Blogging is the foundation of a solid content marketing plan, and every business should have a high-quality blog that is updated often and consistently with useful, educational, and entertaining posts.
Unfortunately, many bloggers, including business bloggers, make common blogging mistakes that can destroy their chances of reaching their goals.
Are you making blogging mistakes?Here are 10 deadly blogging mistakes you must avoid at all costs via @susanguneliusClick To Tweet
If you’re using a blog for content marketing, then your primary goal should be to directly and indirectly increase brand awareness and trust, word-of-mouth marketing, sales, and loyalty. If you’re making blogging mistakes, then your chances of reaching that goal drop dramatically.
You can avoid making these mistakes by understanding what they are and developing a blog strategy that prevents you from making them.
With that in mind, below are 10 blogging mistakes you should avoid at all costs to ensure your blog and your business are successful.
1. Publishing Duplicate Content
Publishing duplicate content is one of the most effective ways to reduce search engine traffic to your blog.
Don’t let that happen!
Google and other search engines want websites and blogs to publish original content, so take the time to write high-quality posts that offer your expertise, stories, tips, warnings, and opinions.
Keep in mind, duplicate content doesn’t just refer to content that has already been published by someone else. That’s plagiarism, and it’s illegal. Duplicate content also refers to republishing your own content.
Bottom-line, if Google crawls your blog post and identifies the text as having already been published elsewhere online, the content could be flagged as spam.
Google penalizes sites that publish duplicate content (even if it’s your own) with lower search rankings or by banning those sites from search results entirely.
2. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is another search engine optimization (SEO) spam technique that will get you in trouble with Google if you’re caught doing it.
In simplest terms, keyword stuffing happens when you use a specific keyword or keyword phrase too many times in a blog post or on a web page.
For example, if you sell pearl necklaces, and you want your post to rank at the top of search engine results pages when people search for pearl necklaces, then you might be tempted to use that phrase repeatedly in your blog post.
Don’t do it!
Keyword stuffing could hurt the search results for that blog post and your entire website.
3. Publishing Thin Content
Thin content refers to a blog post or web page that adds little value to users. Remember, Google’s goal is to deliver the best results to users based on their search terms, and that typically means a page needs to be filled with useful information to rank high in search engine results.
Not only will thin content not rank well but it could also be flagged as spam.
Examples of thin content include pages and blog posts with little more than a list of links on them (this includes blog post category pages), images with no text, duplicate content, some affiliate or syndicated content, and automatically generated content.
SOLUTION: Again, your best solution to this mistake is to make sure you always publish high quality, original content that adds value to the user experience by helping, educating, or entertaining them.
4. Failing to Cite and Link to Your Sources
While it takes a few extra seconds to cite and link to your blog post’s sources, this is a step you should never skip. First, it’s good writing practice to cite your sources. Second, it’s common courtesy to give credit where credit is due, and third, you could get into trouble if you don’t.
The original author or source of the idea, fact, data, or news that you write about in your blog post will naturally be upset when they discover you’ve taken credit for their work (and it’s very likely that they’ll find out).
This could damage your reputation online and cause far-reaching problems that lead to lost sales.
Trust me when I tell you that you’ll get caught. Savvy online writers and businesses monitor their online reputations and their content (and so should you).
I frequently find websites and blogs that have copied my content, ideas, tips, and more. It’s not cool, and you don’t want to tarnish your brand by doing it.
SOLUTION: The solution is to work with blog writers who understand the written and unwritten rules of writing great blog content. Only then can you be confident that your blog will help your business rather than hurt it.
5. Promoting Your Business and Brand Too Much
No one wants to read a blog that is filled with self-promotional posts. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Would you want to read a blog that’s self-serving and includes little more than a series of written ads?
Most people read ads to be educated, informed, or entertained, so your blog posts should do one or more of those things.
That doesn’t mean you can never promote your business, products or services in your blog posts. The key is to do so when and where it’s appropriate.
Launching a new product? Blog about it. Have a sale coming up? Share it in a blog post.
Just don’t publish self-promotional posts more than you publish posts that educate, inform, or entertain your audience.
SOLUTION: Make sure 80% or more of your blog posts are not self-promotional and only 20% or less are self-promotional. This is a balance that most people are willing to accept without feeling like they’re reading a bunch of ads with little or no value.
