So, you’ve been working hard to write blogs that drive traffic and sales to your business’s website, but so far, your efforts seem to be in vain. Despite your hard work, nobody’s showing up and you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for. To help revive your struggling blog let’s take a look at why your business’s blog is failing and how you can fix it with a sound blog strategy.
There are tons of great benefits to maintaining a blog for you business, many of which you’ve probably heard about before here and elsewhere. A business blog can help you build you brand, establish yourself as an industry expert, increase you customer base and expand your sales and conversions. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, there are so many missteps and misfires that can happen along the way–from irregular and boring content, to limited visibility and reach–that cause many blogs to flounder into oblivion.
If you feel like your blog is draining resources without return or just collecting cobwebs in a forgotten corner of the Internet, you’re not alone: many businesses of all sizes struggle to maintain an effective and useful blog.
The good news is that you can fix all of that. The first step in improving your blog is admitting failure. But let’s not let ego get in the way here. Keep in mind the words of Henry Ford: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
So, without further ado, let’s begin again by reinventing your blog:
1. You’re blogging about things that nobody cares about
Sounds harsh, I know, but despite all of your industry knowledge and passion for your company, you may be spending your time writing about topics that your target audience isn’t interested in reading. Too often the blog posts of businesses are little more than thinly veiled press releases, sales pitches or dry company news and developments. These types of blogs turn off readers and scare away potential customers.
Many forget to consider what their target audience wants and don’t develop their content from the customer’s perspective. Your products and services may come up occasionally as you educate your audience and demonstrate your industry knowledge, but it should be a soft sell at the most.
Here are a few ways to remedy this situation to deliver content that your audience can use:
- Develop “buyer personas” to develop a deeper understanding of your target audience
- Consider the everyday concerns and needs of your audience and what types of solutions they might be looking for online.
- Ask your audience what they want to read! Utilize your social media platforms to learn more about what they’re looking for directly from the source.
2. You have no editorial calendar
Often times businesses don’t plan out their blog posts in advance and merely fly by the seat of their pants, writing posts occasionally, when it occurs to them. The problem with this approach is that it creates inconsistent content because the blog is almost an afterthought that is tended to after everything else (if at all). Readers have a relatively short attention span and will quickly lose interest in your blog if your content suddenly drops off for a week or even after a few days in some cases.
An editorial calendar can help you maintain consistent posts through scheduling and planning. You can even develop content in advance to have it ready for release throughout the week. Though you also want to be sure you’re paying attention to current developments so that your posts remain relevant and topical to what readers are looking for on a given day.
3. Your blog posts don’t rank in Google
Many businesses fail to see how effective their blog can be for boosting their SEO results. Or if they are aware, they aren’t quite sure how to get their posts to rank well with Google and other search engines. Sadly, if you’re not showing up in search results your reach will be very limited and you won’t be gaining the potential exposure that will make your blogging efforts worthwhile.
There are several key components to getting your blog posts to rank in Google and other search engines:
- Make sure your blogging platform is optimized for search engines – Many CMS platforms, especially WordPress, are designed to help you improve your ranking and offer a variety of tools to increase your results.
- Utilize relevant SEO keywords and phrases in your blog posts without overstuffing or using outdated SEO tactics.
- Create fresh content frequently (with the help of your editorial calendar and audience targeted posts).
4. You have no distribution plan
Like the tree falling in the woods, you’ll never know how effective your blog posts could be if they aren’t being distributed to a wide audience. Often businesses just assume that people will stumble upon their blog when they visit their website or that it might happen to show up in search results. This nonchalant approach leaves your posts dead in the water, rather than letting them set sail to more readers through an effective distribution that capitalizes on your efforts.
To create an effective content distribution plan, there are a variety of approaches to consider:
- Gather emails and develop a newsletter (see the next step for email capture tips).
- Create a solid social media strategy for distributing your content.
- Connect with influencers in your industry to help increase your reach and distribute your content further.
5. You don’t utilize email capture
With so much talk about social media marketing these days, many people forget about how effective good old-fashioned email marketing can be. Email continues to be the backbone of communication for most companies and individuals. It’s often the first thing we check in the morning and the last we look at before bed. Yet, many blogs don’t offer email capture. If you’re not collecting the emails of your readers, there’s a good chance you won’t get them to come back to your blog. Poof, there goes another potential customer!
Collecting emails will enable you to distribute your new blog posts to people that have already shown an interest in your content. The more points of contact you can create with your readers, the more likely they are going to convert into customers. You can also utilize your email list down the road for special promotions. A great way to encourage people to sign up for your email list is by offering them an incentive, such as a free e-book or ODF with valuable content.
6. You use lousy images (or none at all!)
If content is king, just think how powerful an image could be considering it’s worth a thousand words. Yet, most businesses squander the power of images by using generic, boring photos or, worse yet, no images at all. In the age of short attention spans, blog images can grab the reader’s eye and draw them in to read the blog post. If you’re using overused stock photos, you’re site is going to lack a freshness and compelling look that attracts readers.
Excellent blog images can not only attract the attention of your readers, but also help to establish the credibility of your business and blog, increase engagement, and increase sharing and likes on social media. When finding an image for your blog post, consider these criteria:
- Choose images that are relevant and add value to your post.
- Opt for highly detailed, colorful photos over bland, generic images
- If you can utilize original photos, do so. But if not find stock photos that aren’t overused and are engaging.
- Overlay text and your company logo or name over the image, as it will help grab attention and help build your brand wherever the image appears (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
7. There are no related posts
Attracting readers to your blog is only part of the battle; keeping them on your site is the real challenge. But if a reader gets to the end of a blog post and there are no suggestions for further reading of related posts, then they’re very likely to split, even if they loved your brilliant post. If you’re not offering your readers related posts in the same genre or by the same author, then your blog is destined to disappear into oblivion.
Offering related posts to readers can bring a variety of benefits to your blog, including:
- Generating longer visits and return visits
- Showcasing your previous content
- Creating embedded links for better SEO
Many CMS platforms offer built-in options or widgets for related posts, but you can also use outside services to add the feature to some blogs. A few of the options include clickable thumbnail images for relevant posts, flyouts or pop-ups at the bottom or sidebar with suggested content, or links at the bottom of a post with related content.
As I mentioned in the beginning, don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel that your business’s blog is failing. Look at it as an opportunity to reinvent and improve your potential. The biggest mistake that a business can make when it comes to creating a blog is being unwilling to change. This resistance can come from a certain stubbornness or blind insistence that you’re on the right course, but more often it comes from neglect or failing to prioritize your blog strategy as an effective marketing opportunity. The key is to make a conscious decision to reinvigorate your blog and develop methods, such as editorial calendars and email newsletters, to help make your blog a part of your regular marketing efforts.
What challenges have you faced in developing a blog for your business? What strategies have you found to be most effective your blog? Let us know in the comment section below.