You heard that content is king. Saw that all of your competitors were blogging. You had grand visions of watching thousands of visitors flock to your blog.
But that's not what happened.
Instead, you struggle to get great content posted, and no one seems to be reading it. It's extremely frustrating.
I've worked with many businesses who have had this experience. Over the years, I've started to see some patterns in what they're doing that's not working. And I've been able to help them fix those problems.
Let's take a look at the mistakes you might be making that are keeping your business blog from taking off. And what to do about them.
Mistake #1: Blogging about your company
I see this one all the time. It's understandable: you want readers to know more about your company, right? You want them to know what you offer and why you're better than your competition.
But that's not what customers want.
And if you keep making this mistake, you're never going to improve your blog traffic.
Readers have a million things to think about. They need to write a report for their supervisor. And get groceries on their way to pick up the kids. And plan this weekend's barbecue. And save for retirement. And on and on.
People are busy and, frankly, they don't care about what's going on at your company.
When they come to your blog, it's because they have a problem and they want you to solve it. They're looking for information.
A post about the award you won last month isn't solving anyone's problems.
You might be thinking that you can write a lot of how-to posts that focus on your product or service, and that will help people learn to use it and see its value.
That might work. But don't let that be your only strategy. Creating a vast library of how-tos on your offerings is useful, but it makes your blog look like a customer support reference database.
Addressing a wider variety of topics that are of interest to your customer will get better results. Take a look at the Behalf blog. Behalf provides financing to small businesses. But not all of their articles are about business financing.
Instead, they cover selling, technology, cybersecurity, metrics, and more. All of these topics are of interest to their customers, who are businesspeople trying to get their business up and running (or expand it).
This wider perspective on useful topics not only helps them cast a wider SEO net, but also shows their customers that the company is an authority on the subject. That develops trust and loyalty, even before a reader becomes a customer.
Solution: blog for your customer. What are their questions, problems, and pain points? If you can address those with your posts, you'll create a valuable resource. And that's what business blogging is all about.
(Okay, you shouldn't always avoid selling on your blog. But use the 90/10 rule to keep it to a reasonable level.)
Mistake #2: Posting superficial content
Another common problem among business blogs is posting short, superficial articles. In the past, a 500-word article might have been enough to get some love from search engines and readers.
That's just not going to cut it anymore.
Numerous research studies have showed that content around the 2,000-word mark tends to perform best.
(There's a lot of variation, but most studies seem to point to between 1,500 and 2,500 words as the sweet spot.)
Of course, just writing 2,000 words doesn't mean that your article is going to rank well or get social shares. What really drives traffic is useful, problem-solving content that speaks to your audience.
You can't just give a single quick tip and call it good. You need to take a deep dive into the issue, show your readers that you understand the problem, and walk them through how they can solve it.
Which means you need to think about things like why people are having this problem in the first place, what they might not know about it, resources that can help them, ideas for helping them, and so on.
This is why the "ultimate guide" format (one of my own favorite formats) is so popular. When readers have a problem, they don't want to read one short post about what caused it, another about what they can do about it, another about useful resources, and another one about how to keep it from happening again.
They want everything relevant in one place. You don't have to always post 10x or skyscraper content (though if you can, it's a great way to get a ton of traffic). But you need to make sure that you're providing value to your readers.
Solution: post really useful stuff. Your readers should come away from your article thinking "wow," not "what should I do next?" Give them all the information they need, including things they didn't know they needed.
Mistake #3: Not posting enough
Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to post every day. Or even every week. A lot of people will tell you that you need to post like crazy when you start blogging. I don't think that's true.
"Enough" doesn't refer to post frequency. It refers to post value. If you're posting super helpful, really awesome stuff, you don't need to post every day. You might even be able to get away with posting once a month (though your once-a-month posts better be amazing).
If your posts are simple how-tos, or answers to relatively straightforward questions, you should be posting more often. If that's what your customers want, you should be writing it (figuring out what resonates with your customers should always be your #1 priority).
