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Apr 29

Top 5 Business Blog Mistakes

By Randell Miller | Blog , marketing

Top 5 Business Blog MistakesFor over a decade, blogging has been advocated as a method of driving traffic to your website and demonstrating your authority. However, there is a lot of confusion about what should go into a business blog and how to make it a useful part of your business. This is a problem that is faced by small business owners and Fortune 500 companies alike. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes blog owners make:

Forgetting Who It Is Serving

Your blog isn’t written for you. It is written by you, but it should be focused on the needs of your audience. The minute you lose sight of that is the minute your blog stops being relevant or useful to them, and that’s when they stop reading it.

Hiding Its Existence

If you’re going to take the time to blog, don’t hide the fact that it exists. This should be easy to find and easy to use. If it is designed correctly, that blog is a useful instrument for your potential and current customers that can reduce or eliminate a lot of the confusion and customer service complaints before they even have a chance to get started, so don’t hide it. Announce it loud and proud.

Failing To Make It Relevant

Unless you are in the business of making funny cat videos or internet memes, they don’t really have a place in your blog. You may draw traffic with those things, but you won’t be drawing the right kind of traffic to your site. Your blog should be designed to attract and serve the kind of people you want buying from you.

Failing To Make It Useful

If your blog is not serving the company by helping to educate consumers about what to expect when they work with you, how to resolve common customer-caused problems before they can happen, or how to get more and do more with the things they purchase from you, it’s not useful to you and it isn’t useful to them. Your blog should support your business. It should be a combination sales and customer service agent.

Inconsistent Posting

No matter how good your content is, you won’t build a following if you aren’t reliable in when and how often people can expect to get your content. It’s time consuming to write blog posts, which is why most small business owners are too overwhelmed to blog for their business on a regular basis.

If you can’t afford to hire someone to build and maintain your blog for you, the best way to do this is to create a blog plan. Choose a topic you’ll be covering that you can dive into in greater depth over the next month or two so that the total number of posts you get out of it is between 6-8. Spend one week writing up all 6-8 posts, and then schedule their release one per week. This way, you’re keeping your blog up-to-date but you aren’t overwhelming yourself with the amount of labor involved in doing it.

Join Us for Our Better Blog Series

Every Friday for the next six weeks, we’re going to be covering ways to overcome these 5 mistakes. We’ll look at who your blog is serving, what their needs are, how you can use your blog to prepare them to do business with you, how you can educate them about what they need to expect when working with you, how you can find and fill in the gaps that lead to complaints and problems, and how you can help them get more out of the purchase they’ve just made.

Are You Excited?

If you’re looking forward to hearing more or have questions about this series, let us know. We do read and reply to comments.

What Blog Mistakes Did We Miss?

What are some of the big blog mistakes you’ve seen business owners make? What annoyed you the most about those mistakes? What would you like to see more of in business blogs?

What Are Your Blog Struggles?

Do you struggle with creating or maintaining a business blog? Let us know what your biggest hurdles are and we’ll see if we can help.

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May 27

Make Your Blog Posts Relevant

By Brandy Miller | Blog , branding , Customer retention , marketing

Relevance Matters
This is the fifth post in our Better Business Blogs series. In a previous post, I talked about how to identify the five kinds of readers that come to your site and the differences in what kind of content they need to find there in order to help them build trust and develop a relationship with you. In this post, I want to discuss with you the importance of relevance in your blog posts.

Keeping It Relevant

Keeping your blog posts relevant means looking at ways that you can connect your product or service with the needs of the audience you want to attract in a way that is at once useful to them and allows you to demonstrate your skills. For instance, a graphic designer who wants to attract small business owners might write a blog post on how to get the most for the money when hiring a graphic designer, since money is a major concern for most small business owners.

Relevance Determines the Audience

Everything from how you write your piece to the way you write it will attract a certain kind of people to your website. Let’s go back to that graphic designer in the earlier example. If her target is small business owners but she’s busy posting funny stories about her cats that have nothing to do with either small business or graphic design, she’s going to attract lots of cat lovers. However, she might not attract any small business owners.

Even if she does attract some small business owners, they are probably going to be few in number and they aren’t likely to take her seriously as a graphic designer because she’s not presenting herself that way. Is she being authentic? Certainly. Is she developing a relationship with her audience? Certainly. However, she’s not attracting the kind of people she’ll need to have a successful business.

Relevance Sets the Right Expectations

People look to your blog to try and figure out what kind of business you have and what they can expect when they do business with you. If you blog about something completely unrelated to what you do, it’s not setting the proper expectations for them and it’s going to lead to audience confusion. Confused audiences don’t usually buy products or hire people for services. They go to someone that is clear about the expectations instead.

Relevance Determines the Loyalty

When you consistently deliver relevant content to your audience, they will become loyal followers of yours. They will seek you out when they need information on that topic. Provided that you are delivering high quality content as well, they will refer friends and associates to your blog because it is known for something.

Relevance Establishes Expertise

It is fine for the rest of your website to talk about what you can do for someone. Your blog, though, needs to demonstrate your expertise. When you are consistent in delivering relevant information on that topic, you demonstrate your expertise. Especially when the advice you give or the recommendations you make in your blog save your readers time and money or allow them to avoid expensive mistakes.

