The internet is full of dos and don’ts designed to help companies improve their blog’s power to attract leads. Unless you’re a seasoned blog writing pro, though, that’s a lot of input to keep straight.
We’ve distilled some of that guidance down and identified what we believe are the 3 most critical blogging mistakes companies make—because if you can tackle these, your blog has a fighting chance to attract prospects and turn them into leads!
1. Not blogging enough.
If you’re only blogging once or twice a month, you’re not getting the critical mass, traction and momentum you need to attract prospects to your website, get them to read all the content you’re offering, and eventually see you as a useful resource. Writing infrequently is better than not at all, but not by much. At a minimum you should be posting a blog once a week; ideally you’d be sharing ideas, tips, perspectives and insights at least twice a week. Keep in mind that if your competitors are blogging more frequently, they have a better chance of ranking high in search results, and in addressing one of the issues your prospects are having.
2. Not knowing if your topic really matters to prospects.
If you haven’t done some work to determine what your customers and prospects care about most, there’s a good chance you’re not going to attract them online. Too often companies blog about topics that are important to the company but mean little to their prospects. If, for example, you’re writing about the quality of your parts, the longevity of your business (“We’ve been in business since 1957…”) or your great customer service, you’re ignoring your prospects’ pain points. Rarely are prospects sold by what a company has to say about itself; they buy from the organization that demonstrates that it can improve productivity, reduce errors, simplify a process or eliminate production line downtime, as examples.
How do you find out what they care about? The way we learn is to interview clients’ prospects and current customers. That’s not always easy for the client to do because their customers don’t always feel comfortable “telling the truth,” so if you want to get a clear picture of what your prospects are thinking on, hire a firm to facilitate those interviews. Remember that even though you live and breathe your industry, you may not have the best perspective on your customers. Think price matters most to them? They're just as likely to reveal that it’s your product’s ability to integrate with an existing system that’s top of their list. You won’t know until you ask.
3. Your Writing is Not Providing Value.
After writing your next blog post, read it over and ask yourself, “What, exactly, am I giving the reader?” Unless prospects walk away from every post with a new idea, a better method, actionable steps, or simple tips that will help them do their job easier/faster/better, you’re not providing real value. I recently read a blog post by a well-intentioned professional who went on and on (and on) about the importance of being considerate in the workplace. While I don’t disagree in general terms with his point, it had nothing – at all – to do with the product he’s selling, nor in any way did it help prospects do their jobs.
What If I Don't Have a Blog Yet?
Our “3 critical mistakes” is also a good starting point for those of you who haven’t begun blogging. But there’s more you need to consider. If you’re in the process of establishing a blog, one way to determine how successful your efforts will be is to ask yourself, “What would I hate to see our competitors doing?” Get out a paper and pencil and write down all the things you don’t want your biggest baddest competitor to do. It might look something like this:
Blog a lot – multiple times a week – and in the process give their prospects (who are also MY prospects) valuable information they can use to make themselves more effective and their companies more profitable
“Cast their net” wider and deeper by promoting their blog posts and website on social media
Demonstrate their competitive advantage by talking about successes with customers
Position themselves as “the” experts
Help prospects in a way that will keep their company top-of-mind when that prospect needs a product or service
Now use this list as a starting point for your own blog strategy – and stick to it. Blogging is hard work and requires commitment; without both, your blog doesn’t have the power to attract prospects and generate qualified leads.