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Gini Dietrich

Eight Common Blogging Mistakes

By: Gini Dietrich | August 9, 2012 | 
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When we started Spin Sucks nearly six years ago (go ahead and look at the very first post; it’s TERRIBLE), we thought we were pretty darn clever.

Not only was the spinsucks.com URL available, but we had a fun little acronym: FADS – the Fight Against Destructive Spin.

We created an editorial calendar and everyone was responsible for blogging, from the interns on up through me.

Our goal was to blog about the silly things people do to hurt the perception of the PR industry and perpetuate the “spin doctor” image.

It. Was. A. Disaster.

There wasn’t a common voice, there wasn’t a common theme, we had no idea about SEO or links or using images or contextual calls-to-action, or, well, anything related to really good blogging.

But we kept it going, in the hopes that we would one day figure it out.

And figure it out we did!

But it wasn’t without a lot of mistakes or some pain.

That said, there are several mistakes we made early on we still see bloggers making. So I’ve created a list of eight things to consider while you’re blogging.

  1. Attach content to what’s happening in the world. It can be in your industry, a lesson learned from world events, or even pop culture. Some of the most popular blog posts are along the lines of, “Three Relationship Lessons Kim Kardashian Taught Me” or “Lessons Learned from the Susan G. Komen PR Disaster.”
  2. Think about your internal links. We strive for one internal link per 100 words. You want the links to be related to your topic and enforce the thinking you’re providing in the content. As it relates to number eight in this list, try to include one internal link in each of your blog posts, if only so you’re alerted when someone steals your content (and it will be stolen).
  3. Link to people. When you read a blog post or article you really enjoyed and it creates an opportunity for you to create your own content around it, link to the original author’s blog post or article, “about me” page, or Google+ profile. Doing so not only helps your own search engine optimization, but it alerts the person that you are giving them some link love and, typically, they’ll come by to not only comment but share what you’ve written.
  4. Use an SEO helper. When you’re first starting out and don’t know how search engine optimization works, you can get some help with tools such as Scribe SEO or Yoast. Install them and use them. They’ll teach you what you’re missing and you’ll soon be on your way.
  5. Use a commenting system. If you have a WordPress blog, it comes with its own commenting system. But, if you install a commenting system such as Livefyre, it helps you create conversation and community. You see, the WordPress system allows people to be alerted when someone comments on their comment, but Livefyre allows people to be alerted when anyone comments, driving interest, conversation, and debate.
  6. Write compelling headlines. One of the easiest ways to do this is type into Google what you think you’ll use for your headline. See what kinds of things come up. Are you going to be competing with Forbes and Fast Company for the same headline? Or is the competition minimal and you can own the category? Combine that with understanding how people search when they’re looking for the content you’re sharing and you have a winner.
  7. Provide social media share buttons. I’m still amazed at how many blogs I go to that don’t provide social media share buttons. There are PLENTY of plugins you can use to easily allow readers to share your content. I’m a fan of both Digg Digg and Jugnoo (client). I would venture to guess I’m one of the very few who will take the extra steps to shorten a link, go to the social networks, and share the content if the blog doesn’t have the share buttons. But the content has to be superb for me to go the extra mile like that. Make it easy for your readers to share!
  8. Use anti-scraping tools. There are content “farms” whose sole job is to move throughout the blogosphere and scrape (or steal) content they then publish on their own sites/blogs. Most of this is automated, meaning robots are scraping the content, so you can use a tool such as AntiScraper that alerts you anytime anyone steals your content. This also creates a link that tells people where the content was first published, which makes the duplicate content OK in the eyes of Google.

Trust me when I say, not everyone (not even well-established bloggers) does these things in every blog post.

What other things do you see missing in blogs?

A version of this first appeared on Engage121.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

146 comments
my tender
my tender

I am very much interested in the topic. I want more about this. Would you mind to post me more on this.I am really impressed with your blog post.Useful information shared.I am very happy to read this article.thanks for giving us nice info.

laurieinseattle
laurieinseattle

@patmrhoads Have you tried livefyre on your blog? The biggest complaint I've seen is the person has to sign in which is why I removed it.

bhas
bhas

I used to be bad about the internal linking thing, though lately I am doing it regularly. Internal linking also gives you new ideas to blog about. For example, one of my posts mentioned the needs of a content audit. I didn't have any post up around this topic, but now I have an idea, and when that post goes up in the future I can come back and link to this one.