Relevance Is Good For SEO

One of the factors search engines use to determine how to rank you when listing out search results for any terms is your relevance. How much of your content seems to fit the search criteria of the user? The more relevant your site is deemed based on your content, the higher up those rankings you go.

Want Us To Feature Your Business Blog?

If you would like us to look over your business blog and make recommendations, or to make it a case study for one of our upcoming blog posts, just email brandy at nvcreativetechnology dot com.

What’s Your Big Blog Challenge

Comment below and let us know what you thought of this article, or what blog challenges you’re facing in keeping your business blog relevant.

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May 20

Why Are You Hiding Your Blog?

By Brandy Miller | Customer retention , marketing

Don't Hide Your BlogYou write a blog but you bury the link to it in tiny print on the footer of your homepage, and you never mention it to your customers or prospects. Or you put it on the last page of your website, in tiny print, almost as if you are apologizing for its existence. Hiding your blog is like taking the work you’ve done to create it and throwing it in the garbage.

Make It Easy To Find

Don’t hide your blog. Make it easy to find. There should, at the very least, be a link to it in the top menu. Your blog is there to do some of the heavy lifting in building trust with your prospects and customers. If done well, it will speak for you when you aren’t available to speak.

Promote It, Share It, Talk About It

When you write, share it. Share it on your social media feeds, but email your list and let them know it’s there for them to read. Tell them what helpful content you’re going to provide them and why they should go read it. When you meet a prospect, tell them about your blog. Give them a reason to go look for and read it.

Link Posts TogethMake It Searchableer

The bottom of every blog post should give your reader the opportunity to read more blog posts based on this same theme. The longer you can keep them on your site reading, the more trust you are able to build with them. It’s like an ongoing conversation that the two of you are having and it costs you nothing to get there because you’ve already created this content.

Make It Searchable

If prospects or even customers want to know more about a topic, they should be able to search your blog to find every post you’ve ever written about it. The easier you make it for them to find the content they want, the more likely they are to read it and to keep reading, and the shorter you’ll make the sales cycle.

Feature It

Your blog gives your visitors a reason to keep coming back. It creates new, fresh content for them to look at and review. Don’t bury it. Feature it. Make it part of your front page. You don’t have to make it the biggest thing on the page, but it should be the 2nd most prominent thing on your home page right after your products.

Don’t Hide Your Best Salesperson

Your blog never sleeps. It never takes a bathroom break or goes home for the night. It works hard all day, every day, telling your customers and prospects all the reasons why they should choose to do business with you. It is your best salesman. Don’t hide it. Use it.

How Are You Using Your Business Blog?

What are you currently doing with your business blog? How are you using it to your advantage? What has your experience been? Post in the comments below and let us know.

Come Back Next Week For Tips on Making Your Blog Relevant

Next week, we’ll talk about how you can make your blog more relevant than ever before to the people you serve. We’ll discuss what relevance is, why it matters to you, to them, and to Google, and how you can be sure you’re keeping it relevant to the people you serve.

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Feb 19

Marketing Minute: The Marketing Conversation

By Brandy Miller | Blog , branding , marketing

Talk to me

At its heart, marketing is a conversation you have with your prospective buyers about what you do, why you do it, who you serve, and why that all matters. The reason most marketing fails is that it’s too self-absorbed, too self-interested, to be interesting to the prospect. You have to put yourself in the shoes of your prospect by approaching this conversation from the standpoint of what they need and what they want and how your work can help them achieve those ends if you want to get through to them.

Breaking the ice

Print ads and commercials are ice breakers used to help get that conversation started. They should always feature a reason for the person listening, watching, or reading your ad to come to you. The giveaway must be something that your prospects will find valuable, something that is worth their time and effort to obtain. It should also be something that reminds them of you and the value you have to offer.

Tell me why it matters

Dale Carnegie is often quoted as saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It’s true. Your prospects need to know why your work matters to them. How is it going to help them with their own worries and concerns? How is it going to solve the problems they face? What is it going to do for them? Once you’ve answered those questions to the satisfaction of your listener, they’ll be more than ready to hear more about your work.

Preparing for that conversation

Building Your Brand helps you prepare yourself to have that conversation by answering those questions ahead of time. It helps you to think more about what your business does and why, who it is you want to serve so you can identify your ideal prospects and what you have to offer them, and why that all matters to more than just you. Plus, it helps you outline a rough plan for how you are going to make that difference so you can invite your prospects and buyers to be part of making it all happen.

Taking the next step

Once you’ve finished Building Your Brand, it’s time to position yourself where your ideal prospects are most likely to be. That’s why identifying your target audience is so important – until you know who it is you want to engage in conversation, it’s hard to pinpoint where their favorite places to hang out are likely to be.

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Feb 16

Marketing Minute: A Brand Versus a Logo

By Brandy Miller | branding , logos , marketing

When most people start a business, their mind immediately jumps to creating a logo. That’s because most people think building a brand and creating a logo are the same thing.

In reality, building a brand is a lot more like creating a character for a book. You give this character a style and a personality, assign it some goals and motivations, and then you give that character a purpose and a reason to exist. You give readers a reason to care about this character’s existence.

That’s what building a brand does for your company, too. It gives your audience a reason to care about your success or failure.

Creating a logo is like choosing a face for that character – it’s how other people will come to recognize and relate to your brand. Thank you for watching, and I’ll see you in our next marketing minute.

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