Blogging Mistakes Small Businesses Make and How to Avoid Them

Most businesses can benefit from having a blog — but only if you do it right. Otherwise, you're wasting time and resources.
blogging
Trying to grow your business? Blogs are a good way to promote your brand, if done correctly. (Photo: Rawpixel.com/ Shutterstock)

If you’re looking to grow your business, having a company blog is likely a good option — but only if you do it right. A poorly executed blog can have a negative impact on your brand and potentially cost you business.

Here are some of the most common blogging mistakes small businesses make and tips for how to avoid them.

Not knowing your goals

The first hurdle of having a small business blog is defining your goals and determining how the blog fits into your larger marketing strategy. Not understanding why you are blogging and what you hope to achieve is the reason many small business blogs fail.

“Many small businesses start blogs because they heard that’s what you need to do,” said Julie Graff, social content liaison for Pole Position Marketing. “But you shouldn’t just do it to do it. If you don’t have a goal for your blog, how do you know if it is successful?” Graff suggested that before you start writing, take some time to figure out what your goals are for your blog.

Creating content for the wrong audience

David Christopher

“Ideally, you should be trying to become the best source for the kind of content that you create,” he said, “and that will naturally mean you should be looking to fill a pretty tight niche.”
-David Christopher
(Photo: David Christopher)

When planning your blog, think carefully about who you are trying to reach.

David Christopher, director of marketing and growth for the marketing tool Tailwind, said that tailoring your content to your audience is critical. “Ideally, you should be trying to become the best source for the kind of content that you create,” he said, “and that will naturally mean you should be looking to fill a pretty tight niche.”

Christopher gave the example of a clothing store in Austin, Texas, that blogs about the styles it sees people wearing out on the street outside its store. “That content would be most interesting to people who live in Austin, and that’s exactly who that store should be targeting,” he said.

Lack of consistency

Inconsistency is another common pitfall for small business bloggers. “You can’t start a blog and just post when you feel like it or when you ‘have time,’” said Graff. “You need come up with a schedule and stick with it.”

Melissa Mannozzi, president of the inbound marketing agency Underground Creative Group, agreed, commenting that consistent posting can also have a big impact on your search rankings. “Posting consistently not only lets your readers know you take your business seriously, but it also lets Google know that,” she said. Post regularly “to keep your site fresh and the Google gods happy,” explained Mannozzi. “Mark a recurring appointment on your calendar allotted to writing and posting. If you already have a calendar of topic ideas, it shouldn’t take too long to get in the habit of ‘knocking out’ a blog post.”

Writing solely about your business

Small businesses often make the mistake of being overly self-promotional in their blog posts.

Emily Lund, content strategist at Modmacro said that “Every post shouldn’t just be about your business and how great your products or services are.”  Sharing helpful information and advice better positions you as “an expert in your field and gives potential customers the confidence in your company that they need in order to spend money with you,” she explained.

“Customers are drawn to companies with which they can relate,” Lund said. “Talk about a charity your company supports. Feature some of your top employees. Share pictures from a company event. Anything that ‘humanizes’ your company.”

Not leveraging social media

julie-graff

“Many small businesses start blogs because they heard that’s what you need to do.” -Julie Graff (Photo: Julie Graff)

“Blogging is not the same as Field of Dreams,” warned David Vallance, strategist at UK creative agency Digital Impact. “If you write it, there’s no guarantee that anyone will come.

Posting an article to your blog and not shouting about it is the perfect way for it to remain unread, unloved, unshared and unlinked.”

According to Vallance, effective distribution requires legwork. “If you want people to find and read your content, you’ve got to show them it’s there. Promotion via social media, influencers and community outreach are stone cold musts.”

Not giving it enough time to work

Finally, keep in mind that blogging is more of a marathon than a sprint.

“One of the greatest mistakes I see is when people work very hard to publish regular, valuable content and promote it but give up after 2-3 months because they think it’s not working,” said Mannozzi. “Remember good marketing creates a snowball effect, starting small and building momentum over time. Stick with it because when you stop, your momentum stops.” Mannozzi reports seeing blogs take as long as a year before seeing consistently high traffic, “but it always pays off in the end.”

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