Today, it feels like every website has a blog and that’s because everyone is trying to take a huge slice of the SEO pie. It doesn’t matter which industry you work in, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a website without one.
So why are so many companies hiring copywriters or putting their writing skills to the test and creating blogs?
They can position themselves as thought leaders
Blogs are the perfect place to share your knowledge, expertise and ideas with your readers. The purpose of this is to position yourself as a thought leader.
Positioning yourself as a thought leader is great for your sales strategy because it means that people are more likely to trust you.
If you went on a website to hire a plumber and they had a blog that told you the ins and outs of how a toilet worked or how to install the kitchen sink yourself. The chances are that you would assume this plumber knew their stuff. This would make you more inclined to go with them as opposed to the competitor who had no blog.
They improve organic traffic from search engine optimised articles
When you create your new website you can’t just make it live and hope for the best. You need to work with Google to ensure that people are finding you.
The easiest way to help people find you organically is by answering popular questions related to your industry.
Let’s take the plumber example again. They could write up a list of queries that their audience is most likely to ask. E.g. How to fix my toilet, how to install a shower, how to find a good plumber etc. They could then create blog articles around those queries.
They provide value to your existing audience
Most businesses want to build up a group of repeat customers. Customers who like what they do, come back to them for more and recommend their services to others.
In order to get repeat customers, you need to give them exceptional service. This means going above and beyond your usual services and offering them value wherever you can. A blog is a great place to give your customers additional information to help them out.
So why are so many companies getting it wrong when it comes to creating top-quality blogs?
With so many blogs out there, it’s amazing to hear how many companies still struggle to get repeat traffic to them. There are actually some very common mistakes which companies are making when creating their blog. In this article, I’m going to take you through those pitfalls and let you know how you can avoid them yourself.
#1 They are focused on content that is centred around themselves
I’m sorry to break it to you but not many people actually care about what your business is up to. We are selfish beings and we only really care about things that bring value to us. Of course, your family and existing customers may want to get a quick update on how your business is doing. However, the majority of people on the internet want to read about topics that they find interesting or that provide value to them.
Follow an 80/20 rule for your blog. 80% of content should be valuable content to your reader which is related to your industry and 20% of your content can be about you.
Let’s say you work in marketing, here are topics people really don’t care about:
Find out what the team at the grape agency have been up to this week
Why we are using eco-friendly toilets
How the grape agency managed to transform our working hours
What can you write about instead?
Here are topics people really do care about:
How to improve sales in your small marketing startup
How to develop a kick-ass content strategy
Everything you need to know about SEO in 2021
People love these types of posts because they are getting valuable insight from your super smart marketing agency. They’ll keep coming back to your blog for more because they know you provide real, genuine help to them.
#2 They publish articles that just aren’t very helpful
A lot of people get sucked into the trap of thinking because they are an expert in their field people are going to want to hear their opinion on anything and everything. The truth is that we are all very busy people and unless you are Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos, people aren’t going to choose to leisurely read your blog unless it provides value to them.
For example, let’s say you own hairdressing business and you start posting articles such as; Reasons you should use a mobile hairdresser.
There are a few issues with this title;
- What is the purpose of the article? People who already know you and read your blog are not going to read this article because they already use you. People who use a salon are hardly going to be searching for the phrase ‘reasons I should use a mobile hairdresser’. Equally, people who use a mobile hairdresser are not going to be searching for this because they already use one.
- Who is the article providing value to? Really it’s just a promotional post about yourself, it’s not really adding value to your reader. Adding value would be something like “How to choose the best mobile hairdresser for you.”
- Do people really care about your view on the reasons people should use a mobile hairdresser? Probably not. As I said earlier, people are busy and they haven’t got the time nor do they want to sit down and listen to why you think they should use a mobile hairdresser.
What should you do instead?
As I mentioned previously, switch the content from a topic that revolves around you to a topic that revolves around your target audience.
Think about the pain points and challenges which your audience encounters on a regular basis. Help them overcome those challenges through your blog.
If you are a mobile hairdresser, these are the types of challenges your customers would have been facing during lockdown;
- How to dye my own hair at home
- How to cut my partners hair during lockdown
- How to prevent split ends
- What are the best shampoos for long damaged hair
As a rule of thumb, try to use titles which start with the phrases;
- ‘How to’
- ‘What are’
- ‘Why do’
- ‘Top 10’ (or any other number)
- ‘The best’
- ‘Your ultimate guide to’
- ‘Free checklist’
- ‘Free template’
- ‘Where to find’
You get the idea. So remember, always solve their challenges and always add value.
#3 They don’t use engaging language, correct grammar, punctuation or structure
Blogs that don’t use engaging language aren’t appealing to readers they are boring and people lose interest in them which is why nobody would want to return to the blog to read more content because they just don’t find it interesting.
That sentence sounded awful, I know. It was long, unengaging, poorly written and just plain boring. My point is that nobody wants to read a blog that is poorly written. Your audience are busy people and if they don’t like what they read they will not be returning to your blog to read more content.
Here’s what to do instead:
- Keep your sentences short and sweet.
- Write in a conversational tone. Read your content out loud, if you wouldn’t say it in a conversation don’t write it in your blog post.
- Break your content up with lots of headers, this makes it easier for your audience to digest the information.
- Use numbered lists and bullet points where you can. Again, this makes it nice and easy for your audience to read.
- Keep your paragraphs short.
- Run your content through Grammarly to ensure it is grammatically correct.
- Use punctuation to give life to your content. Don’t be afraid to use exclamation marks or more full stops to give your copy more emphasis.
If you’re going to invest time into a blog, you want it to be an informational hub that your audience keeps coming back to. Better yet, you want people to tell their friends and family about it because it’s just too good.
Continue Reading: Maintaining Your Blog Regularly: What, Why, and How?
I hope my top tips helped you gain some clarity around what makes a popular blog and you feel confident to start writing some amazing content yourself. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start creating top-notch articles that your audience is so desperately looking for.