Developing a blog strategy takes time and consideration, particularly when building a company blog, where multiple authors or stakeholders are involved. Strategic blogging decisions include primary blog goals and objectives, the choice of blog software, on-domain versus a new domain, design/usability, and functionality.
While all of these components of a blogging strategy are important (and essential), today I’ve prepared 15 blogging mistakes and pitfalls that can kill your company’s blogging initiative dead in its tracks before you even write your first post.
You’re afraid of what people may think
Blogging is about creating a conversation and fostering a discussion, which can often lead to criticism, differing opinions, and/or different points of view. If you’re not prepared to engage this discussion in a constructive and positive manner, you’ll lose readers and lose respect amongst the online community.
You get so wrapped up in design and functionality, you miss the point of your what it’s all about
A clean and user-friendly website plays a big role in how users perceive your blog. First impressions matter. Then again, it’s important to keep in mind that the real value of your blog is in the content you create.
Having worked with many web developers, I know how easy it is to get lost in all the flair and elegance. And yes, we all strive for that perfection. But the important thing to remember is that if your blog content is ineffective, the design isn’t going to keep your readers engaged forever, if at all.
You underestimate the intelligence of your audience
Anyone who is an active member of the blogging community is generally quite technologically savvy and aware of emerging trends and functionalities. In most cases, you do not need to “dumb-down” your content in order to keep them around. Instead, focus on delivering great content that is both engaging and sharable. Write effectively and keep it as professional and high-end as you can.
You think your brand popularity is enough to ensure success for your blog
Just because you have a popular brand doesn’t guarantee that your blog will shine. Nor does it mean that the email list of newsletter subscribers will all turn into regular blog readers and commenters. Sure some subscribers may convert, and your writing style may lead to successful adoption, but just because your company or brand is popular doesn’t automatically mean that your fans will all translate into an immediate and quality readership.
You don’t read successful blogs in your industry or review successful blogs in general
I’m always looking at successful blogs in the SEO/SEM industry and successful blogs in general, for a better understanding of how blog authors organize and compose their posts. To say the least, it helps me improve my own writing style and blogging techniques.
Again, if you really believe blogging is about extending a conversation, it’s a good idea to at least keep pace with what the people in your industry are talking about, so you’re not always on your own soapbox.
You don’t reply to the comments on your blog or engage your readers
Acknowledge quality comments – both publicly and directly (to the commenter). If you have regular readers and/or subscribers, actively reach out to them for additional feedback and notification of blog posts that they may find of interest. This is how you build a relationship with your readers and get them to trust your blog content.
Another important blogging strategy that many bloggers ignore is commenting on other blogs. Investing some time to actually create quality comments on other people’s blogs is probably one of the most underrated strategies in the blogging community. Is it old? You bet. Does it still work? Yes!
While there are certainly other ways to promote your website, remember that quality comments get noticed by readers and (hopefully) the blog author as well, which in turn could mean a lot of traction for your own content.
You don’t ask for feedback or evaluation from people you respect
It’s important to obtain feedback from people you respect, with a goal of obtaining constructive criticism on your blogging style, effectiveness at delivering points, and blogging ideas. As your blog gains momentum, the circle of people you can reach out to should also increase, creating a valuable network of talent and experience.
You don’t think you have to network
Boy are you wrong. Besides commenting and actively obtaining feedback, getting involved in social and blogging communities (both general and industry specific) provides an opportunity to share and collaborate with fellow bloggers that are directly related to your own interests and blogging objectives.
You confuse blog content for something that it is not
Blogs aren’t really places to write press releases or draft case studies. Rather tutorials, guides and “how-to” posts are critical to establishing credibility in your industry. That being said, every post does not need to be an in-depth tutorial, and every product enhancement need not be emphasized with a running commentary.
When preparing your blogging strategy or writing your content, always ask yourself one simple question: What will my readers gain from reading this? If your content marketing strategy isn’t creating any value or acting as a resourceful guide, it’s highly unlikely it will generate any sales for your business. The key is to constantly write content that offers real value.
You restrict the opportunity for your blog writers to develop a communication style
Every company or brand has a voice. You want your content to communicate that same voice to your readers. In a company setting, there are likely scenarios where multiple authors and contributors will need to be defined.
While there’s nothing wrong with setting guidelines and off-limit subjects, severely hampering creativity and well thought out positions on topics of interest will ultimately dilute your writer’s enthusiasm, impacting the effectiveness of your blog’s content.
You measure your success in word count and paragraphs
There’s no secret blogging recipe for how long your blog posts need to be or how many paragraphs each post needs to have. I’ve seen incredibly effective bloggers who rarely write more than a few paragraphs and others that have achieved a level of success in providing a great amount of detail and description with almost every post.
The important thing to keep in mind when developing your blogging is effective delivery of the message you are trying to push across. Using filler words to get your blog posts to be at least 1000 words just because “Suzie says so” won’t help you rank faster.
You don’t track the reasons why some of your posts are successful and some are not
Tracking is important in every business decision, and this includes content creation too. Always analyze your pasts posts and find out why certain posts do well than others. Using these findings in your blogging strategy will help you tailor your writing style more towards what’s been successful; and not towards the ineffective.
You set unreal expectations
Having goals for your blog is important, but don’t expect things that aren’t nearly possible at your particular stage. For example, if the most influential blog in your space has 5,000 FeedBurner subscribers, is it really appropriate to think that you’ll have 10,000 in the next 6 months?
You don’t celebrate small successes
The joy lies in the small wins. There will always be points in every blog’s life where the author will question if they will be successful or achieve whatever it is that they are striving to accomplish. Make certain to recognize the little accomplishments, because doing these type of things effectively are what should lead to blogging success in the long run.
Lastly: This list makes you think it’s just too hard to get a blog started.
And that’s absolutely not the intent with this post. My recommendation is to turn these ideas around and think about what it takes to create an opportunity for blogging success. Content marketing is just getting warmed up, and in the next decade or two, effective content will be critical in website rankings. Sure you will make a lot of mistakes along the way, and that’s totally okay. Just remember that your blogging strategy, if done right, will help you achieve your website’s goals in the long term.