Eleanor Pierce

Business Blogging: Five Reasons You Have No Readers

By: Eleanor Pierce | February 11, 2015 | 

Business Blogging: Five Reasons You Have No ReadersBy Eleanor Pierce

It’s a common complaint: You have a business blog, but no one’s reading.

It happens.

And there could be some really obvious reasons for it.

Maybe your blog’s boring, hard to find, or poorly written.

If that’s the case, you have your work cut out for you.

But maybe the reasons no one reads your blog are a little harder to suss out.

Maybe they’re less obvious.

If that’s the case, I have a few ideas … some possibilities you may want to investigate.

Business Blogging: You’re Too Clever for Your Own Good

Look, I love clever wordplay as much as the next nerd. But what seems clever to you may be nothing more than baffling to your average reader.

While you may be tempted to give every other blog post a super creative headline or artsy (but not terribly compelling) lead with an obscure literary reference that will make you feel like a smarty-pants, remember: You’re business blogging.

Your blog’s purpose isn’t to impress people with your cleverness. It’s to get people to click and read. Later on down the line, you want them to take further action. To read more. To learn more about your company. Eventually, to buy.

If you’re making references in your blog post so enigmatic they leave most of your readers in the dark, no one will click, no one will read, no one will care how clever you are.

You Haven’t Built Relationships

If you ask me, there aren’t many secrets to the success of Spin Sucks. That’s because Gini Dietrich does a pretty bang-up job of telling people, loudly and often, our secrets. How we come up with ideas. How we failed in the beginning. How we plan our content marketing.

And one of the absolute keys to that success has been building relationships and building community.

How do you do that? There are a few ways.

You read other blogs. You comment on them—thoughtfully (at least, on the blogs that still have them—it’s trendy at the moment to ditch comments, but we’re not sold on that strategy). Not just a “great post” comment with a link back to your blog. That is not how relationships are built. Conversation is.

You interact with anyone who comments on your blog.

You network online and off. That means offering people value when you don’t need anything in return. Once you show people you’re all about helping and connecting others, they’ll be more interested in what you have to say.

In order to get more readers, you may need to spend time doing more than just talking about yourself. You may need to spend time building relationships.

You’re Not Distributing Your Content Effectively

I am not going to even attempt to cover the topic of content distribution any better than Gini recently did herself. She lays out exactly how to maximize your business blogging efforts by getting your content out there, from the basics of social sharing, to SEO and discoverability.

This stuff is not to be overlooked.

Just writing something good and “putting it out there” on the web is a waste of your time and resources.

And yes, distributing your content effectively will take work—it will take experimentation to figure out what works for your audience.

You Haven’t Developed a Point-of-View

I loved a recent blog post by Mark Schaefer about why you don’t want to be Chris Brogan.

Here’s the short of the long: You don’t want to be Chris Brogan because Chris Brogan is busy being Chris Brogan. You have to be you.

On the one hand, it’s simple advice. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

But it also means you have to put some work into developing your own niche, your own point-of-view, and your own voice. Don’t think corporate blogs are immune from this advice. You still need to have a perspective. 

Business Blogs are Dying

Not just business blogs—all blogs are dying! It’s over!

Even Andrew Sullivan’s throwing in the blogging towel!

The skyyyy! It’s falling!

Wait … is that true?

Eh, I don’t really think so.

Well, the Andrew Sullivan thing’s true. But blogging dying altogether? I don’t buy it.

I will say this though: It’s not as easy to have a hit blog as it was back when blogging was fresh and exciting, and the economy was terrible so people had a lot more time on their hands.

But just because it’s not as easy doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time. Business blogging has value. Your business content still serves a valuable purpose.

But yes, you will want to get readers in order for it to be effective.

Image via xkcd

About Eleanor Pierce

Eleanor Pierce is a recovering journalist who can't decide which part of the country to call home. She's happiest when she's reading, though she also really likes writing, baking, dogs, and sarcasm. No, seriously.

  • Good stuff, Eleanor. I have always felt distribution was just as important as content. It’s challenging to convince small business owners of that because they see it as more work when you add in managing the various distribution channels. You scared me with “business blogs are dying”. Even if they do die, it’s still an excellent way to get the right information about your company online.

  • I love when people say blogs are dying. EVERYTHING is dying they say!! What they really mean is that 80% of people aren’t sticking to it.. the rest of us are busy churning out posts and waxing poetic and tirelessly trying to make sure that people are learning from our wisdom. I think the biggest challenge these days is that you don’t know how people are getting TO your content so you have to cover all the bases. Distribution to me is 60% of the job.. and definitely the hardest.

