in drag. But too many business blogs are so consumed with playing it safe that their blogs are boring to read. The problem? They don’t have a unique point of view.
Embrace your and your company’s quirks and eccentricities and use them to liven your content. Show your readers what life is like behind the scenes through funny videos (It’s also a great way to boost morale at the office). Let them know about your worst failures. It won’t tarnish your reputation, instead it will make you look more human and relatable. At the very least, insert some personal anecdotes into your posts. Not only are they more fun to read, but they help readers remember your content more.
5. You’re in It for the Sale
Excuse our French, but people’s BS meter go up when they know your blog post is a product or service sales pitch cloaked in a blog post. And when you consider that 571 new websites are created every minute, you really can’t waste any time. Create your posts with the goal of providing value for the reader, instead of a sales pitch. There’s a reason why content marketing is a long term strategy.
6. You Publish the Same Thing Every Week
Vary the types of content you publish. Mix it up (and save yourself time) by curating posts. For example, if you run a childcare business, you can share lists of weekend events that are tailored to kids. And if you are a plumber, share an article about copper vs pac pipes. Curating posts not only invigorates your blog, but it’s an easy non-spammy way to promote someone’s article or event. You get new content and their site gets traffic. And in the future they can return the favor.
Another way you can vary your posts is by changing their lengths. If most of your posts are under 500 words, start publishing 1000-2000 word posts once in a while and vice versa. Use bullet points, numbers, and images to break up blocks of text. Include puff posts and researched longform post. Variety is the spice of life and it’s also what makes a blog interesting. A simple way to break up the monotony is by hiring a guest writer. Because they’re not apart of your content team, they’ll bring a fresh perspective.
7. You Don’t Build on Existing Content
Don’t be afraid to show off your knowledge about a specific topic. When you write about all angles of a subject, you build trust with your reader by positioning yourself as a thought leader. For example, the most popular post on real-estate.com was “3 Trees Never to Plant in Your Backyard”. From there they could publish a post titled “Remodeling That Hurts the Value of Your Home” and another post titled “How to Select a Real Estate Broker”. Building on existing content is also a very helpful tactic for when you run out of content ideas.
What are other ways to make a local blog better? Let us know in the comments.