Businesses are utilizing blogging more and more in recent years and for very good reason.
Leveraging a blog as a platform for creating valuable and audience-centric content will give you the edge over your competition, especially if you do it properly. Awesome blog content fuels your social channels with custom-created content, helps your business rank for keywords and positions you as an educational authority in your industry.
All too often, however, businesses misuse blogs. The result? Turned off audiences, spammy rants and search engine penalties.
These are the seven deadly sins of business blogging. Read them, grasp them and avoid them at all costs.
One of the most common issues that organizations face is that of brevity. I’m talking length and word count.
Take one look at a blog, and you’ll immediately know if it’s worth your time based on the length of articles. Search engines do much the same and potentially downgrade a site’s ranking if content isn’t of a high quality (measured in part by word count).
If you cannot consistently fulfill a post length of 300 words or more then you’d best find someone who can or put the pen down altogether.
Why 300 words or more you ask? Anything less usually includes less-than-useful content types such as: short announcements that should be reserved for a scrolling site banner, stupid anecdotes and the slush of everything random that a company wants to say in the digital space, but doesn’t know quite what to do with.
300 words or more signifies a worthwhile read. Points are not only introduced, but developed in depth for readers to gain knowledge from.
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The point of a blog isn’t to announce every event, happening and development of your business. That’s what the “News” section is for (and if you do that, please do us all a favor and stick to a press-release-ish form).
The point of a company blog is to share relevant advice, thought leadership and educational material for your audiences to view, digest and share with their networks.
It’s not for job postings–it’s for advice for nailing the job search. It’s not to discuss who retired–it’s for having that person offer their top five career tips from their long, successful adventure.
Blogs are a jealous and needy bunch. They require your attention, your focus and at the very least a blog post on a biweekly basis.
There’s nothing that will make you look worse than an outdated blog. When you set out to create a blog, set out to cultivate content on a consistent basis. This is a commitment–not a booty call.
Sure, you might not have time for twice a week, or even once a week, but if you don’t have ideas or time for once biweekly then you’d best find a champion who can or forget it altogether.
If you’re running a political, or opinion-editorial blog then by all means please keep ranting.
I’m talking about the kind of irrelevant ranting that spans infinite topics with no common theme, thread or purpose. When you set out to blog you should have a goal in mind.
What do you specifically want to write about? Is it related to your industry or anything effecting your industry? Who is it targeted for? What theme ties it all together?
Blogs are an excellent opportunity to help your business rank for industry and audience-relevant keyword phrases. Blog articles equal indexed pages and indexed pages equal search-engine-optimization secret sauce (if done properly).
Too many people crank out blogs with the worst titles you’ve ever heard of. These dreadful titles fail to describe the post and are missing vital keywords.
The same goes for the on-page copy–all too often articles are missing easily applicable keyword phrases that will better position your organization in search engines.
Another common mistake is missing meta descriptions, which in 140-words describes your post to someone stumbling across it on social media or a search engine. If you don’t custom tailor your own–focusing it on getting someone to click the article link–then social media platforms and search engines will randomly generate one for previews across the digital space. This is never a good thing.
Some businesses may have multiple blogs, either spanning across different URLs or within them.
Naturally, people sometimes feel the need to copy and post the same, exact article in all of them or across multiple sites. There’s nothing search engines hate more (except maybe black hat SEO specialists in general) than this. They see it as spam.
Whatever you do, do your best to avoid the exact, carbon-copy reposting of articles across the internet. This will result in rank penalization by search engines.
This doesn’t mean you can’t share these articles. Stumble them, Facebook them, Tweet them and submit them for features.
As harsh as it may sound, sometimes the issue goes beyond all of the above. Sometimes business blogs just plain suck.
How do you avoid sucking? Research your audiences and be on-point with your content.
What do they read? What are they looking for in a blog? What’s been written about? Was that information right or wrong? Can you add to the conversation? Where? Will this answer the questions of prospective and current customers? Will it be helpful? Will it be worthwhile?
Next, invest in some high-quality players. If there is a talented writer on your team then have them write the articles, even if you want to white label them and say the CEO wrote it. If there is a talented designer then have them design the blog post graphics. If all else fails, hire an inbound marketing agency or freelancers specializing in your topic areas.
Do everything you can to create a fine product. Audiences don’t want you to suck–they want you to rock it through and through every time you sit down to crank out an article.
After all, it’s your brand’s reputation on the line. What does your blog say about your brand?
Did I miss any sins?