As the year comes to an end and 2014 approaches, many business owners are taking the time to reevaluate their marketing budgets and overall strategies. Although a lot of changes have occurred over the past year in terms of SEO, social media sites, and online consumer behavior, there’s one thing that has remained constant: businesses and brands have continued to benefit from their blogging efforts. According to recent research, 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. In addition, 81% of companies consider their blogs “useful,” “important,” or “critical”. As you prepare for the New Year, you might be asking yourself the following: “what is it that makes or breaks blog posts for business, and how can we improve in 2014?”
In the following post, we’re outlining four common mistakes many businesses make on their blogs in an effort to help you get the most out of your blog posts now and into next year.
Mistake #1: Too Much Promotional Copy
Online consumers don’t like spam. They don’t like receiving emails they consider to be “spammy” or promotional. Over time they’ve become very good at recognizing the difference between authentic, valuable content, and lazy, promotional content aimed at convincing them to “buy now!”
Online consumers feel the same way about blog posts from businesses and brands. They have come to expect that if they take time out of their valuable schedule to read through an article from a business or brand, they better feel like it delivered some sort of value to them by the end.
Not recognizing the importance of providing genuine, helpful information to blog readers is a mistake that most companies make online. If you’re interested in improving readership on your blog, traffic to your website, and overall online sales, you should take time during the last few weeks to review the last ten blog posts on your site to determine whether you’ve been providing actual value to readers, or just trying to convert them into customers. If you feel your content has been too promotional, put a plan in place to develop better content for your blog in 2014. If you need topic ideas, ask your customers, prospects, social media followers, and employees. Work to come up with a list of twenty FAQ’s your customers typically ask. Once you have your list, start working on creating blog posts that address each question individually.
Mistake #2: Not Breaking Up Content
Another big mistake many businesses and brands make when creating posts for their blogs has to do with the way they organize the information they decide to include. Online readers typically move quickly from one place to another online. They don’t enjoy having to spend extra time trying to figure out where the “meat” or value of a blog post is. For this reason, it’s incredibly important that you take the time to break up your content. Doing so will make your blog post a lot more digestible for readers, which can result in them actually staying on your website longer than they would have otherwise. You can break up the content of your blog post by:
Using headings and subheading
Including bulleted or numbered lists
Converting some of your content into a visual graphic
Including photos and videos in between and around chunks of text
Including enticing call-to-action buttons or messaging
Including breakout quotes that draw readers in
If your last few blog posts have included long paragraphs, little or no images, and no headings, it’s time to start being more intentional about how you organize and present the content you wish to share with your readers.
Mistake #3: Not Enhancing Content With Other Types of Media
According to a recent study, 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. Another big mistake many businesses and brands make when it comes to blogging is that they tend to include little to no visual content in their posts. When it comes down to it, if you feel that you are presenting and sharing the best information available on your blog as it relates to your industry, but just aren’t seeing the traffic or conversion numbers you’d like to be seeing, it might be because your posts aren’t very fun to read. In addition to great written content, your readers also expect you to provide additional value in the form of videos, photos, graphics, slideshows, audio, and more. If you find that your last few blog posts are packed full with long paragraphs of text, consider going back and adding other types of media to a few of them that can further enhance your content and strengthen the point you were trying to make. Then make a commitment to always include additional types of media in all blog posts going forward.
Mistake #4: Not Thinking About The Purpose or Goal of The Blog Post
If you’re not thinking at all about the purpose or goal of the blog posts you create and share, you probably aren’t reaching the amount of readers and potential customers that you could be reaching. It’s not enough to simply post regular content on your blog. As a business owner or marketing professional, you need to take the time to develop and share original, valuable content with your readers, clients, and prospective customers. The only way to do so is to constantly be thinking about what the purpose of your blog post is, and what your goals are. For example, is the purpose of the post to leverage your company as an industry influencer? Or is the goal to get people to visit one of your product pages? In order to think more strategically in this way, you need to get your team involved. In the last few weeks of 2013, consider holding a meeting in which you and your team discuss the purpose and goals of future blog topics. Having an open discussion like this can help you improve the quality of your blog posts in 2014.
What other common mistakes do you see businesses making on their blogs? Leave a comment for us below!