There are a few things you should include in a business blog to make it work. We’ve talked until the cows come home about content planning. SEO has received more than a passing tickle. And of course making sure your blog is easy to read, skim and take information is common sense. Especially where word of mouth is concerned.
But there are a couple of common mistakes that are preventing potential customers sharing and engaging with your content. They are surprisingly easy to fix, too.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the 4 things that make your business blog suck.
A lack of social media sharing options
Tweeting, pinning, bookmarking and posting are the mainstay of our social media existence. Many a blog (including mine) would not enjoy the success it does without social media.
Yet many business blogs don’t make social sharing easy.
Now I am not sure how easy certain websites are with implementing social media sharing on a post level, but let me tell you something.
If you are working with the WordPress developer who doesn’t know (or has no interest) in social media sharing on your blog, FIRE THEM.
WordPress has so many social media sharing plugins you can make use of. Most of them are free. There’s Shareaholic (I use that), Sharexy, Flare and a variety of others you can choose from.
One of the biggest battles any startup or small business faces is getting people to share their content. To engage, endorse and share that word of mouth. It’s the best possible endorsement your blog and your company can get.
Why do you want social shares?
1. It’s free word of mouth for your business driven by the reader to their friends, family and fans
2. It’s an SEO ranking signal for most of the major search engines. After all, if people like it enough to share it, it must be useful!
3. It allows you to see that your content marketing efforts are working by seeing how many people like and share it
4. The aim of the game with content marketing is to focus on distribution
Gain maximum coverage from interested, intrigued and activated readers. Make it easy for them to share your content marketing on their social media!
Using caps lock to make a point
Dear web designers,
STOP SHOUTING AT ME WITH HEADLINES AND PAGE TITLES!
Dear Business bloggers,
You don’t NEED to emphasise YOUR POINT. My reading voice is CAPABLE ENOUGH.
Caps lock doesn’t make you stand out. Not for the right reasons, anyway. It’s not a substitute for emphasis. Let the reader choose the moments where extra attention should be given instead of demanding it.
Caps lock looks amateurish, especially when it’s included in the body text. It makes you look intrusive and foolish. It’s yelling in social media.
Get rid of it.
Shouting online and off should be reserved for those moments where danger is about to occur. It is not a substitute for emphasis within a text or in lieu of a reason to read it.
The curse of the pop up
Pop ups can be tricky devices. They help you convert sign ups. Or they can send people screaming from your website.
There are a couple of things you can do to ensure your pop up journey is positive rather than negative.
Make sure you test your pop up on web, mobile and tablet.
The most common pop up error is not testing a pop up across multiple devices. A pop up that overshadows a page on a mobile is especially dangerous.
Think about it when you use mobile search. For me, it’s when I am looking for somewhere because I am hungry and don’t know the local area. Or if I am chasing a particular item and can’t be bothered trekking all over town. Or because I’ve just remembered I need something and I’m trying to find it while I am out.
When you’re out and about with money burning a hole in your pocket, the last thing you want is to have a pop up block what you are looking for. No one is going to try again when they are in a hurry, they’ll simply move on to the next listing.
So always make sure your pop ups don’t screw up on different devices.
The premature pop up
When someone has just landed on your page and you pop up asking “like this content? Sign up for more of my amazing insights…”
It’s like a waiter crash tackling you before you’re even seated. Or spraying you with perfume because you happen to walk past the makeup counter.
In short, it’s a massive turn off.
Don’t interrupt your customers to ask if they want to make a commitment to your mailing list until they have a reason to do it.
Or heck, don’t even use a pop up and opt for an email capture at the base of the content instead. That way, you don’t interrupt the customer’s train of thought. Don’t be so keen to get an email sign up that you ruin the customer’s experience.
Every business blog you write should have some key elements interwoven into the content in order to work.
1. It identifies a problem a reader may be having
2. It solves a problem for the reader
3. The solution is one that will ease the pain
Whimsical observations about how many coffee beans Joe the copy boy can stick up his nose have no place in your business marketing. If you want a customer to take 3 minutes out of their life to read your opinion, make it worth their bloody while!
This includes staying away from the same boring topics everyone else in your industry covers. Writing only for SEO is 5 years too late. And writing to flatter your own ego or pretend you are a celebrity is just tedious.
Always make it applicable to the customer’s life. Or don’t blog. Simple.
Business blogging is about discovery
If your customers want to read your blog and share your content marketing, make it easy for them. It should be smooth and gentle like a Labrador’s ear. Not full of traps and bites.
Make it easier to connect and people will be far more likely to do it. If you place ownership on your reader to manually share your content, make it easy and worthwhile.
It’s the best way to say thank you to them for popping by in the first place.
And it will make the time and effort you put into content marketing worthwhile.