Blogging is a piece of cake, right? You just tell your readers all about what’s going on in your business and they’ll be scrambling to read all the details. Not even slightly. In fact, it’s very easy to make this common blogging mistake when starting out.
The most common blogging mistake businesses make when they’re running a blog is to write 100% about themselves.
I get it, you want to promote yourself. You want to let customers know what’s going on in the business. I hate to break it to you, most of them don’t care about your day in the office ramblings. They’ve got their own lives to worry about..
People are busy. They only have so much time and mental energy to dedicate to reading blogs. That means you’ve got to give them an incentive to read your blog. In other words, you need to give them value.
How to inject value into your blog posts
Now we know what to not write about, what do you write about? How can you inject value into a blog which primarily exists to make you money at the end of the day?
The answer is very simple – tell them what they need to hear. The first step into giving your audience what they want is to (yeah you guessed it…) know what they want to hear.
This will differ with every individual business, but on the whole, people read blogs for the same reasons.
Why do people read blogs in the first place?
If you read blogs (and you really should if you you’re ever going to be able to write great posts), take a moment to ask yourself why you read them in the first place.
You read this post about blogging because you wanted to learn more about blogging right? You didn’t just stumble here by accident. If you made it this far down the page, then presumably I’m giving you something helpful (please say yes).
People read blogs because:
- They enjoy the subject matter – people interested in fashion love reading about this season’s best styles
- They want to learn more – If you’re trekking around reading about blogs, then the chances are you want to learn more about effective business blogging
- They’re looking for specific answers – People who have recently become self-employed are out there looking for tutorials on how to file a Self Assessment tax return.
In all of these cases, there is a very clear value your blog post could be providing. If it’s not ticking any of these boxes, I’m sorry to say it…but you’re wasting your time. Who are you writing for? Your sales figures or the people who will actually contribute to those figures?
Use your own experience of consuming blogs to better inform your own writing. That’s the best first step you can take.
Value is key to successful blogging
Following on from my previous point, the next step is to ensure that everything you post has some kind of value to be gained from it.
Again, value isn’t in knowing what your business has planned for the month ahead. Or even how good your sales figures are this quarter. No one cares about that. That’s your business, just remember, they are here for their own benefit.
Value, is taking your industry expertise and giving your readers something they won’t get elsewhere. Value is giving them advice that will improve their life or business in some way. The value your audience takes away should be your key focus when business blogging.
Think of blogging as an exchange. It might seem like a bit of a soulless way of looking at it (“but I just love blogging” I hear you say). However, if you’re here to make money, then you’ve got to cut through the shit and get to the point. You can still have fun with your blogging. No need to write in corporate-speak – everyone hates that anyway.
The sad truth: We’re all a bit selfish
The thing to remember is that people are selfish. I don’t mean this in a judgemental way particularly. But most people only really care about what’s in it for them. Maybe not in every area of their life (I hope), but certainly in business and with strangers on the internet.
So what is in it for them? Ask yourself these questions whenever you sit down to write a blog post:
- What value does the reader get out of it?
- What will they take away from your blog post?
- Will they be inspired to return to your blog to find out more?
- Are you focusing on the customer or yourself?
Until you’re sure your reader will actually get some value from your blog posts, you can’t be expecting record-breaking page views.
Here’s an example of a common blogging mistake vs what you should be doing instead
A gardening business writing about what they’ve got planned over the summer is fine. Unless that’s all they’re writing about...
That business should instead be writing tutorials on how to grow tomatoes or build the garden shed of your dreams. They should be doing roundup posts of the best gardening tools and tech on offer this year. They’re the kind of things that people interested in gardening want to hear about – the kind of things that keep them coming back for more because it benefits their lives.
That’s why I’m not over here blogging about how great my blogging is all the time (it is of course but that’s besides the point).
I’m writing about blogging for businesses, business websites, social media, content marketing – the stuff that people need to know in order to improve their own marketing.
What’s in it for you?
Okay, I hear you. If it’s all about the customer then what about you as the business? What’s in it for you?
I’ve heard people complain about blogs being a case of giving away information for free. Yep and guess who loves a freebie? Everybody!
Would you rather give business to a company who had no interest in anything but selling you products OR a business who you’ve been getting quality advice and value from for several months?
It’s a no brainer. People will reciprocate with their custom because they’ve:
- Gained value from you – who doesn’t love value for money?
- You are instantly recognisable to them – if they are aware of you, you’ll be the first business that pops into their mind when they need your product or service
So, there you have it. Don’t be one of those blogging narcissists who go on and on about themselves. It’s a common blogging mistake, we’ve all done it before, and it is not a good look.
Switch up your focus and turn it on your audience to ensure everything you pump out has value within it.
If you want someone to take care of the blogging side of things in your business, why not hire a freelance writer?
Are you guilty of this common blogging mistake in your own business? Let me know in the comments – what’s the worst case of blogging narcissism you’ve ever had the misfortune to lay eyes on?