As an inbound marketing tool, your company’s blog is one of its most valuable resources. Not only does it often serve as a prospective client’s initial touch-point with your brand, but your blog can also go a long way in expressing your company’s mission, style, and accomplishments. Are you maximizing this aspect of your marketing platform? Or do you find yourself making the following blogging blunders? Perhaps you don't even know what an underutilized resource you have on your hands. Allow us to help. Read on for five of the most common blogging mistakes and our simple ways to fix them.
Mistake #1 – Poor writing
We’re going to start with the basics. Grammar matters. Proper writing matters. The quickest way to turn off a potential customer is with poor writing. If your blog posts are riddled with spelling errors, incorrect punctuation, inconsistent pronoun use, or any sort of typo, you lose all credibility. No one will consider you an expert in your field if you can’t express yourself expertly. Harsh, perhaps. But true.
Solution – Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Don’t be so anxious to hit publish that you fail to proofread what you’ve written. Read your blog posts back to yourself, preferably more than once. If at all possible, have another member of your team read them through. Two sets of eyes are better than one.
If that’s not an option, then step away and come back and re-read your work a bit later. You’ll likely catch something you brushed over the first time you read it. Another option? Read your text backwards. It sounds funny, but it’s a good way to ensure that you’re focusing on each word when proofreading, rather than just skimming.
Mistake #2 – Inconsistent blogging
You have this company blog. You know it’s a great tool. You decide to attack it with gusto. You publish six posts in one week. You publish four posts the following week as your enthusiasm begins to wane. By week three, you’re down to one post published. Publishing one post a week in and of itself is not a terrible thing; however, blogging inconsistently is. If a client decides to follow your blog in that first week and is anxious to learn more from you, they’ll be expecting a daily email. When you fail to deliver that in the following weeks, at best they’re confused and at worst they’re annoyed and take their business elsewhere.
Solution – Create an editorial calendar and stick to it
This solution takes some time and forethought. Sit down and determine what is reasonable for your team. How many blog posts per week? Per month? What sort of topics will your posts focus on? Generate a list and write it down in an editorial calendar. Plan ahead, and make sure all the players know their roles, deadlines, and expectations. Then, you’ll be able to publish consistently, and your followers will feel like they can trust you and your output.
Mistake #3 – No personality or too much personality
Stiff writing in blog posts comes across loud and clear to readers and prospective clients. And they’ll lose interest fast. At the same time, if you’re trying too hard to be funny or witty or something altogether inconsistent with the rest of your brand, those reading your blog will see right through you. In this case, you’ll lose much of your intended effect.
Solution – Convey your company brand, style, and mission authentically
No one will want to read your blog if you don’t show a little bit of who you and your company are through it. Infuse your blog with your company’s voice and unique style. Don't know what that style is? It's best to figure that out first.
Don’t worry about being too perfect. It’s okay to write more like you talk in a blog post. That being said, a balance is necessary. Don’t try too hard to be something you’re not.
Mistake #4 – Broad topics and tangential writing
When we begin writing a blog post, often our tendency is to think broadly so that we have enough content to fill up an entire post. When you pick a topic that’s too big (for example, trying to write about Africa, or World War II, or Social Media…all huge topics), there is no way to cover it in one blog post (or ten). If you try, your post will likely become convoluted, disjointed, and/or watered down. Likewise, if you are trying to tackle too much, often your writing becomes disorganized and tangential. You may find yourself circling around different topics but never quite making a clear point.
Solution – Narrow your focus and dive In
A more narrow focus works wonders. When you have a specific topic, you’re forced to be clear and thorough. A narrow focus also helps in attracting the right clients—those looking for exactly the services or expertise you can provide.
To avoid digression and tangential writing, come back to your main point often and reiterate your big ideas with clear subheadings throughout your post.
Mistake #5 – Plagiarism
Stealing is wrong. Stealing someone’s written idea or concept and claiming it’s your own is wrong. Copying and pasting someone else’s content into your own blog is wrong. As an English major, this was drilled into me, and I saw a classmate get expelled for copying an essay off the internet and turning it in as his own. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
Solution – Cite your sources and be original
If you get an idea from someone or somewhere else, give them credit. This goes for images, too! Use images that are in the public domain, otherwise you could find yourself in a sticky copyright situation.
And be original in your ideas. The internet is full of information; it can seem nearly impossible to find something new to write about or to put out into the online world. But you can do it. Your company brings its unique experiences and expertise to the table. Channel these ideas, build upon what’s out there, and create content that’s original and compelling.
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