Are you considering building a blog?
If you are not already blogging, you are behind.
Here’s why: An estimated 6.7 million people publish on blogging websites while another 12 million blog on social media.
Twenty-three percent of time spent on the internet is devoted to social media and blogs, and an estimated 128 million people in the U.S. read blogs.
If you are not blogging, you miss out on potential lead opportunities, which are swallowed up by your competitors…and who wants that?
Blogging provides the platform you need to stand out in a noisy world.
It allows you to grow a message, ideology, and community.
For most organizations, blogs generate leads and increase traffic.
Done correctly, blogs build customer trust and loyalty, generate new leads, establish expertise, and provide additional revenue.
Organizations that have a consistently updated blog have more inbound links.
In fact, for 45 percent, blogging has become the most valuable resource in their content strategy.
While blogs have the potential to create success, there are a few common blogging mistakes made by first-time bloggers.
Four Blogging Mistakes to Avoid and What to Do Instead
Before beginning any business, it is important to access your potential customers.
What does your product offer that competitors do not?
What sets you apart? Why would people be motivated to come to you rather than someone else?
Ask the same questions of a blogging audience.
What value do you bring to those reading your blog?
Are people interested in this topic? Does your blog match the services you offer?
If you are a landscaping company and you start blogging about cereal on your website, you have missed the needs of your customer.
Remember you are providing value and establishing a reputation as an expert in a particular niche.
It makes more sense for a landscaping company to create content about different types of grass seed versus favorite types of cereal.
Know whether your blog is meant to entertain or inform, or perhaps both.
Most blogs are informal and act as a conversation starter between you and your prospective customers.
Know your audience and their expectations. Then strive to meet them.
Blog writing is unique in style to creative or academic writing.
When someone visits your website from a Google search, chances are they are looking for something specific.
They do not want to hang out on your site, only to discover you don’t provide the information they need.
(You don’t want them there, either.)
Your blog post should have a clear headline that is honest to establish trust with the reader.
Short paragraphs and clear headers let him know whether the content answers his question.
Relevant images capture attention and further describe the content in a scannable format.
Pre-written tweets pulled out and highlighted summarize the content in catchy short text.
With so many competing voices online it is important to let the reader know your information is what they are looking for and their time is valued.
Scannable text builds this trust.
Think of your website as a storefront.
Would you have a better chance of success in the middle of a mall or on a deserted island?
It’s an easy answer, isn’t it?
However, when building a website, new bloggers often ignore the importance of foot traffic.
We tend to believe if we build it, they will come.
Keywords are used to tell search engines your area of expertise and how valuable you are to your audience.
The higher the value, the more people will be sent to your blog.
Knowing how to build SEO-rich content is essential to being ranked above competitors.
If you ignore this part of blogging when potential customers search for what you offer, Google will send them to your competitor.
There are some great tools you can use to help ensure your SEO is strong.
- Yoast Plugin for WordPress. The Yoast plugin is simple to use and gives you a green light when your blog post is ready. It provides a list that tells you what areas are active and which ones still need work.
- SEO Quake Chrome Plugin. This tool allows you to view how other websites are creating SEO. It gives you a sneak peek into the mechanics of others to pick up tips along the way.
- The Modern Blogging Masterclass. This online class, offered by Spin Sucks, teaches how to get real business results. You learn how to rank higher for your keywords and phrases.
Consistency in style and posting is key.
Sporadic blogging is a hobby; consistent blogging is a marketing strategy.
Creating an editorial calendar and sticking to it provides a clear message to your audience, establishes trust, and makes your voice an expert in the field.
Over time your blog will increase in quality and search engine ranking as you perfect your blogging skills.
If you need help, check out Aussie Writing, Blogging Basics 101, and this very blog.
If content creation is giving you trouble, seek guest posts and reviews from your customers.
Involve them in the conversation.
Remember the purpose of your blog is to maintain and grow your customer base.
Interacting with and valuing your customer’s voice plays an important part in your content strategy.
Your blog is not about you; it is about those you reach and the value you add to their lives.
Knowing your audience’s needs, providing scannable quality content, paying attention to SEO, and blogging all play consistently into building a lasting relationship with your readers.
By focusing on these four areas, you are well on your way to creating a successful content marketing strategy and avoiding the common mistakes beginning bloggers make.