  • In terms of blogging, I have had a similar conversation with the company I am providing services for. One of their goals is to be considered as subject matter experts within  their industry, however they are not prepared to commit resources to creating a blog component layer to their social media marketing strategy.
    Also for the article I would like  re-state my original comment from Unmana Datta’s post “Why Spin Sucks is the Best Blog for Guest Posts”

  • Great post. http://biggreenpen.com/2015/01/11/crazy-think-online-community-can-succeed/

  • LOL just kidding with my standalone “great post” comment below. I wholeheartedly agree with this. It is a nut I am trying to crack with Lead Change Group — which has a revolving slate of authors …. even with 25-30 individual voices (which is a good thing), how do we strike a tone that conveys a common identity AND how do we get people to interact with us. #NotGivingUp 🙂

  • This is helpful, Eleanor! We just launched a new blog for a client, and, while it’s for a consumer-facing audience (those into running, fitness, etc.) these tips still apply – and are very useful. 
    One thing I read recently that supports your “develop a POV” tip is to take a clear stance on an issue. I noticed, even in my own blogging, it was more comfortable to say “you may want to” or “many are saying you should stop XYZ.” But people don’t read content for wishy-washy opinions. They want you to take a stance, and even if commenters don’t agree, it opens up a good avenue for engagement. It took me a while to understand this, but now I make a conscious effort to nix wishy-washy writing whenever possible.
    That is all – great stuff!

  • SMVermillion This running/fitness fan wouldn’t mind knowing about a great new running/fitness blog! 🙂

  • biggreenpen Ohh – yes! I’d love to share! We’re still in the initial launch stage (waiting on the IT/ design team to make the blog page look pretty), but once it’s ready I’ll definitely send it your way. Should be a week or two max.
    I did a happy dance when we came up with a unique angle for the blog, so I hope you enjoy it (and do a happy dance) too 🙂

  • SMVermillion biggreenpen fabulous – keep me posted! 🙂

  • SMVermillion Don’t be shy!

    But really, I struggle with the same thing sometimes. I think it may be partly a holdover from journalism, where you never tell anyone what to do … opinions are more fun though 🙂

  • biggreenpen hahahahaha

  • biggreenpen That’s just a lot of people to coordinate, too!

  • Digital_DRK “nice comment”

    There’s a part of me that sympathizes with them. Blogging isn’t necessarily easy to do well. But, you know, if winning was easy everyone would win.

  • KristenDaukas Journalism is dying! Blogging is dying! Traditional advertising is dying! Print books are dying!

    Mmmmhmmmm. Sure they are. All of em.

  • jolynndeal Distribution is so, so key—but with time-strapped small biz owners, especially, it’s not easy to convince them. Keep up the good fight!

  • Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen LOL!! #winning

  • belllindsay Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen Paula that was a great post, and the comments, with the exception of Kate Nolan’s, were superb.

  • EleanorPie

    LTreu Thanks for sharing Lukas!

  • EleanorPie

    martinwaxman Thank you Martin!!

  • Great post. The two biggest challenges are distribution and understanding why you blog. As I recently blogged if your primary goal is being found on the web from people who are searching for things…you should close your blog. There are many very smart people who can do this better than you and will. You are better off paying for adwords or doing direct sales. Blogs should be more for customer retention and new customer conversions after they come to you because you already connected  (think of new visitors here who don’t know Gini but see her speak the first time).

    Distribution is TOUGH! Best way is an email list which I have fallen flat on. Social networks can help but first you have to build followers and even after that only a small % will ever see your posts. But if you build relationships and get spots on industry trade pubs or give talks and other ways of getting your name out there your site and thus content will have more traffic.

  • Eleanor Pierce In the spirit of being pro-opinions, I wholeheartedly, 100 percent agree!

  • Howie Goldfarb Howie, did you just make a 100% serious blog comment? I kept waiting for at least one joke in there … maybe I missed it. Re-reading …

  • SMVermillion Eleanor Pierce yaassss

  • martinwaxman

    EleanorPie Thank you for writing it! I think with hard work, blogging is still a great vehicle – plus if you like writing, you get a voice

  • EleanorPie

    howiegoldfarb Thanks Howie!!!

  • biggreenpen This cracked me up!

  • LTreu

    EleanorPie No problem; great tips!

  • I think one of the things our team is really good at is each having our own unique voice. Partially that’s because we all have strong personalities and we can’t help but let them shine through, but it’s also a strategic choice to let that happen through our posts. 

    After a while of following each of us, readers come to expect and like the consistency and difference in tone and voice we each offer. One of us might resonate best with some readers, while another one hits the right mark with another group. We all offer something very different. 

    I think this is a really powerful part of Spin Sucks

  • Eleanor Pierce I only joke when ginidietrich posts because she is funnier than I am. I am just trying to keep up 😉

  • Eleanor Pierce Howie Goldfarb

  • @martinwaxman EleanorPie I think blogging is a poor term now a days. There are so many forms and platforns. I can claim Instagram is a photo blog Youtube a video blog or I could have a place on my website that I keep updating. Even an email news letter is kind of a blog.

  • Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen Yes, that is true. Really there are more than that — the community is over 100 people but currently only about 20 actively blog there. I think there is *huge* potential for it to be a community but they have to have a reason / incentive to want to share a vision and then extending out from that, get their friends/associates involved in the interactions (IMO).

  • Howie Goldfarb Eleanor Pierce ginidietrich That’s fair.

