Okay, I can already hear a collective sigh going out. Business blogging easy? Unless your company is one of the few businesses that get this right, you probably think that I am a little nuts right now. Many businesses try and fail at getting a successful blog off the ground.
Some find that their content barely gets any attention at all. Others find that the blog gets a lot of visitors, but that these seldom turn into viable leads. It seems like a lot of wasted effort until you realize that people, in general, read ten blog posts a day.
Want to know something even more important? Americans spend three times as long reading blogs as they do emails. That means that if you are trying to get information about your product out there, a blog is a more effective tool than an email.
I’ll bet that you are willing to give that blog another try now, aren’t you? Suddenly the effort seems a little more worthwhile, doesn’t it?
In this post, we will go through what most companies are currently doing wrong and how you can avoid the same mistakes. We’ll also look at tools that make blogging a breeze.
So, what are the cardinal sins when it comes to blogging?
Not Enough Content
This is where a lot of companies go horribly wrong. They post to their blogs every once in a while, when they remember. The problem with this strategy is that it makes the blog reasonably static. If readers know that you are not providing new content regularly, why would they bother to visit?
Correcting this error is relatively simple – set up a blogging schedule and stick to it. Ideally, a short post every day or every other day will keep people checking in regularly. That said, it has to be compelling content, worth reading. (We’ll go into that in more detail in the next point.)
If you cannot provide good content every day or two, set up a weekly blogging schedule instead.
Contrary to popular belief, a 400-word post is not your best bet. For blog posts, just over two thousand words seems to be the magic number. It is enough time to sink your teeth into a subject, but not enough time to get bored.
The statistics don’t lie – posts with more than 1500 words receive an average of 68.1% more tweets and around 22.6% more Facebook likes.
What does this mean for your business? A solid post of around two thousand words once a week can have a much more beneficial effect than five posts of 400 words. If you have limited time available, focus on one longer post a week.
And then set your blogging schedule. The average blog post receives the most traffic on Mondays, so it could be helpful to post it at the same time every Monday morning. Have the post ready to go by the Thursday or Friday of the week before and then use one of the blogging tools to schedule it.
That way, when the time comes on Monday, it will be posted and ready for consumption, no matter what how busy or distracted you get. Stick to this schedule like clockwork and you will train your readers to start looking out for new content as it comes out.
Also, if your readers know exactly when you are going to post new content, they are more likely to stay engaged. They don’t have to waste time heading over to a blog with the same old stale material.
Another reason to update your content regularly is that it will help your blog to rank higher in search engine results. Google, for example, marks older content as less important. There are a lot of other factors that come into play with SEO, but providing a fresh, weekly post is an easy one to manage.
The Wrong Type of Content
Now we get to the crux of the matter. There are those companies that post content religiously once or twice a week, some of them even daily. They get in PLR articles written specifically for their company, but they find that they still aren’t making the kind of headway that they would like.
In these instances, you will generally find that the content is either too technical for the average reader, or that it is not something that they find useful.
For example, an article that goes into great scientific detail about the organic chemistry of one of your primary ingredients is only going to interest a selected number of many people. Ask yourself one question, “If I were a layperson, would I understand what was going on in this article?”
Generally speaking, people want the simple facts that they find interesting. So, for example, saying that the primary component in your Eucalyptus oil is Cineole, and then going on to explain that Cineole is a “monocyclic monoterpene ether” at length is not likely to score you points with the average person that uses the oil.
On the other hand, keeping it simple, and explaining that Eucalyptus has significant anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will be more interesting. You can do one post on the basic properties of the oil, and link to a page on your site where people can read the scientific information if they want.
Follow it up with a “How to” article on using Eucalyptus oil to help treat sports injuries, including general tips on other First Aid measures like applying ice, etc. and you have more chances of hooking your readers.
The next post could be about using Eucalyptus oil in a diffuser or something similar. It’s about providing information that people will be interested in and then ensuring that there is a logical flow to your posts.
Quick Exercise: Choose one product that your company sells and write out everything that you know about it. How it is made, how it is used, etc. Now have a look at that information. How can you turn that information into something people will be interested in reading about?
Is there something about the origin of the product that people might be interested in? Let’s say the raw materials are sourced in Thailand, for example. An article about the area it comes from, with lots of lovely photos might work well.
