Everyone seems to have an opinion on business blogging these days. The DOs. The DON’Ts. The HOWs. The WHYs. And boy have I heard my fair share of blogging BS.
So as a blogger, how do you sort fact from the fiction? And how can you help your clients avoid the blogging blunders that cost them time, money and reputation?
Well, I’m here to help.
Thanks to this ultimate ‘True or False’ post, you’ll be able to blog better than ever before – and help your clients do the same!
1. T or F? If you’re going to blog, you need to do it often. Once a week is ideal.
Luckily for your sanity and your clients’, it’s not necessary – or realistic – to produce a new blog every week (unless you or your client is an international brand or operates in a content-dependent industry).
Don’t get me wrong. You need to publish consistently. But that doesn’t mean you have to publish frequently.
Aside from the time and cost involved in posting weekly, quality will inevitably wane. And your audience may grow tired of what you have to say way too quickly.
I’ve found one blog post per month to be the sweet spot for most small to medium businesses, especially in the B2B space. It’s enough to satisfy readers – and Google too.
2. T or F? A good blog article should directly promote your products and services.
If this is what you think, then you’ve got blogging all wrong.
An effective blog article is one that educates or entertains (or both).
Today’s generation of readers can sniff a sales pitch a mile away. And they despise anything that insults their intelligence.
So ditch the pitch and think of a blog post as an opportunity to provide the audience value. Blogging is all about engaging authentically with readers and giving them a reason to come back.
If you blog well, and blog consistently, the sales will eventually come.
After all, blogging is a marathon – not a sprint.
3. T or F? There’s no strict rule when it comes to length. People are happy to read long articles.
I’ve been blogging since 2010, and believe me, there’s no magic number when it comes to word count. In fact, some of my best performing posts have also been my longest.
Ultimately, readers care about quality – not length.
So as long as the blog posts are well written, easy to scan and offer genuine value, word count carries little weight.
But remember: most people can distinguish between solid content and worthless waffle. So don’t pad out your posts for the sake of it.
Succinct, specific copy wins every time.
4. T or F? Blogging is all about SEO. The more keywords, the better.
While it’s true that regular, quality posts should improve Google rankings over time, blogging is not all about SEO.
Blogging is primarily about showcasing expertise, building brands and engaging audiences. That means you have to write for the reader – not Google.
Stuff your articles with keywords just to please the Google Gods, and your writing instantly becomes unnatural and unreadable.
Thankfully though, Google responds best to what readers love. So craft clever and captivating articles – and you (or your clients) simply can’t lose.
5. T or F? Blogging is an absolute must for every business.
If you don’t have the time or resources to blog properly, it’s best to wait until you do. The same applies to your clients.
As for start-ups and micro businesses who barely have a web presence? Blogging will not be at the top of their marketing to-do list. Which makes perfect sense.
At the other end of the extreme, I come across many large, successful businesses that don’t blog at all. And on the surface, it doesn’t seem to be hurting them.
Ultimately, however, any business that wants a long-term edge won’t be able to compete without getting serious about content marketing. It’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’.
In the wise words of Seth Godin: ‘Content Marketing is all the Marketing that’s left.’
6. T or F? If it’s good enough, a single blog post can lead directly to a sale.
It’s possible. And yes, it’s happened to me.
Once. (In eight years of blogging.)
But I never write a single blog post expecting instant results. And nor should you or your clients.
Instead, invest time into developing a smart content strategy that builds the brand – and nurtures customer relationships.
Consistent, quality blogging will deliver a return on investment. Just not on day one.
Like the tortoise, blogging is the slow, quiet achiever that can produce powerful outcomes over time.
7. T or F? Every blog post topic must be completely, totally, 100% unique.
Are you shocked by this one? Let me explain.
It’s absolutely not okay to rip off other sources and rebadge them as your own.
But it’s perfectly fine to blog on topics that others have blogged on before – just as long as you inject your own perspective.
After all, if true originality were necessary, you’d be scratching your head for ideas for months on end.
So instead of saying ‘It’s been done before’, remember that you have unique views and expertise that no else can offer. And by weaving in personal stories and sentiments, you can connect with readers surprisingly fast.
8. T or F? It’s smart to share insider secrets and expert tips on the blog.
Some people tell me they’re worried that if they give away too much for free, potential clients won’t need their services anymore.
What a load of blogging baloney. Let me paint you a picture – and you’ll soon see why.
Imagine you’re searching for a wedding planner.
First you discover Wendy’s website, which features a blog full of fabulous tips for your wedding day. You haven’t even met her yet, but she’s already helping you. What’s more, because her bubbly personality comes through in her writing, you feel like you already know her. And you like her.
Compare this to Wayne’s site which doesn’t even have a blog (just boring, self-serving drivel). Or Wyatt’s website which has a blog, but only two articles… both of which are generic and unhelpful.
Who would you call first?
Wendy of course.
Why? Because she’s separated herself as a genuine expert and likeable professional in a cluttered market.
Need I say more?
9. T or F? The most important thing about a blog post is the headline.
It’s true that headlines are crucial to how well articles perform. Even the most amazing articles risk going unnoticed if the headline isn’t enticing enough to bring readers in.
But that doesn’t mean they’re the most important thing in a blog post.
Put simply, if you write brilliant headline after brilliant headline – yet the articles themselves continually fall flat – readers will lose interest very quickly.
Bounce rates will also soar. And brand integrity will burn.
The answer? Learn how to write powerful headlines that don’t mislead. Then make sure they’re followed by solid, supportive content.
10. T or F? There’s no point writing a blog post unless you’re inspired.
If I waited for inspiration every time, my blog would be almost non-existent. I’d be publishing once or twice a year, at best.
Remember, blogging is about strategy and consistency. And that’s why you need to plan.
With a plan, inspiration becomes almost irrelevant and unnecessary.
Of course, there’ll be times when you or your clients will be inspired to create a blog post on something unexpected. But when it doesn’t? At least there’ll be a bank of topic ideas to fall back on.
11. T or F? The best time to publish a blog post is between 11am and 12pm on a Monday.
If you do a Google search to find the best time to publish (in Australia) for maximum results, you’ll read study after study…
EACH GIVING YOU VERY DIFFERENT ADVICE.
Put simply, there’s no perfect time to publish.
So what’s my advice? Stop overwhelming yourself with research. Instead, invest your time into creating irresistible content that gets results – no matter what time or day you publish.
And if you keep track of those results, you may discover some interesting patterns and insights of your own.
If you’re blogging for your clients, you can tell them the same.
Read another article by Vikki: 4 things the Government can teach you about poor letter writing.
About the author
Vikki is a copywriter, marketer, writing skills trainer and former Monash University lecturer. In 2004 she established Refresh Marketing – a successful copywriting consultancy.
Using her trademark mix of technique and intuition to penetrate the clutter, Vikki knows how to write with impact.
Vikki takes great pride in enticing and delighting audiences. Whatever the medium, she communicates with authenticity and flair. What’s more, she has a warmth and vibrancy that keeps her clients coming back – time and again.