Harsh, I know but many need a wake up call when it comes to blogging for business. It’s true that of the 172 million blogs out there, many quit or stop posting after just 3 months. And then there’s the oft-cited yet misunderstood Dartmouth study noting the declining use of blogs by businesses — based solely on the list of Fortune 500 companies, which varies from year to year. Food for thought — maybe it’s not your customers, the Fortune 500, Dartmouth, or the fickle SEO weevils that can’t find your content.
Maybe your blog sucks because of you. Or, more specifically, because of something you forgot to do. That’s OK. The first step on the road to recovery is knowing you have a problem. Here are six things you may have missed when launching your business blog.
Not Aligned with a Business Goal
When launching a presence on any social platform — whether it’s Pinterest or a blog — you need to clearly define your business objective. What are you trying to accomplish with this blog? Without a defined objective you’re rudderless and setting yourself up to fail. The latter comes down the line when you or others complain that you aren’t seeing any results from your blog. How could you, without a clear goal established from the start?
Not Fully Realized
Beyond the cornerstone of a strong goal, many blogs never build the next level on to that critical foundation. With a clear business objective anchoring your blog, what type of posts does this direction lend itself to? How-tos, interviews, short overviews, deep dives, or some combination there of? It’s not enough to know what you are doing with your blog. You also need to know how you are doing it. This will lead your blog to be a unique voice in your space that customers are eager to hear from and share with their colleagues.
Weak Call to Action
Having a strategy is a step in the right direction but you aren’t there yet. Several blogs still forget to ask for what they want within the context of the individual posts. Moreover, you need to understand at what stage of the sales funnel your blog conversations are occurring at. Are the posts working to generate leads or direct sales? Or is it something even further up the funnel like building awareness and expertise? Or maybe it’s newsletter sign-ups. Whatever your ‘ask’ is don’t forget to ask it.
Internal Focus vs. External
A common blogging misconception is a focus on internal company affairs rather than serving the needs of your community. Forget posting company news, awards, press releases, and photos from the office Christmas party (if people want that, make an internal blog or intranet site). Focus your company blog externally on helping your customers solve problems and research topics around your category.
… or lack there of. Harsh again, I know, but there’s simply no polite way to say that many blogs fail because they aren’t well written. Again, that’s OK. There are ways around this too. Of course, as an employer you could simply hire better writers but few today are looking to add overhead especially in marketing. That’s where a variety of external resources can play a role. Maybe a freelance writer can “punch up” a rough draft created by your marketing team or the subject matter experts you have on staff. Another option if the writing itself is acceptable but the content is unfocused, consider hiring a social strategist to help you set your editorial calendar and review posts.
The Last Resort
After spending a whole post telling you not to give up, it’s worth noting that there are simply some businesses where time and resources could be better spent elsewhere. But these are few and far between. Take a long hard look at the advice above before calling it quits.
Your blog is the content hub from which you share, engage, and create social conversations around your brand. Facebook can’t and shouldn’t replace your blog. You need a home base — that you own and can gain the SEO benefits from — to point all of your social outposts back at.
What’s your excuse? Better still — what are you waiting for? What steps are you going to take to get your blog “off the blocks in the front yard”?