I’ve learned many valuable lessons from blogging over the years; some are essentially hard and fast rules (i.e. have an attention-grabbing title, never keyword stuff, always include a byline) and others are simply guidelines that a decision maker/marketing department determines is best for the specific organization. There is never anything wrong with the latter. With that being said, however, there are unmistakably harmful errors I see businesses make when it comes to blogging.
After collaborating with countless companies in an agency environment and now as an independent content marketer/consultant, I continue to see too many companies make these three nightmarish mistakes. Yes, companies that exemplify these behaviors or embrace these practices can quite literally be the thing of nightmares for us content marketers:
- Micromanage and/or overthink blogging
I’ve had the displeasure of working with companies that completely micromanage content strategy, management and development. From start to finish, these companies have a very hard time entrusting the external resources they bring in to do the job that they are hired to do. Not only does this make for a tense working environment, but it usually negatively affects the quality of the blogging campaign.
Whether they outsource blogging or not, many companies can also get far too focused on their competitors’ content, which makes them overthink their blog strategy. They have to be absolutely certain that their blog topics look nothing like anything that any of their competitors produce—otherwise, for some reason, it’s not relevant or impactful content. This mentality is impractical and simply not true. These companies may also be so entrenched in numbers and analytics that they lose sight of the true purpose of blogging. At the end of the day, blogging is never a numbers game.
- Overtly promote brand and/or product
They don’t realize it, but WAY too many companies desire to inadvertently inundate their blog with mentions of their brand and/or products. Rather than organically mention specific products or services; subtly highlight favorable features while omitting the product/service name; or doing a classy call to action (CTA), many companies are still hell-bent on unabashedly putting themselves front and center. I’ve had many clients demand that their blog highlights only their brand and/or product and then shortly after question me as to why their blog isn’t being well received.
I think the best way to explain it is like this: If you went to dinner with a friend and all they did was talk about his or herself, how long would you give yourself until you up and left? A “me, me, me” approach never works, period.
- Refuse to blog about unrelated/unconventional topics
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: companies that get the best viewership and engagement rates are the ones that understand the importance of blogging about topics that are completely irrelevant to their company, industry, etc. Sometimes you may draw a really unique parallel between a seemingly unrelated topic and your industry. Sometimes you may establish a neat connection between your company’s message and something you thought was unrelated. Sometimes, you just want to blog about something different. For the life of me, I still don’t understand why companies refuse to blog about fun, diverse topics (I have had clients literally outright refuse to blog about anything that was not directly related to their company and/or product because they believed it would not resonate with their target audience). Again, not true!