Blogging is easy, right? All you have to do is pick a topic, throw together a paragraph or two and the job’s done. Well, that seems to be a common perception – but it’s quite far from the truth. Effective blogging is a specialised marketing skill. A good blog has the potential to make your brand a household name, while a bad one can see you relegated to cyber-obscurity. Fully conscious of the irony in blogging about blogging (call it meta-blogging, if you like), we are going to go through the five most common mistakes that bloggers make, why they should be avoided and how you can steer clear of them.
Formal tone and content
A blog needs to be a quick, easy read, written in a conversational tone. If you make it too stiff or fill it with jargon, your readers are likely to click elsewhere before they even get past the first paragraph. Relax, think as if you’re chatting to a friend and then say what you want to say in the simplest, most informative way possible.
Too Broad or Vague Topics
Nothing annoys a reader more than clicking on a link only to find a blog that doesn’t deliver the information it promises or offers too little substance. This is often the result of a topic that is too broad, tries to cover too much ground or offers only basic, general knowledge on the subject. Once you have chosen your subject, zoom in and pick a very specific aspect of it, then address that with a sharp, narrow focus. Try to ensure that the reader sees your topic from a different angle.
This is probably the most common sin in the blogosphere. Keep your content original, use your own voice and viewpoint and never copy and paste. There are only so many ideas under the sun and it’s often necessary to draw on the ideas of your colleagues, but should you need to do so, make sure you cite your sources clearly.
No matter how good your blog is, it will have a diminished impact if you just post at random, writing on whatever idea comes to mind and not following a schedule. A reader can spot this randomness a mile away and it flags you as sloppy or unprofessional. Before you start writing, develop a content plan that serves your marketing goals. Then execute that plan according to a carefully drawn-up content calendar.
Not Substantiating Your Argument
Just because a blog is informal, that doesn’t mean that you can make statements without backing them up. It may not be an academic essay, but you still need to show proof for your conclusions or at least demonstrate your grounding in your industry’s norms, standards and news. Make sure that you use data and quote sources where necessary. Aside from covering your bases, it will also add gravitas and credibility to your work.
Luckily, if content generation isn’t your forte, or if you need a guiding hand, there are always experts to help. Contact WSI to discuss your marketing content and planning needs.