If you hire an online marketing consultant, chances are that starting a business blog will be one of his first recommendations. After all, some 79% of companies that have a blog report a positive ROI for their inbound marketing.
Moreover, a well-managed blog builds not only credibility for a company but also brand loyalty and awareness.
Although blogging is an effective marketing, branding, and sales channel, businesses don't make effective and efficient use of it. In fact, most corporate blogs add little real business value.
As a content marketing consultant, I've had the opportunity to closely monitor hundreds of corporate blogs and identify why some businesses find more success with blogging than their peers.
Based on my experience, here are seven of the most common reasons your blog may not be adding value to your business.
1. You do not have clear blogging objectives
Creating a high-value blog post takes a lot of time and effort. If you don't have a clear objective for your business blog, why invest your energies? Don't start blogging just because your competitors are doing it. First determine how it can add value to your business.
Different businesses blog for different of reasons. Some blog for traffic and backlinks, others blog for brand awareness and credibility. You may want to pursue all of those as objectives.
Whatever your objective is, you need to be clear about it, because it will provide direction to your content and your blog promotion strategy.
Lack of a clear objective is the reason behind the failure of most business blogs.
2. You don't have a content strategy
Having an objective alone will not make your blog successful. You also need to have a well-defined content strategy that connects your blog content directly to your primary blogging objectives.
Blogging is just one of many ways to attract traffic, links, and customer leads. You need to build a content strategy in which blogging is one among other important content marketing components, including social media marketing, influencer outreach, and so on.
Similarly, your content strategy should include different forms of content, both for your blog and external to it, including videos, infographics, resource posts, and e-books.
You can achieve a lot through a single blogging platform. You just need to identify the right kind of blog content for your audience and then make it a part of your broader content strategy.
3. You don't follow a blogging schedule
To find any level of success with blogging, you need to follow a fixed schedule and post consistently... for two reasons:
- A fixed schedule will bring discipline to your blogging efforts and create focus in your content. When you don't have a fixed schedule, you're always thinking about your next post—or, alternatively, not thinking about it because there's no "deadline." But with a fixed schedule, you know what you need to do when.
- Google loves regularly updated blogs. If your blog has a couple of new posts every week, you're much more likely to rank higher than a blog that posts once or twice a month. Similarly, a fixed schedule will help your readers know exactly when to visit your blog for new content.
Many businesses hand over their blogs to in-house staff as an added responsibility. Often, as a result, they don't give blogging the importance it deserves and update it only once in a while.
If you're serious about blogging, consider hiring a blogger or outsourcing your blog content.
4. You're blogging for the wrong audience
Many business blogs have a strange problem: They are full of company news.
You can add company news as a small category on your blog, but you can't build a business blog only on the latest happenings in your company (unless you're Google!). Instead, keep in mind the purpose of blogging and the reasons people visit blogs.
Create content that your target audience wants to read. Create content for your customers. Create posts that are full of industry knowledge.
People won't search for you on Google with your company name. They do search for solutions to problems or answers to questions. If your blog has lots of posts that address the common problems and issues of your customers, then they're much more likely to find you through a search engine query.
Don't waste your blogging efforts by writing for the wrong audience.
5. You don't have a content promotion strategy
Many business owners believe that if they create high-value content, people would automatically find them. Unfortunately, that's not how things work.
Creating high-value content is a major part of the equation. But so is aggressively promoting your content.
There are numerous ways you can promote your content, but some of them are more effective than others. Here's what I recommend:
- Guest-blogging: Identify the top blogs in your niche—those that your target audience likes—and create high-quality guest posts for them. This is an effective branding and marketing technique—especially for business blogs.
- Social media marketing: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and others can send highly qualified customer leads to you, depending on your products/services.
- Influencer outreach: Every niche has its influencers. Connect with them and use their strength to your advantage.
6. Your blog lacks personality
Does your blog have a personality? Do you write in the first person, using "I" and "me" in your blog posts? Do you directly address your readers with "you"? You should. These small things matter a lot.
Blogging, by its nature, is an engaging and informal platform. Don't confuse readers with standard formal or corporate language.
Blog content needs to have a distinct voice. It needs to connect with the readers on a personal level. It needs to have a mix of emotions—a bit of humor, sarcasm even.
Have real authors on your blog with photographs and profiles (Don't publish as "admin"!). Give your readers different points of view on the same topics. Interact with them in the comments section and focus on building rapport and relationships.
7. Your content is not action-driven
I have seen a few business blogs that have almost all the bases covered. They seem to have a clear objective and a clear direction in their content. They're updated regularly and their authors are high-quality writers.
But they still don't influence sales numbers as effectively as they can.
That's because they don't ask their readers to purchase anything from them. Their content lacks clear calls to action.
To drive action, you need to add intelligent calls to action throughout your blog content. It doesn't always have to be a big "Buy Now" button at the end of your blog post. You can add links to your product pages within the content when they're relevant. Similarly, you can simply inform your readers about a new offer or product at the end of your blog posts.
In short, you need to drive action from your readers, and there's nothing wrong when you politely ask them to take some action.
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Blogging is a powerful medium that businesses can use to increase brand awareness and credibility, and generate more qualified sales leads.
However, for your business blog to work effectively, you need to have a clear blogging objective that's part of a solid content creation and promotion strategy.
If your content has real value for your readers, they will become not only loyal subscribers of your blog but also your most effective source of word-of-mouth marketing.