20 Common Business Blogging Mistakes

Posted on July 6, 2011

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Business Blogging is an effective way to communicate to your audience. It can also be the tool that can help your social media campaign as the hub. You may even consider hiring a ghost blogging service to write your content for you.

New corporate and small business bloggers have a steep learning curve. But it’s not the technology that’s the problem. It’s the etiquette, best practices, and even what you write about that can cause your blog to fail. Here are 20 common blogging mistakes that most bloggers make. Avoid these, and you’ll be ahead of most bloggers out in the blogosphere.

1. Assuming Blogging is a Technology Problem
Despite your IT guy and hosted service vendor’s assurance, blogging is not a technology problem. It’s a human problem that requires time, talent and experience. All the amazing software and automation in the world will not fix the fact that your staff may not have the time, ability or motivation to keep the blog going.

2. Arrogant Personal Stories
People really don’t want to read about how great your new Ferarri is. If you want to get something online about how cool you are, remember it’s not cool to do it yourself. Here’s what the internet does to people that like to brag too much.

3. Starching blog posts
Most corporate communications are written in the third person using passive voice. Most of the time these blogs are written avoiding the words “you”, “we”, and “I”. It’s boring, dry and impersonal and people have a hard time understanding these posts. Blog articles are supposed to be less formal, and much more engaging. Don’t starch and press blog posts, unless you want another boring business blog.

4. Hiring a cheap ghostwriter for $10 per post
If you haven’t figured it out, $10 turns into $5 for overhead and $5 for the writer. Not many American English writers can survive on $2.50 per hour. So, the options are badly written articles, plagiarism or copyright infringement.

5. Not Promoting Your Blog
You really want hit a grand slam in front of empty stands, don’t you? Probably not. If you don’t promote your blog, even the search engines will ignore it.

6. Silencing Your Critics
If you have never heard of the Streisand Effect, click here. When you silence your critics by removing their comments, thousands of people will be told about it. And those people in turn will tell thousands more that you are a bully and censor. And that might even make the news.

7. Launching Lawyers at Bloggers
I know, you really don’t like the article that accused your company of willfully poisoning the water. It really got under your skin when someone pointed out you could buy your product on the grey market for half-price. Your lawyer says he can make it stop. The problem is, when you attack a blogger legally you risk getting drug through the mud even worse than you did before. Here is what happens when lawyers try to attack bloggers. And here. It’s the Streisand Effect, but now with 67% more sharks!

8. Don’t Tell Anyone You Have a LinkedIn Profile
If a blog is your portfolio, LinkedIn is your résumé. Make sure people know how to find you, whether it’s a potential employer, client, or former colleague. Tie your blog to your LinkedIn profile, and vice versa. Use a widget like Lijit to put on your blog sidebar to point to your different profiles.

9. Don’t Put Your Photo on Your Blog and Social Media Profile
If you want to be a credible source and the face of your field or industry, put your photo on your blog and other social networks. This lets people know what you look like, you’ll be easily recognizable, and it’s a chance to develop your personal brand. If you want to be a boring, anonymous writer who fails to capture interest, don’t.

10. Don’t Tell Twitter You Have a New Blog Post
If you build it, they’ll come. (No they won’t.) If you tell one person, they’ll tell two people and they’ll tell two people (No, they won’t.) Because everyone will instantly recognize your genius, and they’ll call you the next blogging genius. (No. They. Won’t.). It’s really simple: 1) Get a Twitter profile. 2) Follow people who share your interests or are local. 3) Automatically feed your blog to Twitter.

11. Don’t Allow/Have Comments, or Just Ignore Them
Here’s a great way to kill your blog: Don’t allow comments on a controversial blog post, don’t have them in the first place, or ignore them completely. Comments are a big source of link juice for the search engines, so if you don’t have them, your blog is nothing more than a flier on a rarely-used elevator.

12. Failing to Link to Other Blogs
More links = more link juice = higher search engine rankings. No links = no link juice = Google relegating you to the 10th page (hint: nobody visits the 10th page). Your blog is there to help you communicate with your customers, but to help with your search engine rankings too.

13. Ignoring Your Blog
You can’t just set it up and forget about it. You need to post at least once a week, but 2 – 3 times a week is better, and daily is best. If you can’t get to it more than once a week, you’re better off not having one.

14. Assuming Blogging is a Marketing Problem
Marketing should be in charge of the blog, but they shouldn’t have sole control the content, otherwise it just gets boring and turns into nothing but product promotion. Plus they say things like “we cultivate out-of-the-box infomediaries“, and we don’t want that. If your blog is about technical issues, work with the subject matter experts. If it’s about the inner workings of the company, talk to operations. The marketing people can turn the jargon into everyday language, but don’t let them communicate impactful synergies turn it into marketing-speak either.

15. Making Your Blog Fully Personal or Commercial
If you have nothing but personal posts, you have a diary. While there are some successful diary bloggers, they don’t sell anything. If you have nothing but commercial posts, you have a splog. There aren’t any successful spam sites, because people hate them, and they really don’t sell anything. If you’re going to sell something, provide knowledge about the product. If you’re a house painter, teach people how to paint a house. If you’re a marketing agency, tell people how to do marketing. Your reader will see you know how to do your job and hire you.

16. Disrespecting Your Readers
Surprisingly, corporate or business bloggers are typically less web-savvy than their readers. They’ve usually been recruited to share their thoughts on the blog but don’t really understand the various ways the posts will be read. The result? A painfully text heavy site, sparse or silly use of images and an RSS feed that is either truncated randomly or formatted incorrectly. Respect your readers by learning about online content structuring and management.

17. Letting Your Rear End Talk Too Much
Some bloggers seem to think every post must contain a big promise, hyperbolic phrasing, and earth shattering stats to engage the reader and get subscribers. With this premise, they can’t help but create blathering posts that underwhelm. Readers want relevant information, not hype, not promises, not made-up-on-the-spot stats. Do your research and know what is relevant to your readers.

18. Turning Into a Professor
A professor stands in front of a class and lectures on and on. What’s more, they like to use the buzzwords they found in their favorite academic journal. Blogging like this is the equivalent of showing up at a conference with a tuxedo or evening gown and addressing everyone from the stage, mic in hand. Blogging works best when you speak to one person at a time, in a conversational style, and use short, everyday words.

19. Being Too Keyword Obvious
Blogs should contain keywords. They should not be riddled with them. This post is about blogging mistakes, so we used the keywords “blogging” and “mistakes” in the headline, the first part of the text, and a few times throughout the post. We didn’t say “Read this blogging mistakes report on blogging mistakes to learn to avoid blogging mistakes.” (That one didn’t count.)

20. Being an Idealistic Ida or a Negative Nancy
The venom you have for the world around you influences the words you write. If you’re easily irritated by the masses who aren’t in lock-step with your mantras, corporate blogging probably isn’t for you (personal blogs, on the other hand, are wide open). If you think everyone could just get along if they all held a puppy and heard the laughter of a child, it’s not for you either. It’s okay to have ideals, and it’s okay to be irritated once in a while. But if this is the entire point of your blog, you’re either going to run out of steam or of readers. Or both.

Paul is the President of Professional Blog Service. PBS works with clients making strategic investments into business blogging, social media and search engine optimization.

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