Write a few hundred words of content, upload it to your blog and sit back and reap the rewards. Simple, right?
Well, yes – but explaining blogging in the above way is like explaining the rewiring of a house is just the pulling out of old wires and replacing them with new.
And it’s because of this why so many organisations get blogging wrong. We see it regularly every week, particularly when we speak to organisations wanting to develop their existing blog. Many make a great effort to maintain an effective business blog, but by simply not giving the resource the investment it needs, it becomes of very little benefit to the organisation.
A business blog of any kind is almost always going to be more beneficial than not having a blog in place, but there are numerous reasons why your blog isn’t as successful as you expect it to be and here we take a look at what you’re likely to be doing that’s ensuring your business blog fails.
1. You’re writing a few words every couple of weeks
One part of blogging we see organisations struggling with on a regular basis is content. They often understand how blogging works and how it can be of benefit, but they are unable to deliver the one thing that blogging revolves around – high quality, unique, interesting content on a regular basis.
Our piece from last week gives you some advice on how to get ideas for regular blog posts, but this is only one part of the process.
You’ve got the topic, but what angle do you come from? How do you bring your own spin on the piece? What do you do to entice the reader in and make them stay to not simply read that piece, but read other pieces on your blog? How do you write content which is long enough that people actually feel it’s of value, but not too long that it bores people and makes them click away from your piece?
And how do you do this two or three times of week?
It’s a common sight to see a blog failing because of a lack of content or not the right content. A blog really needs to be updated an absolute minimum of once per week – we always advise that two blog posts per week should be the minimum – and if you’re unable to deliver content that’s of interest to your readers on (at least) as regular of a basis as this, it’s likely to be one of the primary reasons behind your blog’s lack of success.
2. You’re not communicating, you’re selling
A blog is a communication tool. No matter what results you want to see from using it, they must all be based around your communication with your target audience.
The problem here is a lot of organisations mistake communicating for selling or promotion. Yes, a blog can be a fantastic sales tool and yes, it can help considerably when you’re promoting products, but you shouldn’t think of it as a platform upon which you can shout about your products or services solely.
As a blog is a communication tool, readers want to visit to be able to communicate – they don’t want to be spoken to. They want to be able to give their views on your blog posts and they want to feel as though the content you’re providing has been thought through and is truly useful to them.
Of course, every now and again throw in a piece about a new product you’re launching or a new service you’re about to run with – when you’ve got an established readership base, these blog posts can effectively mean you’re able to promote your new products or services to a ready and waiting audience – but you should always stick to the 80 / 20 rule, whereby 80% of your posts are of general, informative use and only 20% are for company promotion of some sort.
Stick to a full sales / promotion blog and it’s almost guaranteed to fail before it’s even got off the ground.
3. You don’t understand your audience
As we said above, a blog is a communication tool, but to truly utilise it effectively, you have to know and understand your audience – and be aware that as a blog is often seen as a more social platform, your online audience may be different to your offline audience.
It’s difficult to define your audience (in fact, it’s arguably the most complex part of the initial development of a blog), largely because if you are venturing into the online communication area for the first time, you are effectively entering blind. Research is always essential, but it can take a lot of time and effort to look at your potential audience according to your findings and continually develop your blog and content as you redefine who you’re writing for, until you eventually find the right content for the right audience.
By completely ignoring this part of the blogging process and producing content that’s not tailored in any way, shape or form to your target audience, it’s likely to be one of the key factors to your blog’s failure.
Blogging is a fantastic way to communicate with your customers, irrelevant of which industry you are in or who you target audience are. Done correctly, it can have a considerable amount of benefit, but it’s too easy for your blog to be a failure if you don’t know how to develop it properly and continue its effective implementation week in, week out.