But if getting more organic traffic from your business blog is one of your goals (and it should be), finding a balance between frequency and depth is important.
There are also other factors that come into play. Hubspot's data on post frequency shows that smaller companies, for example, saw more significant benefits from frequent blogging than larger companies.
In general, posting more often will get you better results than posting less often. But don't let that fact pressure you into valuing quantity over quality.
It's best to post a lot of very high-quality content. If you can't do that, post a little high-quality content. It's better than a lot of low-quality content.
Solution: either post a lot, or make sure every post is amazing. Remember that "posting enough" means "enough value," not "enough posts." People get these mixed up all the time, and it's very detrimental.
Mistake #4: Not working with a professional writer
Take a look at some of the most successful business blogs in the world. Zapier. Quick Sprout. Seth Godin. HubSpot. Copyblogger. Buffer. Crazy Egg. Close.io.
What do they all have in common? Great writing (and, I have to point out, great editing).
There are a lot of things that affect the success of your blog. But if your content is written poorly, nothing else you try to do will help it.
You might not think that readers care about phenomenal writing. But they do, even if they don't know it.
Because high-quality prose keeps people hooked from beginning to end. It draws them through the article by inspiring specific emotions and irresistible hooks.
Doing these things well takes a lot of experience and a deep understanding of how people read.
Which is why many marketers think that $5,000 is a good deal for writing a sales page.
That might seem absolutely crazy to you. But think about how much revenue a great sales page can generate. Especially if you're in a high-value market, that's money well-spent.
The same is true of blog posts. If a single blog post can land you a few customers, it's going to be worth a lot more than the $400 or $500 you paid for it.
Early in the business blogging process, you'll be tempted to write blog posts yourself. Lots of people are. But you'll probably find yourself falling into the traps above.
(Interestingly, I find that serial entrepreneurs often go to high-quality freelancers right away. They tried doing it on their own the first time, saw how much better it is when they worked with a professional, and then skip the first step in their next business venture.)
You might be tempted to hire someone on UpWork for $20 an article. I've worked with clients who have done this. Let me sum up their experience for you: it's not worth it. You get what you pay for.
Solution: hire a writer. Someone who really knows what they're doing. The cost might seem crazy to you, but think about it as an investment in long-term traffic generation and conversion. It's absolutely worth it, and the results prove it.
Mistake #5: Not appealing to emotion
I've said it (many times) before, and I'll keep saying it: emotion drives decision-making. If you want people to buy your product, you need to create an emotional drive to do so.
Even in B2B, emotion plays an important role in decision-making. It plays a different kind of role, but it's still there. You might think that your customers are all about data and features—and that could be true.
But emotion will always play a role in the decision-making process. If your marketing materials aren't influencing the emotional state of your audience, you're leaving it up to chance.
Basic emotional states like "happy" and "angry" influence people's decisions, but business blogging needs to go deeper than that. Effective business blog posts develop an emotional connection between the reader and your company.
Mostly through good storytelling. Activating your readers' imaginations puts them in an emotive state of mind, and you can use that to connect with them and deliver your message most effectively.
Great writers have these storytelling skills, and they'll put them to use in your blog. That's another reason to hire a professional writer; they understand the emotional power of great writing, and put it to use to suit your business purposes.
The most basic way to do this is to simply put yourself in your customers' shoes. What are they feeling? What are their frustrations and their pain points? How will they feel when you solve those problems for them?
Activating these emotions is a great start to building an emotional connection and using it to boost the effectiveness of your business blog.
Solution: think about your customer's perspective. Solve their problems. Answer their questions. Highlight their frustrations and how great they'll feel when your product eliminates them.
Pay Attention to the Details
Your business blog can bring you huge amounts of traffic and a lot of new customers. It's a great feeling.
But for that to happen, you need to stop making these mistakes. They're easy to make, and it takes years of practice to start naturally writing with these items in mind.
The details, however, set your blog apart from the other business blogs out there. Everyone has a blog. If yours is going to be great, it needs to stand out.
Keeping these five things in mind will make that happen.