What about the product itself? What about a tutorial about its use, or alternative things it can be used for? What about the people that work for you? Do they have interesting stories or hobbies that they could blog about?
When you use your blog to connect with people on a level that they understand, you start to show that your company has a human side as well. This helps people to relate to the company better. Who doesn’t want the plucky start-up with the great ideas to succeed?
How many people care about a faceless corporation that has no idea of how to connect with them personally?
Tools that Make it Easy
Let me make it even appealing to you – blogging is not that hard. With the modern blogging tools at our disposal, it can be downright easy. Here are some examples to whet your appetite:
- The WP Robot Plugin: These help to find content that is relative to your site and link to it, enhancing the value of your website to your users. It can help you find photos to go with your content, aggregate RSS fees, and a whole lot more. Auto-blogging tools like this can make blogging a breeze.
- Grammarly: There is nothing worse for your SEO ratings than poorly edited content. Grammarly can be helpful in picking up spelling errors, grammatical errors and correcting your punctuation. Another feature that is useful is that it makes valuable suggestions about the words used. It scans the text, and if it finds commonly used words or words that are often repeated in the text, it will suggest alternatives. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a replacement for a thorough proofreading, but it does make the process a lot simpler.
- Yoast SEO: This is another WordPress plugin but one that you can use for free. There is a premium version with more features but try the free one first. It analyzes your posts and tells you how to improve readability.
- WordPress Hosting: I have focused more on tools that work with WordPress because it is the easiest software to work with. Going into which company offers the best hosting for WordPress is beyond the scope of this article. You can choose from a number of different companies – just be sure to check the reviews before signing up.
Templates Are Tools Too!
I know that companies are advised against using a generic template when setting up their website. I am not a fan of the generic in that space either. In blogging, though templates can work well. Create one that works for your content and run with it.
Once you have a basic idea of the layout, use something similar in new posts. It creates a sense of unity on your blog that can be quite appealing to readers. They will always know exactly where to find the information that they are looking for.
It isn’t boring because you will be changing up the content and pictures with each post. And, once you find a design that your market responds to, it is a simple matter of plugging in the new information and images.
What Should Each Post Contain?
Start off with adding in images. It could be a gorgeous photo of the topic you are blogging about or an infographic that summarizes your main points. Blogs with pictures get 94% more views in total. Take advantage of this.
Use relevant images that are of high quality and have them sized for the web to reduce the overall file size. (This will help to improve the load time for your blog.)
Then write an excellent introduction, detailing precisely what the post is going to be about. If you are targeting specific keywords to attract traffic and you can add them naturally, use them. It is essential that the keywords blend seamlessly with the text.
If you cannot get that right, then you shouldn’t bother with the keywords at all. By the same token, keywords should be used with care throughout your whole post.
They should never constitute more than 2% of the total content, or the search engines might view this as keyword stuffing. That reduces the blog’s credibility in the search engines eyes and could lead to the post not ranking well.
Take time with your introduction because it is likely to be used as a snippet by the search engines when displaying search results. Make it interesting enough so that readers will want to read more.
Regarding the content of the post, we have spoken already about the length of the post. Aim for around 2000-2200 words. That is a big block of text, so do make sure that it is easily scannable.
Do this by:
- Using headings and sub-headings as appropriate. This makes it easier for readers to see exactly what is covered by the post. They can scan through in seconds and see if they want to read it.
- Use shorter sentences and avoid verbose language and overly complex wording.
- Keep your paragraphs short – no more than three, or at a shove, four sentences at most.
- Use bullet points. These are easier to scan for readers as well.
- Use the active voice. This keeps the writing flowing along at a nice rate and reduces the complexity of sentences.
- Round everything off with a comprehensive conclusion, and you are ready to post.
Share the PosYou can set up an automated system that will share the link to your social media pages automatically. Don’t forget to send links out to your staff as well. A lot of companies underestimate the value of this one simple step.
Your staff are likely to share the post if they feel it is interesting. Their friends and family will see it and probably share it as well. That is potentially a lot of social equity without having to pay a cent.
Enable sharing on the post and embed buttons for the major social media sites so that people can easily share your post. The simpler you make it, the more likely they are to share it.
Provide great content on a regular basis, and your blog will become a valued resource for your readers. This is one of the best SEO decisions your company can make.
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