Don’t waste the time, effort, and money to keep your blog going if you’re not bringing in readers and keeping them engaged.
Think about it. Why do you have a company blog? What are you trying to accomplish?
If you’re like most companies, you’re probably trying to:
- market your products or services,
- establish your company’s identity or brand, or
- answer common questions and address customer concerns.
How well do you think you’re doing against those goals?
I’m not asking how well your content addresses marketing, branding, or customer service. You may have fantastic content that’s right on target – but if no one reads it, you’re batting .000 when it comes to reaching your blogging goals.
Here are the top 9 mistakes companies make with their blogs, and how to fix them.
1. No One Can Find Your Blog
When visitors come to your website, how do they find your blog? There’s probably a tiny little menu item at the top (or worse, at the bottom) of the page that says “Blog,” right? Why would anyone click on that?
The Fix: People read blogs that they find interesting, useful, entertaining, or that offer something tangible as a “reward” (for example, coupons or special offers). So show what you’re offering by featuring the latest blog post (or more) on your home page. Let visitors see what’s in it for them if they click through to your blog.
2. No One Can Share Your Posts
How are people going to find out that your blog exists? You can’t assume that they’ll randomly find your website and click through to the blog.
The Fix: Make it easy for readers to share your posts by incorporating share buttons into each post. Try Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. And if your blog has lots of images, don’t forget to share on Pinterest and/or Instagram.
Don’t forget to include an email share link. Emailed articles get a lot of clicks because they’re usually received from a friend whose recommendations you trust.
3. No One Knows That You’ve Posted an Article
Established blogs often get most of their traffic from email subscribers. Is there a way for readers to subscribe to your blog so that they automatically get your latest post? Is it easy for them to find that subscription box/button?
The Fix: Put a “Subscribe by Email” form at the top of each page (usually in the header or sidebar) AND at the end of each post or as a slide-in or pop-up when someone gets to the end of the article. If someone has read all the way to the end of your post, they probably enjoyed it and will be more inclined to subscribe.
I use ConvertKit (aff) as my email service provider, in part because they include as many opt-in forms as you like for use in a variety of locations. Simple to use and set up, and all in one account. Definitely a plus.
4. There’s No Consistency
People like consistency. They like to know that there’ll be a new post waiting for them at 9am every Tuesday, or at noon every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If they don’t know when you’ll be posting, how do they know when to visit your blog?
The Fix: Choose a posting schedule and stick to it. Make your schedule reasonable – something that you can do week after week, with a high level of quality. Put someone in charge of keeping the blog going. For a smaller business, this may be the owner; for a larger company, it’s usually someone in Communications, Marketing, or PR.
5. There Are Too Many Distractions
OK, a new reader has found your blog. Congratulations! Now what? Which of the dozens of links, promos, and images do they click on now? Tests have shown that readers are easily distracted by all the ‘bling’ on websites – so much so that they never even finish reading the posts.
The Fix: Keep it clean and simple. Get rid of all the extraneous stuff, including links to all the departments, product lines, or services your company offers – direct readers back to the main website for that. Keep the blog focused on blog posts.
Consider having your blog be full width – meaning there’s no sidebar to distract readers.
6. Your Posts Are Too Long
A half-read post is as bad as a post that no one reads.
The Fix: Keep it short and sweet. Most blog readers won’t read more than about 500 words. If you find your post going over that, break it up into a multi-part post – that’s also a good way to encourage people to come back.
7. There’s Nothing New to Read
Yada yada yada… Readers want something new – something they haven’t seen elsewhere. Industry trends, widely-published studies, and rehashing the same old topics will quickly turn viewers away.
The Fix: What’s unique to your company, products, or services? What are industry experts, customers or the media saying about you? What milestones have you reached? How are your products linked to emerging issues? All you need is one truly new or unique piece of information and people will come back for more.
8. You’re Making People Feel Stupid
“This customer obviously doesn’t understand how to use the product.” That’s a direct quote from a company’s Facebook page. And whose problem is it that the customer may have used the product incorrectly? Certainly not the customer’s. We tend to make things so complicated, wordy, and “insidery” that many people give up even trying to understand it.
The Fix: Assume your readers don’t know the acronyms, jargon, personalities, or events in your industry. A brief explanation will do but be sure it’s simple (but not dumbed-down) and helpful. And never, never, never call a customer stupid!
9. You’re Talking About Yourself
We all do it – we tell readers all about ourselves, our fabulous products, and our superb services. But is that what they want to read about? Nope. They’ll click that “Back” button and be out of there in a heartbeat.
The Fix: Talk about the customer. Show how to use your product. Answer customer questions. Post photos of your customers with your product (even link to photos and videos posted by customers). Show customers that you understand and appreciate them – after all, that’s why you’re in business, isn’t it?
And now over to you – What have you done to keep your company blog interesting and engaging? Share your ideas in the comments below!