Correcting Common Small Business' Blogging Mistakes
Lawyers, Presidents, the 12 year old who lives next door... everyone has a blog these days. Business owners have been readily getting on board, but are they doing it correctly? Whether your business is new to blogging or has been doing it for years, there's a good chance you have or will fall in to some bad habits. Read on to learn about common blogging mistakes.
Your blog is not the place for self-promotion.
Be honest; do you believe social media to be free advertising? Unless your pants are on fire, most of you will have answered yes. While it certainly can be, your blog is not the place to promote yourself most of the time.
I know I've stressed the importance of staying on topic and catering to a niche audience. Make no mistake; this advice still stands. I realize that for most people, especially those who do not write content for a living, it can be difficult to find blog topics that are centered around your company's services or products.
The solution? Focus on your industry, your specific job, and what's going on in those areas. Use this post as an example: my expertise is content strategy. Rather than promoting my own services, I'm offering advice that is hopefully helpful to you. If you're not a 'how-to' person, think about what you've read in industry publications. Are there any new developments that may change the way you do business? What have you found that's been helpful to you and the running of your company or department?
A good rule of thumb is to typically focus on educational and/or interesting content. The occsional promotional piece is great, just don't over do it. After all... few readers are going to return to read about your promotion of your own awesomeness day after day.
You haven't said much, call me maybe?
Starting a blog is a no-brainer. Keeping it up to date? Decidedly harder. Business blogs, ours included, often see phases of sporadic posting. To help combat this, try to determine an ideal and realistic posting schedule, whether it's once a week, once a day, or other. There is no magic formula for this one, but by taking in to account the number of staff members who will be blogging, as well as the time and/or resources you plan to devote to a company blog, you'll increase your chances of blogging success.
Just say no to overly focused SEO
As we move away from traditional SEO and search engines change how website content becomes ranked, this is the perfect time to mention to avoid being hyper-focused on SEO and/or ranking. Although blogging can absolutely help with driving organic traffic, your blog should contain high quality, useful content that people want to read.
Anyone can pad a blog post with links, keywords, and specific phrases. Will it help to drive traffic? Possibly. Will it create visitors who will stay to read, learn and ideally engage with you and your company? That's highly unlikely. Cliche as it may be, the quality of traffic you attract is typically more important than the quantity.
Text is great, pictures are better.
Much as it pains me as a writer, pictures grab a reader's attention in a way words cannot. By adding image(s) to your blog posts, you not only break up text, it keeps your reader engaged.
A good image is hard to find...
Finding an image is tricky. For one, you must think about your topic. What do you hope to convey in your blog post? What is the main message or idea? Is the image aesthetically pleasing? If your image is irrelevant to your content, it looks like you've just found the first stock image you saw and threw it in.
Even harder? Finding a free, relevant, high quality image. In order to avoid creating trouble for your company, it's best to use only images that you've created and thus, own, or using images that are free and carry a Creative Commons License.
Additional resources for finding free images are Flickr (search for creative commons), as well as a great creative commons blog post Shad did recently.