What separates strong, super-charged marketing blogs from the rest? 3 common mistakes …
Blogging can be a very useful tool in your marketing toolbox, but only if you do it right. A low-quality blog is pointless.
Imagine a blog run by a small business. Maybe it has poorly written posts, irrelevant posts, or just a glorified news board. I’ve seen all three. And you know my takeaway?
“These guys don’t know what they’re doing.”
I want to talk to you today about 3 blogging mistakes I see a lot of companies making. By the way, I’ve been guilty of these myself. Most bloggers have (if they’re being honest.) Mistakes are how we learn.
With that, let’s talk about the first big mistake:
1. Not having an overall strategy.
This was my problem for a long time. Still is on occasion …
I would write posts – good posts – that were pointless. They may have educated my readers, but they contributed nothing to my business.
I recently wrote a post about good Pinterest headlines. I don’t think it was a bad post. The information was good. But it had zero marketing value for me. You know how many of my clients hire me to write Pinterest headlines for them? Zero. No one has ever called me to inquire about it.
That post was a mistake.
It had nothing to do with my business, services I offer, or problems facing my target market. The time I spent writing it could have been better spent on following up with prospects, commenting on other blogs, or curating a post of actual interest to my readers.
Or I could have taken a nap. If I had, the result would have been the same.
Do I know how to write a good Pinterest headline? I do. Is that information relevant to my audience? Nope. They’re not using Pinterest as a marketing channel. It was pointless for me to post about it.
That’s an example of poor strategy.
So what does a good blog strategy look like?
To start with, you need to ask – and answer – some important questions.
The first question: Why are you blogging?
Are you hoping to drive search traffic to your site? Establish yourself as a thought leader? Are you blogging as a lead generation tool?
What result are you hoping to see?
Why are you blogging?
How you answer that question will determine what you write, who you write the posts to, and how you write them.
Where does your blog fit in your overall marketing plan?
Blogging without answering these questions is pointless. You may write exceptional posts. But the odds of you seeing good results are slim.
Consider the following examples:
- You write a fantastic post, full of great information – that your audience already knows.
- You write another great post full of useful information too advanced for your audience. Also pointless.
- You write a post about how your service solves your prospects’ problem. Good, right? Business is all about solving customer problems. But what if your customers already know your service solves their problem? Then your post is again pointless!
To illustrate that last point, let me share an example from my own business.
I write a fair amount of direct mail.
I don’t write posts about the value of direct mail in marketing. The people that would hire me to write a direct mail campaign already understand the value of direct mail. They’re looking to me for information on how to make their direct mail more effective.
Telling them what they already know (that direct mail solves their problem) doesn’t help them, and wastes my opportunity to show them why they should hire me instead of someone else.
I know who I’m writing to, and I know why I’m writing.
When someone lands on your blog, where are they in their buyer journey? Are they looking for a solution to their problem? Do they already know the solution but are looking to find the right provider? Knowing this information is key to writing relevant posts.
But let’s assume for the moment that you’ve got your strategy down. You know who you’re writing to, and you know why you’re writing.
If so, congratulations! Your blog is well on the way to being a marketing powerhouse – assuming you’re not making this next mistake …
And that mistake is?
The second thing that makes a blog pointless is …
2. Not having a call to action (CTA)
What is a call to action?
A call to action is the part of your post where you tell your reader to do something:
- “Download our free guide”
- “Call today!”
- “Sign up for our free trial!”
These are all examples of a CTA.
Why do you need a call to action?
People won’t do what you want them to do unless you tell them what to do (and how to do it.)
If you’re just looking to use your post as proof of expertise, then fine. You don’t need a call to action for that. But even then, it still benefits you to have one.
What makes a good call to action?
Tell the reader what they should do, and why they should do it.
“Tired of having your guest post pitches rejected? Sign up for my free email course where I share my personal method for getting my pitches accepted to blogs like X and Y and Z!”
Not only does this tell the reader what to do, it also tells them why they should do it. It makes a strong offer, assuming the reader has any interest in pitching guest posts to those particular blogs.
Here’s a great post to help you craft a stronger CTA for every post you write.
Alright. You’ve got your strategy nailed down, and you’re including solid CTAs in every post. That’s it right?
Almost. There’s one common mistake still to go – and a lot of bloggers are making it.
The third mistake I see that leads to pointless blogging is …
3. Being boring.
A boring blog is pointless.
Here’s the thing: Boring is dangerous.
It can make your reader question your expertise. Even if you’re in an industry that has nothing to do with writing. If your blog is boring, your reader may be left wondering why you couldn’t hire someone to write a better one.
“How good are they if they can’t even afford to put out a decent blog?”
Is that fair to you? Of course not! But it’s a question that will be going through your readers’ minds if your blog is subpar.
What kind of things make a blog boring?
- Constant self-promotion. “Buy our stuff! We’re the best!”
- Being used primarily as the company news board. “We hired a new whoever!” “Announcing a new whatnot!” “We’re going to be speaking at wherever.” Unless your news really matters to your customers, it’s boring.
- Saying nothing new, original, or unique. It’s just ‘there’. “Five tips to who cares about whatever we’re talking about? You’ve heard it all before.”
How many blogs have you read like that? How many of those posts do you finish? Or do you just click away?
Something to keep in mind: If you can’t bring yourself to write it, chances are good people aren’t going to want to read it.
Really, nothing further needs to be said about this.
A boring blog is pointless.
Lack of strategy, no CTA, and boring content – three things that will waste your blogging efforts.
But now that you know better, you’re ahead of the game.
Don’t let me scare you away from blogging as a marketing tool. It can be very effective if you do it right.
All those businesses that try blogging and give up, or see no results? Odds are it’s because they’re making some (or all) of the mistakes I talked about in this post.
Unlike them, you’re going to do it right.
Get to it!
Andy Duchow is a freelance copywriter. He helps clients put together killer direct mail and content marketing campaigns. Find him at Greenbay Copywriting LLC