How to Bore Your Blog's Readers and Scare New Business Away
Yes, you did detect a bit of sarcasm there. But sometimes, it's fun to talk a little bit about things from a counter perspective.
So I'm going to give you the complete guide to screwing up your business blog. Even though business blogging is now mainstream, there's still plenty of mistakes going on that hamper the success of many company's blogs.
Here's a few I've seen:
1. Writing Generic Content
If you want to bore people, write the same old topics with boring titles. "How to..." or "5 Tips For..." You can find those titles all over the web.
To get more interest, instead write articles with titles that indicate much more value. When readers see titles that offer more value, they're much more likely to click. Use ideas like "37 Tips for...," or "The Worldclass Guide to...," or "How to Run a Winning Business Blog Even if You Don't Have the Time."
2. Let a Marketing Agency Do Your Blogging
Whether a digital marketing company, or a traditional one that's just added blogging to their services, agencies don't do blogging right. I know because I've worked for more than 50.
Here's the thing with marketing agencies: they need bloggers that fit their budget. Most of them pay around $50 - $75 per post.
Now from the writer's perspective, they're typing as fast as they can to keep that hourly rate high. Writers know they may have to do 1-2 rounds of revisions on top of writing the piece.
So guess what? You get a very generic post with content that blends right in with all the others on the web.
It may be cost-effective, but your results experience a negative impact too. Instead hire a pro freelance writer with a passion for and interest in what you do. Then, you'll get posts that truly capture the interest of your readers.
3. Talk about Your Company in Every Post
Tell them how great your products and services are. Let them know what's happening in the office. Discuss every detail of your CEO's thoughts.
You can discuss your company in your blog. In fact, it's good to do that so visitors can build a relationship with your company.
But follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of your blog posts should contribute valuable information. 20% should discuss your company and promote special offers.
4. Don't do Keyword Research First
Just "write it and trust they will come." They will come - but not too many of them.
Yes, even in the Google of 2014 you still first find keywords and place them in your content. Here's the thing: people will always need to type keywords into Google to search for the information they want.
Now, Google has gotten a lot better at understanding the relationship between keywords, so you don't need to repeat the same phrase over and over throuhgout your post. But, you do need to get a keyword in the title, meta description, and 1-2 times in the post body itself to tell Google what the post's all about.
The impact isn't immediate, but if you blog consistently for months and years using keyword research, you get a ton of relevant organic traffic.
5. Follow Standard Convention
When you think of a blog post, what comes to mind? If you ask most people, they say write short 500-word posts with high-level content because web readers have short attention spans.
Follow that strategy if you want to lose your readers in a rush.
The truth is web reader's attention spans last as long as you can keep them. For example, Jon Morrow, a leading blogger for aspiring blogging pros, regularly writes posts 2000 words and longer.
What he, and other leading blogging minds have found is people love to read long blog posts and share and link to them more. The one point to keep in mind is the entire post must be interesting, not boring filler content just to make the post longer.
6. Don't Listen to Your Audience
You already know what your audience wants, right? So keep writing blog posts you think they'll enjoy.
Don't bother checking posts on competitor websites that got high numbers of social shares! Forget about looking at the bounce rate and time spent on-page in Google Analytics. And whatever you do, do not ask your customer service reps what questions they get most often.
You already know what works, so pump out as much of it as possible.
Of course, you should listen carefully to what your clients and customers say. Social shares, number of links, long times spent on-page, and what people say on your social media profiles are all great resources for listening and learning what your audience likes.
What You Should Do: Contribute Value
For the most part, the web is the same old thing repeated 1,000 times by different self-appointed experts. To stand out, you have to be more valuable to your readers than anyone else.
Treat your blog like you would publishing a magazine. Write in-depth posts 1,000 words or more twice per month. Ask your audience what they want to read about. Take a strong stance on a controversial topic.
Speak your mind honestly (but stay respectful) on topics that have been discussed hundreds of times before.
The more interesting and helpful you are to your visitors, the more likely they are to buy from you when ready. And that's something which takes time, dedication, and specialized knowledge.