1. Choosing the wrong topics
Easily the most common mistake I see in business blogging is companies not writing on topics relevant to their audience.
They’re not using their blog to answer questions their prospects have as they navigate their way through a purchase decision.
Instead, these companies use their blog to talk about themselves.
They write content that is more fitting as company news than as educational content. And for the most part, your audience doesn’t really care who got promoted to VP of Sales, or what local sports team you sponsored, or who won your annual three-legged race.
They’re trying to solve problems of their own, not watch you high-five yourself.
So what’s the fix?
Talk with your sales team. What questions are prospects asking during sales meetings? What are their primary concerns they want addressed before they buy?
Nearly every question a customer asks is a potential blog topic.
In fact, over the years of looking at the top-performing blog articles from hundreds of companies, I’ve identified several blog article types that customers actually read spanning across all business types.
For inspiration, check out 17 Business Blog Topics Your Audience Wants You to Write.
2. Not publishing frequently (or consistently) enough
If you’re going to blog, you ought to do it right.
And a big part of doing it right is doing it frequently and on a consistent basis.
If you’re only publishing once per month or sporadically with quick floods of content followed by long droughts and the occasional sprinkle, you’re not going to get great results.
For clients that work with IMPACT, we promote a minimum of one blog article per week with two to three articles per week as the norm.
Why should you publish frequently?
For starters, every blog article you publish casts a wider net in search.
Your prospects are researching purchases online and have lots of questions. The more questions you answer, the more likely you’ll bring them to your site.
More content also means more opportunity to keep them engaged on your site as they continue to learn from you.
Regularly publishing content also shows search engines that your website has a healthy pulse.
Search engines will send their bots to crawl your site more frequently to check for new content if they know you’re cranking it out at a consistent cadence.
Therefore new content will get indexed faster and able to rank higher more quickly than if you only publish every couple of weeks or intermittently.
3. You don’t have a content manager
Putting out high-quality blog content frequently isn’t an easy accomplishment.
For best results, you need someone in your organization to truly own the content.
And that’s why you need a content manager.
In general, a content manager has many duties including creating the editorial calendar; researching, writing, editing, and publishing blog articles; posting to social media sites; developing premium content; and reviewing analytics.
Too often, companies try to get by on an “everybody pitches in” approach, and while I applaud any company that can get buy-in for their content marketing, you will still need a centralized person whose sole responsibility is to hold it all together.
Without this role, your efforts will undoubtedly unravel.
4. Content not user-focused
The first three mistakes are ones that affect getting started or the content strategy.
However, the majority of blogging mistakes I see occur on the page.
The most egregious of these is that the content doesn’t have the reader in mind.
Instead of using the content to answer questions and truly help buyers make a purchase decision, the article instead turns into a promotional piece.
And, as consumers, most people’s defenses are up. If they land on an article to get answers and instead get a company chest-puffing piece, they’ll leave and find the article that is right for them.
So what’s the solution?
We’re not saying you can’t promote yourself at all in your articles, but you do need to tone it down a bit.
We ask our clients to follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of a blog article should be educational and only 20% should be promotional.
Really consider the question from the buyer’s point of view.
Why are they asking the question? What is their intent when searching for answers? How can you answer the question without constantly referencing yourself?
In some instances, like that of a review article, we suggest that you introduce yourself in the introduction of the article to establish why you should be trusted for the answer, make the body mostly educational, and then remind readers in the outro that you sell the products and services you discussed.
5. Articles aren’t comprehensive enough
I’ve had many clients tell me, “we’ve been answering questions on our blog, but we’re not getting any traffic to those articles.”
But when I review their blog articles, I often find them very short and lacking substance, but it’s not all about length here.
Rather than focus on length, you should focus on answering the question at hand fully.
People shouldn’t finish your article and be left unsatisfied with the answer because if they do, they’re going to leave your site and continue their search.
On the other hand, it’s clear search engines prioritize blog articles that are fairly lengthy.
And there are statistics to back this up.
In two separate studies by SERP IQ and Backlinko where they reviewed the average length of copy for the top 10 results for millions of search queries, they both found that the top answers were close to or over 2,000 words long.