Small businesses have it rough. It’s difficult to consistently get your message or product in front of your target audience. You were probably told that you have to have a website (you do) and you should really start a blog for that website (you probably should.)
Adding a blog to your business’s website has some solid positive effects, like improving your SEO and building trust with your audience. However, maintaining the blog takes planning, time and energy, which are likely to be in short supply.
Make sure your content is working for you and avoid some common mistakes small businesses tend to make when writing their blog posts.
1. Posting for the sake of posting
The first rule of blog club is there is no blog club. Wait, that’s not right. The first “rule” most people talk about when blogging is: keep it consistent.
While it’s helpful to keep a content schedule (or at least attempt one), don’t fall into the camp that posts simply to check that item off the list.
If your content isn’t solving a problem for your audience, there’s a low likelihood that anyone will read it. This equates to lost time and does little to further your business.
Enter content strategy. When you have a plan, it really streamlines WHAT you should blog about after you determine WHY you’re talking about it in the first place.
Since the internet is drowning in content, a good strategy to make your content stand out, is to make quality content (as opposed to churning out more quantity.)
2. Not Using a Mobile Friendly Writing Style
You’ve heard by now that a majority of online content is accessed from mobile devices. While your own stats will waver based on your industry and audience (have you checked your analytics recently?) more people are searching for and finding information on their phones or tablets.
Believe it or not, this does matter. As you’ve likely noticed, the screen size is different. This means there is less width to work with when it comes to mobile. People also tend to scan, so keep these things in mind when writing for your blog.
- White space is your friend.
- Break up longer, run-on sentences into shorter, digestible ones.
- Add visual media like pictures videos, infographics.
Don’t go overboard though, overwhelmed screens often lead to high bounce rates. Make sure to take a preview look at both your desktop and mobile views before hitting publish.
3. Not repurposing their content
You just published your (monthly/weekly/whenever you get to it) blog post to your website. Time to sit back and let the potential customers come to you, right?
No. Sharing is caring. If your content is valuable (and it should be) you want it to get to the people that need it. Social media is a natural choice.
You can make social post multiple times about the same blog post. If your blog post is particularly popular, you should definitely be posting on social media about it multiple times.
Now comes the repurposing. Make that content work for you in more ways. Can you take that same information and use a different medium? A blog post can easily become a YouTube Video, freebie template or downloadable opt-in. The more you can create from your original post (or posts, if it’s an eBook for example), the less bandwidth you need to continuously create brand-new content.
4. Using outdated SEO practices
Making sure their content has perfect SEO gives many small business owners anxiety. However, since Google is always updating their algorithm, those small business owners haven’t kept up with current SEO practices.
First of all, you don’t have to pick one keyword and use it verbatim a certain number of times within your post. Pick your topic and have some keywords in mind. Use it in the title, headings, and sparsely throughout your post.
In addition, you should use slight alterations and related keywords. If you are using the same phrase too many times based on the length of your post (keyword stuffing), it may actually hurt your ranking in Google.
Google’s end-goal is to offer the best search engine experience possible to its users. Their algorithms are sophisticated enough to pick up on content within the text.
Additionally, the more “natural language” used within your post, the better. For example, changing the order of the words in a keyword phrase (or long-tail keyword) when it suits the sentence structure.
No matter what your SEO approach, remember that quality content now outweighs keyword density and the like. In order to rank higher and get found, your content has to be relevant and well-crafted.
5. Being TOO comprehensive
It’s easy to want to explain EVERY little detail about a topic in your industry. After all, that’s why you have a business because you like it and are good at it.
Unfortunately, the general population (and even your target audience) may not have the attention span for all the details in a single blog post.
While long form content can perform well, you’ll need to cut out as many fluff words as you can. Talk to your audience on their level. Unless your ideal customer is extremely familiar with your industry, keep the jargon to a minimum. Necessary complex terms should be briefly explained.
If a thorough and extensive piece of content will help you generate more conversions (like many B2B companies) consider writing a case study or white paper instead of a blog post. You could even turn this into an opt-in offer for a future campaign.
6. Not Checking the Analytics
How many views did your last post receive?
Where did they come from?
What’s your best performing blog post ever?
Do certain kinds of posts generate more traffic? Social shares? Leads?
Not everyone is into the numbers. I get that. But if you are going to attempt content marketing as a viable strategy, you have to measure the outcomes. You’re not just posting for the sake of posting, remember?
Even getting familiar with the basics of your analytics can help figure out how your customers are finding you and why they’re seeking you out. From there, you can make more of the content that works.
Who’s Writing Your Content
Can business owners write and publish their own content? Of course, they can. Small business owners wear many hats.
But if the thought of maintaining your blog gives you a tension headache just thinking about it, consider outsourcing that job to a freelance writer.
Give me a shout. Together, we’ll build a plan that takes writing content off of your plate and makes it work to meet your business goals.