  • Howie Goldfarb EleanorPie I recall @martinwaxman being receptive to submitting an image only type blog if you could defend it as such offering rationale for its social purpose, along with dedicated and scheduled timely post guidelines for the #digitaledu blogging assignment.  I agree the term should be extended to include all types of new methods of “voice” across the various forms and platforms.

  • LauraPetrolino  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uejh-bHa4To

  • KateNolan

    “But just because it’s not as easy doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time.” Word. It’s often the _hard_ stuff that you suffer and struggle through that is the most worthwhile.

  • KateNolan

    Eleanor Pierce KristenDaukas They’re not dying, they’re on a diet. As someone in the printing (not publishing) industry, we’ve seen a distinct change in how, what, and when our customer’s order. It’s a lot more tactical now instead of the spray-and-pray approach. I can’t imagine it’s much different for journalism, blogging, advertising, publishing, etc. Even the HuffPosts of the world came about because of distinct decisions that were made, not hope.

  • KateNolan

    Digital_DRK belllindsay Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen Hosehead.

  • KateNolan  I would like to respond with my original comment from biggreenpen  post :
    “Is It Crazy To Think An Online Community Can Succeed?  [kindly refer to image below]

  • KateNolan Eleanor Pierce KristenDaukas Love this “….came about because of distinct decisions that were made, not hope.”

  • KateNolan

    Digital_DRK KateNolan biggreenpen And I will reply with a comment in line with Paula’s original post. 

    Sidenote: At what point does @ginidietrich remove the ability to post pictures in comments?

  • KateNolan belllindsay Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen Moderator please remove the above juvenile comment.

  • KateNolan

    LauraPetrolino KateNolan Eleanor Pierce KristenDaukas Strategery!

  • KateNolan Digital_DRK biggreenpen BROWNIES?? Why are you doing this to me??

  • Eleanor Pierce KateNolan Digital_DRK biggreenpen  At lunchtime, that’s cruel.

  • LauraPetrolino Yep. It wouldn’t work if we tried to be a posse of mini-Ginis!

  • Digital_DRK Eleanor Pierce KateNolan biggreenpen Well, it’s only 9:30 on my coast. But it’s just in time for second breakfast! (Being pregnant is a lot like being a hobbit, for the record)

  • Digital_DRK Howie Goldfarb EleanorPie Plenty of Tumblrs fit this description …

  • KateNolan

    Eleanor Pierce KateNolan Digital_DRK biggreenpen I’m trying to lure Baby Pie out… I assume she will be a brownie fan. 🙂

  • KateNolan Eleanor Pierce KristenDaukas It drives me crazy when people act like each new thing is going to kill off whatever preceded it. Radio did not kill books. TV did not kill radio. They changed the landscape, yes, but everyone is so quick to jump on the “it’s all over!” bandwagon. Hate it.

  • KateNolan Eleanor Pierce Digital_DRK biggreenpen If she doesn’t like chocolate, I’ve already failed as a parent.

  • Digital_DRK KateNolan belllindsay Eleanor Pierce biggreenpen DO WE NEED TO PULL THIS CAR OVER??

  • jolynndeal biggreenpen She’s good.

  • KateNolan

    Eleanor Pierce Digital_DRK KateNolan belllindsay biggreenpen Yes, Darryl is being mean. He must not really be from Canuckistan.

  • KateNolan Eleanor Pierce Digital_DRK belllindsay biggreenpen Well that explains the accent …

  • Eleanor Pierce KateNolan Digital_DRK belllindsay biggreenpen Are we there yet?

  • biggreenpen Eleanor Pierce Oh boy. Sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you!

  • EleanorPie

    patricia_haag Appreciate the share, Patricia 🙂

  • EleanorPie

    patmrhoads Thanks for the share Pat!

  • patricia_haag

    EleanorPie My pleasure, Eleanor:)

  • patmrhoads

    EleanorPie My pleasure!

  • tnfletch

    Great post. Understand your audience, build relationships with that audience, and connect with them regularly with content that matters to them. The foundation that all marketing communications strategy should be built on.

  • tnfletch Absolutely!

  • TwumblrGram

    markwschaefer your tweet takes center stage on http://rbl.ms/1vxlH74

  • I honestly don’t think business blogs are dying either. If your material is boring, you may just need to vary how you relay the content. I believe some industries are just better explained through video or infographics rather than text. 
    But it’s your job to recognize this as their content marketer. Plus, as you said, it never hurts to engage with others in your industry, too. It’s what keeps the heartbeat going as you guys have proven!

  • EleanorPie

    lisaparro Right?!

  • JRHalloran Right. And maybe your content is boring because you’re not actually answering the questions your prospects and customers have?

  • Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino ….but the little mini munchkin Gini voices would sound cute…

  • Eleanor Pierce JRHalloran That’s possible, too.

  • This is a great article! Thanks Eleanor!  I agree that blogs are not dead at all.  Perhaps the way people often use them (just as a news/announcements tool) is dying, but they are alive and well for helping draw people to your website with inbound marketing! 🙂
    I would also add that it helps to have a catchy image like this blog I did for chiropractors.