Fewer companies are creating and maintaining blogs, according to recent reports. As a content marketer, I don’t necessarily consider this a bad thing. Creating and maintaining a great business blog is a significant investment, and it’s not right for every company. If you’re not attracting the audience you want, the business case just isn’t there to do all that work.
In some cases, the culture of the company is the problem. (See my previous post on “Is your small business really ready to blog?” for a list of signs that your company isn’t blog-compatible.) Those kinds of issues aren’t easily fixed in time to save a blog.
At the same time, I see a lot of business blogs struggling due to easily fixable mistakes. Here are three of the most common business blogging mistakes I see, and some advice on how to correct them.
- You’re constantly stressed about what to write — and then you don’t write anything at all. I’m sure some people do just wake up every day bursting with ideas about what to blog about, which they just effortlessly sit down at the computer and bang out. For the rest of us, it’s pretty easy to spend more energy worrying about how we’re not writing than it would take to just do the work. The Fix: A calendar, coupled with blocked out times on your schedule to do nothing but write. As you think of ideas throughout the week, jot them down somewhere. When it’s writing time, you should have a nice list to work from.
- It reads like sales copy — even though it’s not. One of the tipoffs to readers that that they are reading sales/PR copy, and not informational or news content, is the inappropriate use of capitalization. There’s a brand of English business writing that is apparently derived from German, as it is absolutely littered with capitalized words. But the words aren’t random — they are words that the marketing person thinks are really important. Like Sales and Marketing. When you write in this style, your readers subconsciously discount your otherwise awesome informational copy as advertising. The Fix: Pick up a copy of the AP Style Guide, and follow its usage guidelines.
- You’re not systematically promoting it. It’s not enough to just create content andshare it once on your FB page. If you really want to build an audience, you need steady engagement. The Fix: Adopt professional tools for managing social media, such as HootSuite Pro, which will allow you to schedule tweets and post to appear throughout the day. Another tool I like: TweetSpinner, which helps you remove spammers and find appropriate new people to follow.
What are some of the most common fixable problems you see in business blogs? How would you correct them?
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