Let’s face it: if your business has a presence on the internet, then you absolutely need a blog. At the same time, blog content writing isn’t easy — and if you want to get your content in front of a wide audience, then you can’t just toss out poorly-written scrap and hope that someone wants to read it.
You’ve got to add something to the discussion — you’ve got to give your perspective clients value. It isn’t just about getting them to read your words, it’s about getting them to trust them — and to want to come back for more.
But here’s the thing: blog content writing isn’t easy — and businesses tend to make some predictable mistakes.
Here are twelve of the most common that we usually have to address with our clients.
1. You Don’t Have a Blog
Yes, we know it’s obvious — but we have to say it: if you don’t have a blog in 2018, you’re doing it (very) wrong.
We’ve said it before and it bears repeating: If you’re a business owner, having a blog isn’t really an option these days — it’s a necessity.
"If you’re a business owner, having a blog isn’t really an option — it’s a necessity for #marketing success."
When we tell this to our clients, they often come back at us with one of two excuses:
- Either they think their customers don’t read, or
- They think someone in their industry dominates the field so much already that it’s pointless
To the first point: nope! We’ve done a bit of (successful!) blog content writing for all manner of businesses, from personal lubrication, to asphalt, to home improvement, to in-depth enterprise-level software companies.
There’s something your customers will find interesting — you just have to find it.
Likewise, if you think someone in your industry is a Goliath, then you just need to find your slingshot. You don’t have to win the battle in a day, either. If you’re a small business in a competitive space, all you have to do is find a niche that you can hit on.
2. You’re Not Writing Your Blog Content Correctly
We know, we know — writing is a chore and you’re busy doing other things… like dealing with customers, supervising employees, keeping the lights on and actually running your business.
But blogging doesn’t have to be a tedious, loathsome process. The internet is filled with excellent advice for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to grow their business through blogging.
Here at The Content Factory, we’re open about our processes, and we believe that knowledge is empowering for business owners and entrepreneurs who have tight budgets and big goals. We’ve put together lots of great guides and tips for how to write solid content.
Download our SEO Keyword Research Template, Editorial Calendar Template, Social Media Posting Schedule and more, free!
Want more blog content writing tips? Check out our guide for writing a blog post that converts, including 13 tips for writing an effective blog post.
However, it’s just as important to be honest with yourself and recognize when blogging just isn’t in your skillset. Fortunately, the signs aren’t hard to spot. If you post infrequently or you’re not getting the traffic you’d like to see, it’s probably time to outsource your blog content writing.
3. You Don’t Research Keywords for Your Blog Posts
SEO. Just three little letters, but they scare the pants off people.
Some business owners liken search engine optimization to a mysterious oracle of knowledge only a select and privileged few can understand. “I need an SEO expert!,” business owners think. Far too often, they believe this expertise must come with an exorbitant price tag to be effective. Sadly, some SEO providers don’t do much (or anything) to dispel this myth.
Let’s be clear: SEO expertise is worth paying for in many cases.
Tidying up the technical bits that make your website play nice with Google, optimizing your website’s structure and creating a lucid keyword strategy are all valuable skills — and some are more art than science — but absolutely none of them are magic.
Whether you handle your own SEO endeavors or you pay someone (like us!) to manage them for you, you should make the effort to understand SEO.
Not sure where to start? We offer a thorough SEO training manual for only $79.00 — go check it out!
4. You Don’t Have an Editorial Calendar
Everyone’s an expert on something. If you own a business, chances are you’ve got some pretty deep knowledge on more than one topic.
Your knowledge is a commodity that you can convert to revenue, but only if you take the time to plan how you deliver it to your readers.
Let’s use an example probably the majority of people can relate to — driving.
Imagine you own a business that sells information about driving, from buying a car to taking a cross country road trip.
If you’re a car buff or a gearhead, you already know how to write web content related to driving. When you think about it, there are literally thousands of potential topics about driving you could write about.
You could probably write a hundred posts about different car models and why one is better or safer or more affordable than another. You could write about the ideal cars for commuters, for city drivers or for families with kids.
You could spend weeks writing about driving in various parts of the country, or in different types of weather. Entire sections of your blog could be devoted to cleaning and maintaining your vehicle.
Do you see how this could get overwhelming?
The thing is, nearly everyone drives, which means your potential audience numbers in the millions. Your blog could be a powerhouse of SEO juice, but not if you simply set up a site and start dumping info on it without a plan.
