Content is the future of digital marketing, right? And blogging is the cornerstone of any content marketing campaign, right? So, why is it so hard?
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, then you’re probably more than a little frustrated. You started blogging, maybe you’ve been doing it for a few months now, and yet you’re just not seeing any results. No comments. No shares. No customers.
Chances are you’re making a few critical mistakes that are costing you a readership. Here are seven of the most common blogging blunders that prevent blogs and brands from gaining traction:
1. You’re Too Self-Centered
This is a bad habit left over from the early days of blogging.
You see, when blogging first became a “thing”, all you heard about were these diary-esque personal blogs that somehow exploded into popularity. These blogs didn’t ever offer any value… They were simply one person’s insights and ramblings, and for some reason they were popular.
Well, that reason was because the Internet – and the way people use it – hadn’t fully developed yet. Blogging was new and cool, and all you had to do to garner a readership was write well and post regularly.
Now things are different.
Readers aren’t interested in irrelevant ramblings, however quirky or poetic they may be. The personal blog is a thing of the past. Instead, readers want high-impact content that helps them improve their lives.
So, even though it seems backwards, you shouldn’t focus on your product, your brand or your business. Especially if you want people to remember your product, your brand or your business. Instead, focus on how you can help your readers. Everything you write should be for THEM, not for you.
2. You’re Forgettable and Bland
You don’t have to be a good writer to be a good blogger (although it certainly helps). You do, however, need to have something interesting to say. You need a personality, a “feel”, to your writing… Something identifiable.
There’s this little thing that writers like to call voice, and that’s what you must develop.
The best way to express your voice is to write like you’re literally having a conversation. Imagine someone sitting right behind your computer screen, listening and nodding their head as you speak (or type).
It takes time and practice to really find your voice. But, your blog will become much more memorable when you do.
3. You’re Inconsistent
Effective blogging may be conversational, but it is not leisurely. It’s not something you can do “when I feel like it” or “if I have some extra time”. You will never stumble onto motivation… It takes discipline. Devotion. Consistency.
Fortunately, there exists a myriad of tools to make maintaining a consistent blog posting schedule easy. In fact, WordPress has a scheduling tool built right in. Take one or two days every couple of weeks to write a few blog posts, then you can publish them at an interval of your choosing without any extra work.
Consistent blogging may take discipline, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult.
4. You’re Not Engaging with Readers
One of the most appealing aspects of blogging is the relationship it builds between you and your audience. More than any other platform, blogging puts you in touch with your readers by allowing – even encouraging – response and interaction.
Unfortunately, blog commenting has become associated with spammy Internet marketers over the past several years. For this reason, many entrepreneurs and business owners disable commenting all together.
This is a huge mistake!
While you do have to filter your blog’s comments, the relationship it allows between you and your readers is well worth the extra work.
Another important avenue of reader engagement is social media. Establish a presence on the most popular and relevant social platforms. And no, that doesn’t always mean Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes it’ll be more valuable to spend your time on Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn, or even a place like Quora. The important thing is that you are available, approachable and responsive.
5. Your Titles Suck
One of the frequently flaunted facts about Internet users is that you have ~5 seconds to capture their attention. Some sources say it’s as brief as 2 seconds, some say it’s as long as 8 seconds, but you get the point… Your title MUST convert visitors into readers. Otherwise you’re literally leaving customers on the table.
If there were one aspect of persuasive copywriting to learn about, it would be headlines. Knowing how to push emotional buttons and elicit reactions is a very powerful tool to have in your blogging arsenal.
6. You Don’t Know Your Audience
The best blogging requires more than just good content… You need good content that your readers wantto read. That’s why audience research is a crucial part of blogging.
Learn how your audience thinks. Learn what they want, and what they’re not getting from other blogs. Create a persona they can empathize with. More important than what you write is who you’re writing to. Most bloggers write to themselves, and it costs them. Write to your audience, even though it’s more difficult. It takes research, planning and empathy, but it’ll pay off.
7. You Have No End Goal
Blogging is more than giving people something to read… It’s giving people something to respond to. It’s giving them an action to take, a place to go, a thing to do.
I highly recommend that you go over your blogging goals before every single post you write. Make sure that your objective is fresh in mind while you’re writing. You’ll see yourself accomplish your objective much faster that way.
Now that you’ve read them, how many of these blogging blunders are you making?
Can you see how or where you’re losing potential customers?
What other blogging blunders do you see yourself or others making? Do you see any in this post? (go easy on me!)
I hope that this guide has helped you plug some of the holes in your blog’s marketing plan. Aren’t you ready for your blog to gain popularity? Get out there and put these tips into practice!