Blogging can be an effective marketing strategy, but are you doing it right? Here are six common mistakes that small-business owners make with their blogs — and how to fix them.
1. Every post is a blatant advertisement. It’s fine to occasionally write about a fabulous new product or service your small business offers, but don’t be relentless and push the sales pitch down your readers’ throats with every post. Instead, talk about hot-button industry topics, provide useful how-to advice, or share your expert insights on a common problem your prospects share. In other words, provide the kinds of information that will keep people coming back for more.
2. You don’t engage your readers. If you’re not paying attention to your blog’s comments section and responding to readers’ reactions, you’re missing the boat. Comments are a sure sign that your content hit its mark, so give people the respect they deserve: Make a point of reading and responding to comments every few days.
3. People can’t easily share your content. If you’re not providing a social-sharing widget to make it effortless for readers to share your posts, you’re losing out on an opportunity to expand your readership. Plenty of social-sharing widgets exist for WordPress and other platforms, and they’re a snap to implement – even if you’re not a web designer. You’ll get more clicks and new subscribers by offering readers an easy way to promote your blog for you.
4. Your content isn’t optimized.
Search engine optimization isn’t difficult to achieve. Make sure your blog’s titles, sub-headings, and body content feature relevant terms. Use alt tags for images, and always add keywords and descriptions. If your content management system generates a default URL that consists of mumbo jumbo, edit it to match the title of your post. All of these things will help your posts rank higher in search results.
5. You aren’t including images in your posts. Images add visual appeal, make large blocks of text less intimidating, and increase the likelihood that an article will be clicked and shared across social media. In fact, Buffer increased its social reach by 10 percent by simply incorporating images into its messaging. Stock photos are affordable these days, and you can use free, high-quality images under a Creative Commons license. (Be sure to read usage guidelines carefully to avoid infringing on anyone’s copyright.)
6. You fail to promote your blog. Blogging is not an “if you build it they will come” scenario. Share your posts across your social networks, do some guest blogging on high-profile websites, and make sure your blog is visible on your company website. Add value to other relevant blogs with informative, useful comments, and link back to your own blog — but avoid comment spam.
Making some simple changes to your blog content and promotional strategy can foster loyalty among your readers and enhance your brand reputation. The end result? Your small business is top-of-mind, and you’ll make more sales without heavy selling.