Blogging can be great for small businesses. But there seems to be a tidal wave of bad, boring and pointless blogs surfacing on the internet, and small businesses are amongst the worst offenders. But what are the offenses that offend our eyes most often?
Here are the no-nos that we all see, far too frequently:
First things first, blogging is a business decision, not a necessity. Despite what a lot of the misinformed would have you believe, if your not actively promoting your website, or don’t have the in-house skills to create great content, then blogging isn’t for you.
If your in any techy industry, chances are you should blog. Especially if you’re a specialist online business. A blog can give you the opportunity to get your brand message across, display your expertise and put a human face to your business.
However, if your a one-man-band plumber, with no writing skills or desire to write, blogging might not be the best way to fulfill your business goals
Be business focused – is blogging the best possible use of your time and resources? Is there any online or offline promotion you could be doing that will provide tangible returns? It’s important to remember that blogging is a long term strategy, a way of connecting with your customers and getting your brand message out there.
Blogging without the foundation of an awesome, well optimized website, established customer base and great writers is almost certainly a waste of time.
Often a website will write great, industry focused content. And that’s great, to a point. But there comes a time when you need to write for the people that will actually buy your product. You may gain kudos from competitors in your industry, if you produce in-depth content, analyzing topical issues. But are your competitors ever going to buy anything from you?
Find out the questions potential customers are asking and answer them? Visit forums, use Google’s “Discussions” filter and check out your competitors FAQs. Learn what the people need to know and create content that fills that need. Be sure to optimize the blog post around the question that’s your answering.
Create useful content that has a definitive purpose, and that can drive potential customers to the site.
The minutia of your businesses everyday goings-on is not blog worthy. It’s boring. Unless something major has happened i.e. you’ve won a huge client, hired a industry celebrity, won the lottery etc, we don’t want to know.
As with every post, reason with yourself. Ask the question:
If the answer is the latter, stop, reroute and go about your day. Wait until you have something interesting to blog about.
In a sense, a blog can be a promotional channel. But you shouldn’t promote directly through your blog, if that makes any sense at all. Sure, if there’s a special offer or competition, feel free to write about about. But blatant self-promotion drives readers away, fast. Keep it interesting – not every post has to sell something.
Sometimes, the best blog posts are the shortest. Don’t feel as though as though the company blog is an excuse to show your writing prowess. According to a recent study, only 16% of people read blog posts word for word. So make your sentences short, punchy, and easy to digest.
In my opinion, I think that it is important to remember that you’re not writing a novel. More often than not, you’re simply getting a point across. So make sure your point gets across in the simplest way possible.
No marathon paragraphs either. Try to keep them to 3 lines or less. Highlight the key words, statistics and phrases for the skim readers amongst us and steer clear of overly flowery language. I’m not saying that my way is the only way. Some bloggers write beautifully and are loved for their style.
But for most business applications, the easier to read it is, the better.
I always think that blogs should be written by people, not faceless organizations. For general company updates, using the company’s name as the author is fine. But please, allow people to blog under their real names. It adds the human element to your brand, breaking down the fourth wall between businesses and customers.
Do you run a blog for your small business? Disagree with anything I’ve said in this post? Feel free to leave a comment below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
This guest post was written by Tom Sizer-James, BDM at SEO Alpha, the Small Business Specialists. Visit SEOAlpha.net to find out how we can help your business grow. We love helping the little guys become big.
This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.