Businesses are always searching for ways to gain new customers, enhance the customer experience and engender customer loyalty. One great way to hit upon all three of those points is through having a business blog. But it’s not enough to just start a business blog and assume that customers will flock to read it. Bloggers frequently make some key errors that work against the above goals. So, if you want to put your business blog at the head of the pack, here are a few fatal flaws to avoid:
Fatal Flaw #1: Using Your Blog as an Advertising Blimp
One major reason for having a business blog should be to position you and your business as the go-to expert or industry standard, so that you and your company are top of mind when your readers are looking for your particular product or service offering. So, with that objective in mind, using your blog as an advertising blimp whereby every post is a hard sell for you and your products is a fatal flaw that unfortunately, is all too common.
Readers want valuable content that solves a pain point, engages them and helps them in some way, so readers will see right through your sales pitch disguised as an article and move right on to your competitors’ blogs. As I always say, customers want to do business with those that they know, like and trust, so if your blog conjures up images of a used car salesman circa 1973, this is a fatal flaw that can easily be avoided. Focus on being a thought leader or content curator instead of an advertiser.
Fatal Flaw #2: Putting Your Readers to Sleep
There are tons of business blogs out there, so putting your readers to sleep with mundane content, stale ‘business-speak’ language and topics that are of no interest to your particular customer base is definitely not a winning strategy.
There are many ways to differentiate your blog, and ultimately, your business from your competitors to gain (and keep!) your readers’ attention. Always keep your target customer in mind when thinking about the type of content and topics that would appeal to them. For example, if you run a pet store, blogging about your favorite restaurant probably doesn’t make much sense for your customer base. Look for ways to tweak that topic so that it’s more appealing to your readers, like instead, covering a local pet-friendly restaurant that allows you to bring your dog.
Tying your business into a hot news story or current event is another great way to capture attention. Also, use video, pictures and bullet points to break up long blocks of text (who doesn’t like pictures?). Being more conversational in tone, using humor, having an eye-grabbing title, giving away freebies or taking a contrarian or controversial position (all of which I have been known to do from time to time!) on a popular topic will also keep readers entertained.
But whatever methods you choose, make sure that they’re authentic to you, your business and brand image, or readers will see right through it and move on. Help, engage and challenge your readers or risk them using your blog in place of counting sheep before bedtime!
Fatal Flaw #3: Forgetting That You Have a Blog
As with a lot of things in life, when bloggers first start out, they are pumped up and enthusiastic, frequently posting articles- sometimes, every day. But as time goes on, the post count dwindles down to once a month, then randomly whenever it crosses their mind and soon, all that’s left on their blog is cobwebs.
To avoid this fatal flaw, be consistent! Decide what timing makes sense and is workable for you and your business, whether that be three times a week or once every season, and stick with it. If lack of writing time is a roadblock, hire staff to help out or utilize guest bloggers. This has the extra benefit of that blogger bringing additional promotion to potential new customers through their own social media and their followers. But, no matter who is helping out, always make sure that you approve the content to ensure that it matches with your vision and brand.
Also, make sure that your customers don’t forget that you have a blog by promoting it- and its content- on your social media accounts, in your email marketing and elsewhere.
What other tips do you have for avoiding fatal flaws in business blogs? Please share them below.
Thanks to Mike Wallagher from StartBloggingonline.com, Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard, Tony Popowski of Grass Roots Marketing, Inc, Loren Fogelman of Expert Sports Performance, Frank Buck of Frank Buck Consulting, Inc, Jon Parks of 401k Strategies, David Bradley of Primal Digital Marketing and Robin Hardy of Integrity Virtual Services for the inspiration behind some of these ideas.