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Blogging is no longer something that is done only for fun. When blogs were first created, they existed largely as online diaries or journals. Bloggers poured their innermost thoughts into their blogs, which were tailored around their specific hobbies and interests. Gradually, as blogs picked up in popularity — with some receiving thousands or even millions of hits every month — businesses took notice.

It became apparent that blogs conveyed information in a casual, easily accessible way that users were more likely to consume. Compared to a formal and stiff webpage, blogs had a clear edge. Therefore, professional companies began to adopt blogs. When related to a business, a blog is really a form of advertisement. The catch is that it’s presented in a manner that doesn’t come off as forced or overly structured. A company’s typical instinct is to build blogs through already-present employees. Blogs don’t seem overly complex, after all, and a small business owner may be hesitant to outsource blogging to a third party. However, there are many advantages to having a blog professionally coordinated, and indeed many potential drawbacks to having your blog made from scratch by an inexperienced employee.

With most online consumers familiar with blogs, there isn’t as much room for error anymore. It’s all too easy for businesses to create blogs that miss the mark, ultimately wasting both time and money in the process. Let’s look into some of the most common mistakes that businesses make when putting together blog content.

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1. Failure To Optimize

Many small businesses remain unfamiliar with the importance of SEO. In fact, lots of people still don’t know what SEO means. The term “SEO” refers to search engine optimization. Essentially, a blog piece that is properly optimized will feature enough keywords or phrases, in an organic manner, to enhance a post’s visibility in search engine results. Therefore, users searching for these words or phrases will naturally find the post and its accompanying website. It’s an effective way to target consumers in a manner that is natural and unforced. When SEO strategy isn’t properly utilized, it’s all too easy for a blog post to become lost in search engine results.

2. Forgetting The Target Audience

Jumping off of the above point, it’s important to remember that blog posts are targeting key audience demographics. It’s more effective for online marketing to target specific consumers, rather than a wide range of people. The more targeted demographic will be more likely to respond to the products being advertised, which means that the business will have to spend less money on closing such leads in the long term. Blogs are meant to be more personal and less rigid than typical ads, and the way in which they target their audience demographics should reflect that. For example, 69% of millennials consider themselves to be adventurous. Should your target demographic include those in their 20s and 30s, your blog posts should correspond to the types of tones they respond to. A casual or more conversational approach would be appropriate. Conversely, consumers in their 50s and 60s will likely respond to a more formal tone.

3. Poor Proofreading

With all that being said, even if a blog is meant to be less formal in tone, it should still look polished and professional. If a blog post isn’t properly proofread, it can appear sloppy at best and unprofessional at worst. When consumers can’t trust a business to create its own effective web content, they will be unlikely to buy products or services from that business. Think about the type of writing is expected from blog posts. Though legal English is usually written with a lack of punctuation, stemming from the historic belief that punctuation was not important to text, you can’t make this mistake when creating blog posts. If you don’t feel confident in your own proofreading skills, rely on someone with the background needed to ensure your posts pass the test. Alternatively, you can invest in an automatic service or plug-in that will do a lot of the work for you.

4. Over-Promoting

Consumers are used to be advertised to, essentially on a daily basis. Ads are on billboards, commercials, and certainly online. Due to the prevalence of online advertising, consumers will be less likely to respond to blog posts that are too obviously promotional. Simply put, they’re tired of the hard sell. If a reader feels as if the post they’re reading exists only to sell them on the company or business that created the post, it feels inauthentic. Statistically speaking, an estimated 70% of all business partnerships fail; your business must market itself effectively in order to succeed and keep its partnerships afloat. In many cases, this means ensuring that your marketing strategy is not over-the-top in terms of promotion. Aim to provide value — as in knowledge or entertainment — rather than a sales pitch.

5. Inconsistent Posting

Across the internet, it is easy to find blogs that are no longer effective and have long since been abandoned. Companies often abandon their blogs if they don’t find instant results, rather than revamping the blogs or attempting a new strategy. Instead of letting go of a blog after a few short posts, after which engagement is sure to drop entirely, a company should try new ways to make their blog interesting and engaging. Some businesses drop successful blogs simply because of the time they require, or post only sporadically. In order for a blog to be successful, it must feature frequent and consistent posts. Set up a schedule to avoid this, with posts expected by a certain time each month.

6. Lack Of A Distinct Voice

Business blogs can become generic quite quickly. Often, they are written by multiple people attempting to adopt a general voice. However, consumers can see through this and will quickly abandon blogs that lack a distinctive voice or tone. An authentic “blogging voice” is crucial to creating genuine engagement. Investing time in creating and maintaining this voice will allow you to attract the type of audience that will actually convert to leads and sales.

A business blog is trickier to produce than it may initially seem, which is why many small business owners now outsource their blogging needs to professionals. Whether a blog is created in house or through a third party, however, the key is for it to feel real and engaging. If a consumer is drawn to your blog, they will likely become a future customer, too. Be sure to avoid these mistakes when starting a blog for your business for best results.