And this isn’t true just for driving. No matter what your business sells, you’re a source of useful information that people will pay money to possess. But you’ve got to deliver it in the right way.
This will keep you organized and give you an easy way to see what you’ve written about in the past, as well as identify topics you might have overlooked. A good content calendar will also help you find effective titles and the best keywords for your posts.
Download Our Free Editorial Calendar Template
5. You Write Blog Content That is Too Short
Let’s be clear: when we tell people that they need to write blog content, we don’t mean 200 - 300 word posts.
If your posts aren’t at least 800 words, there’s a good chance you’re wasting your time — and honestly, we don’t suggest anything less than 1,500 to our clients.
Many business owners struggle with this one. Their confusion stems from conflicting information people see online. They read that long blog posts are bad — that readers quickly lose interest when confronted with long pages of text. Yet they also see info that says short, choppy posts aren’t helpful. Write about current events, one tip urges. Stay evergreen, yet another exclaims.
So which is it? Should your posts be long or short? Relevant to today’s news or solid as a rock no matter how many years pass?
The answer is this: your blog content should be useful.
This means that your top priority should be creating posts that provide readers with information they want and can use.
In most cases, you can’t really do this with a 300 to 500-word post — and even if you do, someone else is going to come up with a post that’s twice as long as yours, with double the depth.
Who do you think people are going to flock to?
6. You Aren’t a Great Writer
Even if your posts are packed with useful and unique info, your blog will fail if the writing is flat. Worse, bad writing can negatively impact your bottom line.
Writing that’s technically weak — poor grammar, bad sentence structure, etc. — can lead people to make assumptions about the quality of your product or services.
"Poor grammar or sentence structure can lead to negative assumptions about your product or services. #contentmarketing" - The Content Factory
If you lack writing chops, no worries. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. In this case, it’s best to outsource your blog content writing.
Keep in mind, though, that the decision to outsource is just a first step. From there, you need to do your homework and find a good writer or agency that understands good content and SEO. Before you start your search, know what questions to ask and which red flags to watch for.
Hint: Use our list of 14 questions to ask before you hire a content writer.
7. Your Blog Content Doesn’t Connect
If you make your blog content a constant sales pitch, your readers will catch on.
To connect with your intended audience, you have to do a few things:
- Create a narrative
- Provide useful content people actually want to read
- Deliver value
And here’s some good news: your product or service doesn’t have to be particularly sexy or exciting to be interesting.
Case in point? Whole Foods. The company taps into its unique culture and shares it online, featuring recipes, gift ideas and self-care tips, all showing off the unique, natural-is-best ethos of a grocery chain not afraid to stand out from the pack.
Really, the secret to Whole Foods’ blogging success is simple: it stayed true to its brand and culture and it didn’t try to copy its competitors. (Although, it’s still important to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing online.)
8. You Don’t Use Data to Back Up Your Statements
When you’re writing to attract customers, what you’re really doing is persuading them to choose you over someone else. People tend to take action when they’re presented with facts, not assertions. Let’s use an example.
Which of the following statements seems more authoritative?
- A lot of people smoked in the ‘60s.
- 42% of adults smoked in 1965.
Obviously, the second statement has more oomph. It’s more compelling because there’s a solid number behind it and a source to back it up.
The phrase “a lot of people” means different things to everyone depending on the context. On the other hand, everyone can imagine what the country was like when nearly half of it smoked.
You couldn’t have gone anywhere without seeing cigarette butts and ashtrays. You can practically smell the secondhand smoke just thinking about it. The second sentence is better because it’s a fact, not just an assertion.
You could even go one better by referencing the source directly by adding “according to the CDC” at the beginning or end.
The point is, you want to make it easy for readers to picture what you’re talking about. Facts and stats can even be a great jumping off point for a blog post.
Run a small bed and breakfast? Tell people that hotels are the third most popular place to encounter bed bugs. Launching a dog walking website? Write a post about how 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year and then talk about tips for keeping your dog active and healthy (by hiring a dog walker, of course).
9. You Don’t Share Your Content
Facebook surpassed 2 billion users last year — and other social media channels are closing in. If your content is just sitting on your blog, you’re only getting a fraction of the eyeballs you could be getting if you shared it on social media.
If you already have a blog, but you’ve been overlooking social media, it’s time to elevate your content marketing game by getting social.
