Blogging is deceptively simple. You crank out an article, throw in a few keywords, pop it into your content management system and click ‘publish.’ Surely that’s all there is to it?
In actual fact, as with every other area of running a business, your blog needs more thought and care to make sure it is serving your overall marketing strategy. Here are some of the potential pitfalls you’ll want to avoid:
1. Losing focus
Your business blog is not like your social media profile – or even a personal blog. It’s a marketing tool, which you use to shape and enhance your brand. Even though the feel of a blog is generally more casual than other corporate communications, you need to keep a tight hold on the reins. The style and tone of your copy must stay in line with your brand voice guidelines, and the content should complement your other marketing activity. Every time you write a post, ask yourself: if this is the only thing a visitor to my site reads, what impression of my business will they come away with?
A key advantage of having a blog on your website is that it gives a sense of vibrancy and life that just doesn’t come across from web pages that never change. If there’s always a fresh post on your site, visitors will feel able to trust that everything else they read is current. However, if you allow your blog to languish for long months without updating it, there’s a risk that your whole site could seem deserted and neglected – hardly confidence-inspiring.
3. Infringing copyright
If you post other people’s work – including text and images – without their permission or an appropriate licence, you could face claims of copyright infringement. If you want to illustrate your posts without paying, there are sites offering royalty-free images, or you could just use your own photos. However, this works both ways. The copyright in original content and photographs you post on your blog automatically belongs to your business, so keep an eye out for anyone else trying to profit from them.
This danger is connected with points 1 and 2. Make sure your posts don’t do anything to undermine your professional appearance or damage your brand. For example, responding intelligently to an industry development can be a good way of demonstrating your professional knowledge and competence, but an angry rant could put off potential clients. Similarly, posts covering work events can be a great way of showing that your business is run by approachable, pleasure-to-work-with human beings, but avoid in-jokes, unnecessary details and anything that could make your team seem less than professional.
5. Skipping the spellcheck
Proofreading your posts for spelling, punctuation and grammar is essential, and if you can get someone else to read them for you before publishing, that’s even better. Few of us can successfully proofread our own work. Similarly, checking your posts for off-putting jargon and clichés is important, particularly if yours is a consumer-facing business and you don’t want to risk alienating customers who might not understand the technical language you’d use with others in the industry. Again, having someone else cast an eye over what you’ve written can be invaluable. If even your colleagues don’t understand your post, it probably needs some more work.