Blogging is a pillar of successful digital marketing initiatives. But I didn't have to tell you that, because you've certainly heard the buzz by now. But blogging is changing. With increasing demands on quality and length of content, blogging is becoming less of an add-on and more of a major component of business websites. This comes with a substantial time investment, which yields great returns for some and leaves others wondering why their posts aren't delivering the traffic and customers desired.
Creating high quality educational or entertaining content is essential to attracting and engaging prospects and customers. But even the best blog in the world isn't worth much if it's not getting visits, earning you social mentions, and contributing to your marketing funnel.
After putting in all the effort of thinking up, writing, and editing a blog post, getting zero response can feel a lot like this:
We know consistency, originality, and usefulness are among the top facets which make a blog popular and valued by readers. But today I'd like to explore the opposite side of things, and talk about a few reasons blogs sometimes don't get the attention and sharing they deserve.
So, what's holding your blog back?
Your promotion strategy is stale
Routine is a good thing. It keeps us organized, it helps some of us stay calm, and it usually lends itself well to accomplishing important tasks. But sticking to the same promotion routine for every single blog post doesn't lend itself well to diversifying the eyeballs viewing your posts or ensuring you're driving heightened interest.
If you've been sticking to the same process (send a Tweet, post on Facebook, call it good) you're robbing your blog of the opportunity to bring new, qualified traffic to your site. Try diversifying with a few or a lot of these tips from the always helpful blog of Jeff Bullas, or check out this article on Savvy Panda.
On top of that, try blogging and promoting the post at optimized times. This can be accomplished with strategic analytical analysis in applications like HootSuite, which can suggest optimal posting times for engagement.
Your content is not reader friendly
Getting people to your blog is an accomplishment in itself. But getting people to stay on and actually read your blog constitutes another major hurdle of its own, since a high bounce rate is not something any writer wants to earn.
We're often told, "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." This holds true in sharing our opinions of our friends' fashion sense, in declining date offers, and also in blogging.
As it turns out, people don't come to blogs to read 10,000 word articles written in 5-7 sentence paragraphs. Rather, they're looking for easily digest-able and simplified content.
When I first started blogging, this was a tough one for me to grasp. After all, we've spent years in education systems telling us to write in a uniform format. But after a little practice and a lot of reading blogs on my own time, I've come to appreciate and embrace the rules of blog simplicity.
When you first begin brainstorming a blog post, consider ways in which you can fragment your ideas in sections, bullet points, or numbered lists. Do a little blog browsing of your own, and you'll find the most enjoyable posts are the ones that flow quickly and intuitively.
Your post is all text, no pizazz
There's no denying that copy plays an important part in blogging. But as digital experiences shift toward image and video formats, multimedia is becoming a critical component of well-loved blogs.
This can be in the form of related videos and pictures, or could even translate into you shifting your communication medium. Consider exploring an entire video blog post, or creating an infographic instead of simply listing statistics.
In addition to adding a little bit of enjoyment to your messaging, this also supplements the point made in #3, as videos and pictures are a great way to break up blocks of text.
To see this concept in action, check out the Zappos blog:
You're not fostering social sharing
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes a blogger can make is to invest hours of time into creating an intriguing piece of content, and failing to adorn that article with social sharing options for their readers.
We know that social media is huge, and we know that word of mouth recommendations are invaluable – both of these concepts can be leveraged by providing social sharing features on a blog.
Never assume your readers will do the "hard work" of copying, pasting, and tweeting your blog URL on their own. Streamline the process with sharing buttons, and you'll see a significant increase in the spreading of your post.
If you need some help setting up social buttons, check out this article from Social Media Examiner.
You're making content for you
This rule is another one which took me a little while to get a handle on.
As bloggers (or marketers and business owners who suddenly find themselves blogging) it's easy to write the kind of content you'd like to read. Inserting your unique voice and covering topics of personal interest is what makes it fun after all, isn't it?
Yes, but no.
If the purpose of your blog is to educate and attract customers, your subject matter and writing style should be fine-tuned around them. The number one rule of business blogging is to know your audience, and speak that audience's language fluently.
Creating the posts that your buyer personas and target audience find the most valuable can be achieved in a couple ways. You can try talking to your sales team, and writing a few blog posts covering recurring questions they get about your industry. You can talk to your service department, and write a handful of articles on the subjects most inquired on there. You can even go to social media and perform searches on topics relevant to your business, and write some pieces informing on that subject matter.
Wherever your topics come from, make sure they are always reader-centric and focus on informing, helping, and inviting discussion. I'm not advocating for the complete removal of voice and personality in blogging – that would be nonsensical – but I do suggest utilizing the messaging which resonates best with your unique audience.
Are you blogging consistently, and not seeing the return on time investment you anticipated? I encourage you to assess your participation in the practices above, and try shaking up your standard blogging routine.
Sometimes, one bad habit is all that's holding you back!