 

Have to go check out anti scrapers.

 

 

AndrewGPetersen
AndrewGPetersen

Glancing through the first part of the post, I thought the first of the eight common blogging mistakes the headline reference was "It. Was. A. Disaster." Too-frequent periods for some bizarre attempt at emphasis is a mistake. Then I scrolled down and realized the content was actually eight tips and not eight "mistakes" touted in the title. Consider me schooled.

shonali
shonali

@sarahskerik I know! When I think of all the mistakes I've made (& no doubt will continue to make...) @GiniDietrich

chihuahuazero
chihuahuazero

I find that I'm always linking to previous posts on my blog, although I need to do it more often with my Monday writing articles. One day, I need to build those pillar and evergreen content.

 

I see that your first post has no shares. Should I take its sharing virginity? :3

ifdyperez
ifdyperez

As soon as I read about Scribe, I stopped reading, went over there, and created an account. It's installed in our blog, and I just got back to finishing reading this. Thanks for the suggestion!

Communic8nHowe
Communic8nHowe

Thanks Gini! Good tips. Anti-scraper installed. And I'll soon get using SEO Scribe as you advised me before I had a self-hosted Wordpress blog. Love the idea about the ratio of words to internal links. I know I'm not doing that enough.

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

Ha!  I had to Google "Dominick Rosario."  Completely agree that internal links are often overlooked, but important, external links for the reasons you've cited but also because that's the spirit of the Web, and the comment system is key.  You're use here is what turned me on to Livefyre.  It's awesome.   The one thing I'd add is -- put your twitter handle nearby!  When I tweet links -- and that's the sort of tweeter I am (more links, less chatty), I always look for a handle to include.  I feel it's part attribution, part notification and part compliment, "Hey, I tweeted your link because I thought it was a good post."  Yet so many bloggers hide their handles on their blogs and I don't understand this.  Sometimes I'll go digging for it, but sometimes I get lazy.  Rock on, GinI!

patmrhoads
patmrhoads

@laurieinseattle I haven't. Not sure I can even add it if I wanted. I allow anonymous comments to lower barrier to commenting.

laurieinseattle
laurieinseattle

@Livefyre It may be my inexperience but it doesn't appear there is a way to turn it off in WordPress unless it has to be done in CSS.

laurieinseattle
laurieinseattle

@patmrhoads Which is how it should be. Less hoops people have to jump through the more comments.

bhas
bhas

@ginidietrich *blush*

ryancox
ryancox

 @ginidietrich You wouldn't dare. PS - the bike event in the Olympics where they barely go for 2 laps and then speed on the last lap...is my new favorite event.

laurieinseattle
laurieinseattle

@Livefyre I figured out another way to do it before I saw this. Both ways aren't obvious. it would be great if it was more user friendly.

Livefyre
Livefyre

@laurieinseattle You access it by going to any of your posts, scrolling to the LF widget, hover over your username, and click "Site Admin".

laurieinseattle
laurieinseattle

@Livefyre I did look at both links. WordPress doesn't have a Livefyre Admin Panel that I can see. Am I missing something?

Livefyre
Livefyre

@laurieinseattle Did you happen to check the links in our first tweet? Those show how to active/deactive through the Livefyre admin panel!

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @ginidietrich  @HowieG  @ryancox There's nothing better than being in the (relative) safety of your own home, with your laptop and SpinSucks! Or maybe that's just me. ;) 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @ginidietrich  @HowieG  @ryancox It *was* fun! I had a blast last night. SpinSucks became a late night chat room party! LOL I know you always aspired to helm something like that Gini!

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @ryancox  @ginidietrich BAHAHAHA! Love it! Yeah, sucks, yadda yadda, life goes on. Spread the word Ryan, great content person (who may or may not be tipsy at the moment) for hire! :) 

ryancox
ryancox

 @belllindsay  @ginidietrich bummed I'm sorry to hear that. 'restructuring' stinks. I'm polishing off a bottle of Gascon Malbec (Mendoza*Argentia) 2009

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