When’s the last time you did an honest, thorough audit of your content marketing strategy?
When it’s done correctly, content marketing is a powerful tool. But when it’s done incorrectly, it’s an expensive hobby.
An effective business blog allows you to tap into audiences that you may not be able to reach through traditional marketing channels and track and measure reach and conversions.
What’s more, once you create content and publish it on your site, it continues to deliver results over time, unlike a marketing campaign that ends the moment the funds dry up.
But a business blog isn’t just about throwing keyword-rich content on your site and hoping that folks will find it and want to read it. The content has to be well-written, informative and appeal to the people who may be interested in the products you sell.
If this past year’s updates from Google, Apple and Facebook have negatively affected your traffic, it might be a sign your website and/or blog needs a refresh – or at least a content audit.
For more than a decade, Google has made it clear with each update – good content will be rewarded, and bad content will be pushed down.
Steve Sheinkopf’s blog on Yale Appliance is an excellent example of content that serves up what he knows his customers want.
You can read product reviews – real product reviews that disclose the good, bad and ugly. He shares which brands are returned most often and which manufacturers offer the best customer service policies and practices. His blog is honest, authentic and customer-focused.
Is your website delivering the results you need it to? If it’s been a while since you audited the content on your business blog, let’s have a closer look at some common digital mistakes and how to correct them.
Big Blog Mistakes — And How To Correct Them
You know your business but do you know what your (potential) customers are searching for online?
Before they enter the sales funnel, they’re probably doing research on the products they’re interested in and how those products can improve their lives.
Are you making these mistakes on your blog?
- Bragging about your company or the products you sell. Save the marketing speak for your “About Us” page. Remember, your blog is about your customers and what they need. If you want to write about your amazing company, try these ideas:
- Write about community outreach programs that your business or employees support. If you have a scholarship program, for example, write about some award-winning students you’ve helped.
- If you’ve just finished renovations or opened a new location, create a vlog (video blog) and take customers for a virtual tour.
- If you hold events in your store (like book signings, for example) write about those events – and include lots of pictures and video.
- Writing only about products you sell. If the point of your blog is to sell product, it’s an advertorial and neither Google nor readers will find it useful. If you want a product-focused blog, try these ideas:
- Share a new product launch with detailed information about what makes it different than its predecessors.
- Compare competitive products, outlining strengths and weaknesses.
- Compare manufacturer and customer service accolades (and fails).
- Adding links that aren’t relevant to the topic. We know the link farm strategy doesn’t work but it’s amazing how many businesses continue to fall victim to it.
A link in a blog post should help a reader understand the topic better – not lead them to a product information page. If you want a deep linking strategy on your blog, try these ideas:
- Practice smart deep linking by pointing to pages deeper in your site that offer more information.
- Link to manufacturer websites that may offer additional information on product usage or warranties.
- Link to authoritative sites, such as government, medical or recognized organizations that offer more information without a sales pitch.
- Writing without an SEO strategy. For a business blog to successfully drive website traffic, a firm SEO foundation is a must. And while keywords are important, SEO is about so much more.
What can you do if you don’t have an SEO strategy? The simple answer is to hire an SEO specialist but you can also begin educating yourself by reading expert blogs. Here are some of my favorites:
Blog Audit Checklist
Now that you know what not to do, this checklist will help you stay on track when creating new content.
- Focus on your customer’s needs. In your store, you know your customer’s biggest questions and you answer them honestly. Do this on your blog using informative headlines, explanatory meta-descriptions and persuasive, well-written content.
- Optimize your content. With keywords artfully woven into headings, copy and meta descriptions, make your blog posts as attractive to Google as they are to your customers. Two of the biggest mistakes when it comes to keywords is using them too much (spamming) or not using them (strategically) enough.
- Maintain a consistent, recognizable brand personality. Consistency creates authenticity, which builds consumer trust. Your blog posts should be on-point and a reader should be able to land on any page on your site and recognize it as your content.
- Proofread before publishing. This should be a no-brainer but it never ceases to amaze me when I see typos and spelling mistakes on a business blog.
- Leverage social proof. When you can integrate what your customers say about you on your blog, your content becomes even more influential. Testimonials, influencer endorsements and product reviews are a few examples of social proof.
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