Blogging Mistakes Corporate Blogs Still Make
Sometimes I see stupid blogging mistakes that are so fundamental that they render a corporate blog useless. At the same time
it’s often easy to fix many company blogs once you know what to do!
It’s nothing I make up, I’m not talking about blogs that are already established. I am speaking mostly of corporate blogs that either started recently or are more or less alive for a few years already.
By now most business owners have understood that you need a blog to be seen on the Web.
In case you want to get people to buy these days you first need to get their attention either directly or succeeding on search and social media where again you need a blog to send people to.
Installing WordPress, telling someone with basic copywriting skills to blog from time to time and expect huge results doesn’t work though.
Here are the actual mistakes that are very common with business blogs run by companies:
Ugly or not Customized WordPress Theme
Many business blogs get neglected. Nobody is really responsible for the blog in the company. It has been set up by the sysadmin one day and has never been touched ever since in many cases.
In Germany people do not even translate the WordPress themes properly. People who really read blogs get put off by such negligence.
It’s really impolite to force your French, Spanish or German readers to “post a comment” just because you were too lazy to translate it in your theme.
Also using a default theme made by WordPress itself is like saying “look, this blog is unattended”. It’s not ready yet.
It’s not a big issue to customize a WordPress theme depending on your business objectives.
Do you want a lot of meaningful engagement and content sharing? Do you want to collect leads or even sell on your blog? You need to embed this functionality on the blog like a second skin.
There are high quality WordPress themes for free these days you would paid thousands of dollars 10 or 15 years ago. Take a look at these sites for high quality boutique themes:
Rare, Irregular Postings
A blog is like a mix of a diary and a daily newspaper. Both of them require daily attention ideally. Publishing regularly helps to build an audience of returning visitors.
Three posts a week are enough to thrive once the blog works but anything below two posts a week is not enough to capture an audience and make it stay.
In case you really only manage to blog weekly or monthly at least make sure that it’s somehow regular.
Try to publish at the start of the month or at the end of the week so regular readers know what to expect and when.
Some people tend to believe that every blog posts has to be huge and perfect so they spend to much work on the one ideal post while their audience goes somewhere else.
It’s a bigger blogging mistake not to blog frequently than to blog often and make some mistakes while at it.
There is an exception to this rule of course. Brian Dean of Backlinko has become a huge success by publishing articles just a few times per year but working like up to 100h on one resource!
You can combine both frequent and high quality posting by going evergreen content though as Brian shows as well. The solution? Updating it regularly. I constantly update my existing content, often for more than 10 years.
Impersonal, Public Relations Writing Style
Whenever I see a post by “admin” I assume the blog is either a splog or of poor quality. When your writers have names it’s still not enough.
In case people aren’t allowed to voice their own opinions and have to abide by strict corporate rules of dealing with the public the result is writing that becomes
- public relations
Talking at people instead of talking with them results in a monologue nobody listens to.
Don’t broadcast, try to start a conversation with each post.
Blogging is not about advertising your company or your products. Blogging is about the reader. What does s/he like, need and want?
Give it to the reader as often as possible. First of course find out who your readers are and what they like, need and want.
Use real language you would use with your friends at a party without corporate newspeak, lots of buzzwords and self important superlatives. In case you’re awesome let your audience tell you so.
Long, Fuzzy or Cryptic Headlines
Corporate blogs often talk gibberish! Even those from Google are cryptic! It’s often very difficult to understand what a post is about.
Often it starts with the most important part of a blog post, the headline. It should be both enticing and still explaining what it’s about.
A leading blogger can call his blog post “this is it” but you can’t.
You can do it when you have a regular audience but how to get one that devours each of your postings?
Make sure you can motivate the casual readers that happen to visit your blog to stay and read the posts actually.
No, Tiny or Downright Wrong Images on Posts
Most people are so busy on the Web that they scan texts and lists of headlines instead of reading! People increasingly just view the images that appear along the posts.
- No image
- a tiny image
- the wrong image
may mean that they don’t even look at your headline. An image catches the attention so add one, make it big enough to be able to discern what it shows and this should be really eye-catching.
Do not just illustrate your words with a matching but perfectly boring image nobody cares about.
The image should also work by itself. So always ask yourself whether you would like to show the image to someone else because it’s so striking or whether it just works when you read the text.
Many blog posts about Google just feature the Google logo but that’s not enough of a let down: they often feature the old Google logo that has been replaced years ago!
No Value Proposition on the Post Level
What is the actual value you provide via your blog? It’s not purely self-promotional (one huge ad) I hope.
- Does your blog save time for your readers because you curate resources for them or summarize current developments?
- Does your blog enable and empower your readers to “do it yourself” whatever you are blogging about?
- Is your blog eye opening to the extent where your readers can change their mindset?
What is the exact value on the post level you provide?
How do you word the value proposition? An
- “best of
is a great value proposition for time saving. A
- “how to”
value proposition is great for DIY posts. Just make sure every single post has a value beyond mere self-promotion of you and your products and services.
Self Centered Choice of Topics
Do you think you are the most important person in the world? Well, a lot of people think like that, that’s why they are not interested in you.
Readers want to know more about things they care about. Why should they care about you?
Unless you are a hyper-established brand like Apple that can get way with anything literally you do not want to talk about yourself all the time on your blog. Your blog is not about you, it’s about your readers.
Thus even in cases where you write about yourself make sure to add a benefit to such posts for your readers. Make them replicate your successes or learn from your failures.
Cultivating an Audience on Third Party Sites
They need critical mass as fast as possible so they can sell their users back to advertisers. The more users the better, thus the influencers are hailing each new platform.
I made the same mistakes with a few platforms like Google+ for example. Luckily I always focused on my blogs so that the lost time and effort hasn’t been as bad.
What will happen when Facebook shuts down your account?
Or when is not the cool kid on the block anymore like happened my MySpace, Friendster and the likes before them? Will you still have an audience? Make sure to get people to subscribe to your blog via
- push notifications
Focus your social media efforts on bringing your audience back to your own place, your blog.
It’s Not that Hard to Fix These Mistakes
You see these are pretty basic mistakes, nothing spectacular you can’t overcome once you can identify them as mistakes.
Invest some time and effort and you can not only fix those issues but also will be able to reach more people and convince them to stay with you.
Most importantly: always blog as a person and never as a company exec.
Your kingdom are the people who read your blog but don’t forget we live in a democracy not a monarchy so you can’t force them to read your blog.
* Creative Commons image by William Cho