6. Skipping the Editorial Calendar Creation Process
You might not feel like taking the time to create an editorial calendar for your blog, but you need to do it. Not only does a comprehensive editorial calendar keep you organized, but it also saves you time in the future by cutting out the time it takes to come up with new blog post topics every time you want to publish a post.
Think about how long it takes you to come up with a topic for each new blog post that you write. Now, imagine how much more productive you’d be if you had an editorial calendar to look at which tells you exactly what to write about each day.
An editorial calendar keeps you focused and ensures you stay on a path to meet your goals by creating content to move your audience through the marketing funnel.
Without a calendar, you’re simply throwing darts at a dartboard and hoping something sticks. That’s not smart for your business.
SOLUTION: With a strategic editorial calendar, you can be certain that you’re covering the topics that matter to your audience and integrating your blogging efforts into your omni-channel marketing plan.
7. Writing for Yourself, Not Your Audience
When you write blog posts, you might want to write about topics that you like. However, are those the topics that matter the most to your audience?
Remember, when you’re writing content for a business blog, you’re writing for a target audience, not for you.
Therefore, all content must represent your brand consistently, and it must meet your audience’s expectations for your brand.
What content is your audience willing to accept from your brand? What topics make sense for your brand to write about and act as an authority on?
You don’t want your blog post to become the topic of the next negative viral story, so be careful and purposeful in your writing.
8. Failing to Publish New Content Often Enough
Google and other search engines like fresh content, so it’s important that you publish new content on your blog frequently. Follow the recommendations for how often to publish content on your blog based on data, and create a publishing schedule that you can stick to.
Think of it this way – every new blog post is a new entry point to your blog and business website where people can click around, get to know your brand, and make a purchase.
In addition, every new blog post gives people more ways to share your content across their social media channels, and it gives you more content to share in your own social media profiles, in your email newsletter, and so on.
In other words, new blog content helps your brand get discovered, and the better your content is, the more it helps you build relationships between your audience and your brand that lead to word-of-mouth marketing, purchases, and brand loyalty.
SOLUTION: Publish new high-quality content to your blog multiple times per week and share that content across social media, email, and everywhere else you can to expand your brand’s reach and increase your website’s search engine traffic.
9. Ignoring Blog Formatting Tricks
Blog posts are a unique type of online content for multiple reasons. For one, they’re typically written in a less formal and more conversational tone than other types of business content.
They’re also formatted differently than many other types of content.
There are two primary reasons why it’s important to use blog formatting tricks in your business blog posts.
First, most people skim blog posts, and second, at least half of your audience will read your posts on their mobile devices.
With those two factors in mind, write in short paragraphs and short sentences. Despite what you learned in school, one sentence paragraphs are not only allowed in blog posts, they’re often preferred over long paragraphs.
In addition, use bullets, lists, headings, and sub-headings to break up long blocks of text and add white space for visual relief. No one wants to scroll through one long paragraph on a small smartphone screen!
Finally, include images and videos (when appropriate) to add visual appeal to your blog posts. The online medium becomes more and more of a visual-first medium every day, so don’t underestimate the importance of images in your blog posts.
This includes a compelling feature image that people can use to share your post across their social media channels.
10. Operating in a Silo
Writing great blog content is only part of the process to leverage blogging for content marketing and sales. If you just publish blog posts and call it a day, you won’t reach your goals.
Instead, you need to include blogging in your overall integrated marketing plan. Silo marketing is dead. Today, everyone is focused on omni-channel marketing where all pieces of the strategy are integrated and working together to drive results.
Think about your entire marketing process. What happens before you publish a blog post? What happens after a post goes live?
As you develop your marketing plan, consider how each tactic feeds into the next to surround consumers with branded experiences. That’s how you build brand trust, and that’s how you increase sales with integrated marketing.
SOLUTION: Write blog posts that support your overall marketing goals, and develop a process to spread your blog content to wider audiences as part of an integrated marketing plan.
Key Takeaways to Avoid Common Blogging Mistakes
It’s easy to make the common blogging mistakes discussed above, but the good news is it’s also easy to stop making them.
Take some time to learn how to write a blog post from concept to results, be cognizant of the mistakes to avoid, and you’re on your way to blogging success.