In the past, running a small business meant that your target demographic was solely local.
Your key customers were always going to be right there where you live or possibly from the next couple of towns over. However, times are definitely changing thanks to the Internet.
Now instead of simply vying for customers with the shop owner down the road, your small business also needs to be able to compete with similar businesses located in other parts of the country and beyond.
That said, the prime pick when it comes to location these days is no longer the best and busiest part of the town centre. It’s right there on the front page of Google where potential customers everywhere can see exactly what you have to offer.
Since Google favours websites that are regularly updated with valuable information, a small business site that includes a blog as part of their website is more likely to be noticed in all the right ways.
However, there are definitely right ways and wrong ways to approach small business blogging. Make sure that your company’s blog isn’t falling victim to any of the following common pitfalls.
1. Boring or Bad Writing
You know how you feel when you’re looking for information online and wind up face to face with an article that’s horribly written. The act of reading it can be a little painful, not to mention tedious, so the last thing you’re probably thinking about is purchasing services or goods from the author.
This is exactly how your potential customers will feel if they come to your site looking for answers, but find bad writing, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes instead.
Furthermore, Google, in their continual efforts to deliver the best most relevant content, are always coming up with new ways to weed out bad content.
Make sure you delegate the responsibility of running your company blog to a truly efficient writer. Even if your company is tiny, the chances are excellent that you have someone within your company that understands the basic principles of good writing.
If not, consider outsourcing the work to a professional writing firm or even a freelance copywriter.
Check out our post on the 5 Key Characteristics of Great Blog Content for more insight into writing brilliant, engaging content.
2. Being Overly Promotional
While it goes without saying that your small business blog exists primarily for the purpose of promotion, you really don’t want it to feel that way.
Successful business blog posts feel conversational, as opposed to presentational. They also focus on delivering information and entertaining the reader far more often than they do on hard-selling products.
Successful small business blogs work hard to provide potential customers with vital information that they need in order to make smart buying decisions.
They tackle issues, concerns, and questions that are important to their target demographic in a way that’s a pleasure to read.
3. Lack of Strategy
While it’s true that any good blog will give its readers the gift of variety to keep things from becoming too boring, it’s still important to have a clear strategy in place for your small business blog before you begin.
This means making sure your readers know what they can expect from your before they actually dig in, looking for the information they need.
Try thinking back to the days before you actually started your small business. What first inspired you to offer the products and services that you currently do? What were you hoping to bring to your community that wasn’t already there?
If you can successfully get back in touch with that initial passion and channel it into your business blog, your future readership will respond in a big way.
Planning your blog posts in advanced is vital, so consider putting together and using a content calendar to keep things organised.
CoSchedule content calendar
4. Lack of Personality
Blogs and small businesses actually have a lot in common. They both allow people to enjoy a more personal connection with the service providers they rely on, as well as offer a certain uniqueness that huge corporate brands can’t.
That said, it’s important to make sure your small business blog has a personality that reflects the values of the people behind it.
The best blogs leverage the personal experience of the business owner in a way that makes a connection with the reader.
Make sure your readers know they can trust you as an authority because you’ve been where they are and know firsthand how to solve their problem.
Offer a unique perspective on the subject you’re discussing instead of simply parroting everything other people are saying.
5. Failure to Take Advantage of Technology
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that while content is king; it’s not the entire picture in and of itself. Even the best blog content needs to be presented properly in order to maximise its potential.
Start by making sure your blog looks as much like an authority as it sounds. Make decisions about colour scheme, graphic design, and layout carefully. Hire a professional to handle this part of things if necessary.
Also, make sure that you’re making proper use of all the useful technology out there today.
Include social media markup to your posts to ensure they display how you wish when shared on social networks.
You’ll want to employ an analytics service (like Google Analytics) to help you gauge which types of posts attract the most notice as well.
Google Analyticator – WordPress Plugin
If you’re using WordPress there is a whole host of tools available to improve your blog and increase your productivity. In fact, there are so many tools available we collated a list of just the top SEO plugins your blog shouldn’t be without!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what the key mistakes to avoid are when creating a business blog? What works for you, and if you’re brave enough, what failed for you?
As always, leave comment.