Is your business blog committing these classic errors? Thursday June 20, 2019
Does your blog highlight or hide what’s great about your business? Pretty much the first thing I do when I visit a company’s website is scoot over to their blog or news section. Yes, I want to find out more about them and their content, but I’m also looking to gain a few insights – things that they probably don’t know they are revealing about their business. After all, there’s what a company thinks its blog says and what a company blog actually says! Watch out for these classic errors in your business blog:
1. Canned content
I’m always fascinated by the number of companies that put so much work into blogging but still have blog posts that don’t reflect their personality at all. That’s a shame because people love personality in content. The canned content blogs are the ones where you realise that you could be on anybody’s website. The blog is indistinguishable from many others out there in terms of tone of voice, approach and messages. To me, this always sounds like a clue that a business doesn’t truly value what it has to offer. The other possibility is that there is a disconnect between the company’s brand and its content and this gap is still being overlooked. Whatever the cause, it’s a lost opportunity to connect with people in a more authentic way. It presents the business as just another generic company. And that’s a fast-track way to lose out on the power of being memorable.
2. Facts only
There’s a big difference between providing insight and just doling out information. I’m always sad to find a company blog in which facts and data are served up alone without an interesting angle. This is content that’s more preoccupied with the intricacies of the business rather than the audience. I find it interesting to see how many businesses have good, engaging content on the rest of the website, but then I get to their blog and it feels like I’m lost in the middle of a technical manual from the 1950s. Being factual, these blog posts lack any sense of energy or excitement. To me, this is a clue that the company is fantastic on the technical side, but still hasn’t found an effective way to communicate this expertise to its customers. Yes, of course facts are very important. But facts without a story are likely to have people turning away from your blog in no time.
This might be a controversial one. For some businesses, their entire blog is dedicated to updating the world about their achievements, from the newest client to the latest addition to the company’s novelty mug collection. But I think this is a little old fashioned in the light of changing online and mobile habits. Why? Because people increasingly search for content to answer their problems. This means that having blog content that is about your customers’ interests rather than purely about your business is actually going to work better in the long run. For me, a blog with “spotlight-itis” suggests a company that is overlooking changing tastes in content. Not that I don’t think company updates are great, but they’re even better balanced with blog content which is devoted to answering client questions informatively and engagingly. And yes, there is still scope within that to tell them about the latest novelty mug to grace the office. If that’s your cup of tea.
4. Long overdue
We’ve all seen it. The blog that was last updated two years ago – or worse. The overdue blog screams “out of date” at the website visitor. Sorry to get all heavy here, but by having a blog, a company is making a promise to keep it updated with lovely fresh content. That’s the big issue with a blog. It’s those loaded words: latest, upcoming, new, fresh. A mismatch between your promise and your main message undermines the credibility of your whole website. So, what does this reveal about a company? Well, the practical issue may be lack of time or a shortage of ideas, but I also think that it suggests that the company isn’t incorporating its marketing strategy into the whole business. Because when your blog is an integral part of what you do, it really is possible to keep generating new and relevant ideas.
5. No angle
It can feel bewildering to visit a business blog which lacks a strong narrative. It’s as if a magazine, a Twitter feed and a collection of emails got together and decided to have a party. This somewhat exhausting collection of different approaches and themes can reveal a couple of things about a business:
a. That they have a number of people writing and adding blog posts. This can be an effective strategy – when it’s managed properly. But if it’s just done ad hoc and without real communication, it can be risky and water down any kind of consistent tone of voice on the blog.
b. That the person blogging has a shortage of ideas and isn’t sure what is appropriate – or they are trying to reach too many different audiences. Inconsistency is always revealing. The nature of a blog is to build a continuous and effective connection between a business and the outside world. With no angle to anchor it, your business is shown to be unsure of its identity and of what’s important to its customers. Having lots of ideas is great, but there needs to be some sort of cohesive story to hold them together. Otherwise your blog could end up undermining your company’s identity.
Here’s the good news
OK, there are a lot of potential errors in creating and maintaining a business blog. And I hope that the list above hasn’t proved daunting. The good news is that a business blog is successful when it reflects what makes your business unique. Let that guide you (along with some key blogging principles) and your business blog should prove to be an asset rather than liability.
Camilla Zajac, Green Light Copywriting, June 2019