If you’re a freelancer or run your own business; without a doubt – having a blog should be one of the top things listed on your marketing plan.
Blogging today isn’t what it used to be five years ago. Today, just about everyone blogs. There’s a lot more competition in terms of new companies rising or people deciding to become freelancers for a living.
You need a way to stand out, and a way to connect with your audience or customers.
Many people think that starting and running a blog is a piece of cake. That might be true if you’re only doing it for some fun on the side. But when it comes to having a business blog – that’s a whole other story.
I belong to a fantastic bloggers group and I’m also signed up to one of the best blogs-about-blogging out there right now. That’s where I’ve picked up these tips. But I’m by no means perfect – I’ve definitely done a couple of these no-nos…
What about you….how many of these do you recognise in your own writing?
5 Common Business Blogging Mistakes
1. Taking the phrase, “business blog” literally
There’s nothing that puts me off a business blog faster than when the person writing it writes as though they’re talking to a bunch of experts. When it’s boring and full of useless information – and quite clear that the only reason why they’re writing the post is so that they can rank high in Google searches – I switch off immediately.
This is not the way to engage with your readers. Your blog needs to pull in readers and make them interested about your company or your services. You’re certainly not going to do that by boring them to sleep or making them feel stupid.
A blog needs to be: engaging, interesting, or entertaining.
Above everything else, a blog needs to be worth someone’s time to read it in the first place.
2. Getting a little too familiar
It’s one thing to write a long and boring post about everything and nothing at the same time, it’s another to write just for the sake of writing.
Ever come across those business blogs where the author tries as hard as possible to get all chummy with the readers? Slang, smiley faces, LOL’s, *high fives* and the likes… No, no, no – business blogs are definitely not the place for this.
Blogs are incredible ways to communicate with an audience. Not to talk AT or lecture them; it’s a place to have a conversation with them as well as talk about what your post is about.
You can do this by asking questions, setting up a poll within your blog, and replying to comments left by readers.
3. Stealing images
I’d read about only using certain images when I first started blogging, but honestly – it seemed like such a schlep so I didn’t bother. It was so much easier to type something in Google and look for images and download them from there. DON’T do this. Not unless you’ve got some money lying around in case you get sued by the person who took the photo or designed the image.
No, I wasn’t sued – luckily (I spent weeks changing all my images on articles, etc. though), but I know of a blogging friend who was…not fun.
There are tons of websites that offer free images to download, just make sure you do your research and bookmark them. Two of my favourites are:
- Flickr – do an advanced search for creative common images
4. Starting out on the wrong platform
Marketing and advertising costs money – it’s a fact. Don’t try and take the cheap way and save some money by setting up a free Blogger or WordPress.com website. In the long run, it just isn’t worth it.
When you set up your own domain (not through Blogger or WordPress.com) you have unlimited freedom to do what you like with that domain. In other words, you can set up advertising space, change themes if something isn’t working, customise it to suit your business, etc. Your hands are pretty much tied if you don’t go through something like WordPress.org. All of my blogs are on this platform and I love it. It definitely takes a bit of getting used to though. I’m not tech savvy at all. I used to ask my husband (a self proclaimed computer geek) all my techy or blog questions. Now, I Google tutorials or check on YouTube. I play around with the back-end theme to my blogs and figure it out. If I can do it, so can you!
You can also head over to my blogging friend’s blog – Fabulous Blogging – for some basic step-by-step tutorials on different themes, how to change from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, how to add plugins, etc. Go on and check it out, it will be worth your time – I promise.
5. Writing only when the mood strikes
I can’t tell you the number of business blogs I come across that haven’t been updated in months – or even years. What’s the point of having a blog if you’re not going to post regular blogs? Not having time or things to write about is a lame excuse, I’m sorry. There are tons of writers out there looking for some experience who would be more than happy to help out a company with some of their blogging needs.
There are hundreds of things you can blog about. Here are a few ideas for a company blog:
- A weekly or monthly interview focusing on one of your employees
- Interesting information on some of your products or services
- What’s happening in the news today as related to your business
- A competition or promotion that your company is currently running
When you have a business blog, you need to post on a regular basis in order to increase readers and traffic to your blog. After all, that’s what every business is about, isn’t it? Gaining new customers and making money. By doing this you will also give your existing readers a regular reading routine and something to look forward to which they could end up mentioning to their friends…word of mouth.
Having a blog for your company or business is a fantastic way to connect and interact with readers or customers. But there’s a certain way to go about it. Follow these tips, and think about what YOU would want to read on another blog, and how you’d like to portray your business.
Image credits: smarnad and Salvatore Vuono – freedigitalphotos.net