A word of warning, however: business blunders on social channels can quickly get you the wrong kind of attention. It’s very easy for one or two intrepid users to stumble across a poorly-worded post or ill-advised image and share it with hundreds or thousands of people.
10. You Don’t Care About Your User Experience
Not too long ago, if you wanted to get content to rank for specific keywords, you just wrote content targeting those keywords. Not anymore.
Google cares not just about the content on your page — they also care about how that content is delivered to your users. When a user browses onto your page, what will they see? Is your website’s layout messy? Does it load slowly? Are you bombarding users with popups? Are you trying to trick them in any way?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you’re delivering a poor user experience, and you shouldn’t expect your content to go anywhere.
Your blog needs to be clean — you don’t need a fancy layout, but you do need one that loads fast and presents your content in the clearest way possible. You shouldn’t try to trick users into signing up for anything (or worse — forcing them to in order to see your content).
11. You Don’t Have Any E-A-T
Wait — what does E-A-T mean?
E-A-T — Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness — is an acronym coined by Google in their Search Quality Guidelines. To break it down:
Expertise: Are you an expert in your field?
This will be based on credentials — degrees, experience, certifications, etc. Just how much expertise you need depends on what you’re writing about. Medical products? You better have a Dr. in front of your name. Video game reviews? As long as you’re writing useful content, you’re in the clear.
Authority: Are you writing a post that’s backed up by evidence?
Are you citing experts in your field? Are you developing a thorough, in-depth blog post? Are you being honest?
Trustworthiness: At first glance, does your site appear trustworthy?
This is especially true if you’re expecting users to hand over money to you (either through a credit card or another method). If you have proper security measures in place, and you look relatively legit, you’re golden.
In short, in 2018, it’s not enough to just write a blog post: you’ve got to back up your claims, and you’ve got to show your audience that you aren’t just screaming into the void.
All of this is amplified if your blog or company falls into the “YMYL” category.
YMYL, or Your Money or Your Life, is yet another acronym that Google uses to refer to websites that have potentially dangerous information on them.
In other words, if a user came to a YMYL website and listened to whatever advice was on that particular page, could they end up hurting themselves — or lighting their savings on fire? Essentially, is there some sort of risk involved in sharing this information?
If there is — say if you’re offering medical or investment advice — than Google will hold you to a higher standard. You’re going to need to prove to your audience that you’re an expert. If you are, and the information you share with your audience is trustworthy, then you’re likely to climb in the rankings. If you don’t, however, you should expect to sink like a rock — or disappear from the SERPs entirely.
With that said, it’s our belief at TCF that Google will eventually come at most websites with this high level of accountability. Google’s goal isn’t just to make sure users are getting information — they want them to get accurate, safe information. While YMYL sites are a great place to start, there’s no doubt other websites (including this one!) will ultimately be held to the exact same standards — or close to them.
12. You Aren’t Writing Blog Posts That Convert
You aren’t blogging to improve your health — you’re doing it to make money. Yet, many business owners forget about this when they start crafting their content. In order to do that, you need to understand search intent.
In a nutshell, search intent is the expected behavior users will follow when they search for a particular keyword.
For example, someone searching for “hotel price atlanta” is likely looking to find an affordable hotel room to book in Atlanta. On the other hand, someone searching for “haunted hotel atlanta” is likely looking for stories about a hotel — sure, they might be interested in booking a room there, but it’s much more likely they just want information.
If you own a hotel in Atlanta, what keyword should you target? Both are good choices, but you should prioritize the first one, as it’s more likely to convert — in other words, when someone clicks on it, they’re more likely to give you their business.
Writing blog posts that can turn clicks into business isn’t easy — it’s as much an art as is it a science. Want to know — in detail — how to do it for yourself? Our SEO 101 video class can help get you there.
Now, we’re not saying that every post you write needs to be selling a product — far from it! Some of your content will be mostly for generating backlinks — and some others might simply target more general subjects that you feel you need to cover.
But at least a third of the content you post should be designed to convert — and you should always link to that content in the posts that aren’t as conversion-heavy to help finish out your pipeline.
Learn More About the Blog Content Writing and SMM Services We Offer
Most business owners are busy enough without having to worry about monitoring their site traffic or learning how to write web content on the side.
If this sounds like you, get in touch! Contact us for more information about blog content writing services, social media management, web copywriting and more.