The top 10 lies about business blog writing

business blog writing,blogging,business writing

How many more lies about business blog writing can you recall?

Let’s not beat around the bush here: there are quite a few lies being spread around about business blog writing and it’s time we got down and dirty to figure out what’s true and what isn’t.

Here are my top 10 favorite lies, and why I think they are lies.

(For a list of the top 10 most helpful articles on blogging for business as chosen by our readers, click here)

Please join in the discussion and add your own favorites in the comments. Also tell me if you think my observations suck: I’m a big girl and can cope with dissent. Just duck when I fling a rotten tomato in your direction… ūüėČ

1.Blogging, content marketing and inbound marketing are all the same thing.

To my utter horror, I found these exact words on the website of someone who purports to be an “expert” at blogging, offering to teach and mentor businesses in their blogging because she is a self-proclaimed guru on the subject. So let’s get some truth going here. Some definitions from Wikipedia:

Inbound marketing is promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, enewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to bring customers in closer to the brand, where they want to be.

Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.

A¬†blog¬†(a truncation of the expression¬†web log)[1]¬†is a discussion or informational site published on the¬†World Wide Web¬†and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject.

In other words, inbound marketing is big picture: the strategy, planning and execution ¬†covering all non-advertising or direct selling activities (those are called outbound marketing.)¬†Content marketing is the next level down, using communication tools to disseminate the information produced by the inbound marketing strategy.¬†Blogs are the final and most up-close-and-personal level, whether you’re a small business owner and write it yourself, or it’s (ghost)written by the company team. What do all three have in common? None of them involve any overt hard sell.

2.You must regard every business blog you write as a marketing vehicle for your product or service offering.

Amazingly, a number of so-called blogging experts are still promoting this stuff, forgetting that blogging for business is not about overt selling, but about building a trustworthy relationship with customers and prospects. To do this you need to include quite a lot of useful articles that inform, astound, entertain etc. without always ending up in a “click here to buy now” message.¬†There are various recommendations around as to the right ratio of sales posts versus non-sales/informative/helpful posts, but your best bet is to keep the sales types down to between 10 and 30 percent of all you post.

3.Whatever you blog about you need to stick an image up: anything is better than nothing.

business blog writing,lies,marketing,bloggingIt’s always good to include an image, but as I say in this article of mine a wishy-washy image that doesn’t contribute anything other than an upwards pointing arrow on a shiny background isn’t going to impress anyone. If you haven’t got time to find an image that really does make a useful / interesting / humorous contribution, stick to text only. Just remember to break your text up with short paragraphs, cross headings, emboldened bits etc., so your article isn’t visually boring, i.e. long blocks of unbroken text.

4.The more keywords you can use in your text the more prominence you’ll get on Google.

Nope. Not any more. Since Google’s algorithm changes over the last couple of years including those named in cuddly terms as Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, the old keyword-stuffing crap no longer works, and thank Heavens for it. Now Google is much more interested in original, fresh content. Moderate use of keywords in the text is good, but woe betide bloggers who try to stuff more than a few in, especially if they don’t make sense in the context of the article.

5.Even if you have a very small business, you’re better off hiring a ghost blogger.

Nope again. And I know you may be thinking that I’m nuts for saying this as ostensibly I should be telling you to hire me to write your blog posts for you. But if it’s your “name” on the door, then you (whether you use your own name or that of a company) are effectively the “brand” of your business. Blog writing doesn’t have to be a challenge: it’s not like you’re writing literary prose or intellectual articles for elite newspapers. Blog writing for your business is about you and your customers/prospects: building a quasi-personal relationship with them. OK, here’s the sell: I can help you do this with my blog writing tuition. But then it’s over to you. And you can ¬†do it.

6.It’s crucial that you develop a strong blogging strategy and stick to it come what may.

Hmmmm, yes and no. In my own experience blogging strategies are great to give you guidelines on what you need to write about when. However you need to remember that your blog needs to be flexible to accommodate topical issues and anything else that might crop up in the course of the business year. So by all means have a strategy, but make allowances for spontaneity when necessary.

7.Don’t worry too much about promoting your blog because readers will find you.

Another nope. The internet is full of millions of blogs and websites all clamoring for attention from your customers and prospects. Remember that and get busy promoting your site and your blog posts, without spamming of course, across all your social media platforms and groups within those platforms. And don’t overdo it. Be sensible about where you share what so the shares you do use are relevant and potentially useful for the audience concerned.

You might find these articles of mine helpful:

Business blog post sharing groups – do they really work?

Sharing on social media: how much pre-information do you really need to write?

8.Videos, infographics and other non-text blog posts are where it’s at these days

Well, er, yes … but given that people haven’t got much time to absorb the squillions of blog posts, articles, web text, emails and other stuff that pours into their inboxes every day, you need to bear in mind that ordinary text can be assimilated a lot faster that video and audio and certainly much faster than the often rather eccentric format of the infographic. Tip:¬†people usually scan text and if you want to get your messages across even faster, write your main points, including keywords, as sub-headings.

9.To entice readers to sign up to your blogsite you must offer them a free something or other

Actually in general this is true. However here on HTWB I suggest people sign up for Blog Writing News and there are no freebies, just a very short and sharp curation of the best articles I can find on the internet that help people who are doing their own business blogging thing. The list has grown from a few hundred (who came over from my earlier list which someone else managed) to over 800 in just a few months and out of all those, I’ve only had one ¬†unsubscribe. However the emails I send out are very short, I don’t try to sell sh*t in them other than a mention of how I can help if you’re stuck with your blog writing, and from the feedback I get it seems most subscribers like what they get. Out-take? If you can illustrate quality that results from signing up for your communications, you probably don’t need to dangle carrots.

10.You need to blog frequently if you’re going to get noticed

That’s a bit too broad an assumption to make sense. OK, I blog 6 days a week – 5 are about writing and the 6th on a Sunday is usually a jokey piece so we can all have a laugh. But how often you blog does not have to be that rigid or often. A great deal depends on your business, your customers and prospects, how often you can produce a good, useful blog post, and how often your customers and prospects will appreciate news from you. As a rule of thumb, many experts (real ones!) suggest you start with one blog post per week and see how it goes. That’s what I did, and it worked as a starter for me although now that we’re getting around 120,000 page views a month here on HTWB, I feel I need to keep coming up with lots of new content!

What other lies about business blog writing have I forgotten?

Please share your views!

photo credit: kewl via photopin cc

Comments

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  1. Suzan,

    Great article to read this morning over a coffee.

    The problem is that 98% of business owner get confused after being overwhelmed with conflicting advice. And with so many websites built on blogging platforms (WP, etc) lines become blurred.

    Regards,

    Steve

    • It’s funny, Steve – I just got back from a business breakfast meeting where we were talking about exactly that – the way websites and blogsites are becoming one entity. Things are definitely changing, even to the point where we’re sayng we should drop the word “blog” as it’s so ugly and demeaning, when people’s “blog posts” now are actually proper articles. Watch this space!

  2. I agree with all of your points Suzan.

    The one I’d add is that so many Guru’s spout the classic “it’s all about driving traffic to your website” and that your blog needs to be built into it. Google themselves say that an external blog (under the same domain name of course) works just as well as an internal one.

    In this day and age, it’s about driving traffic to your brand and building trust and authority with your audience so when they’re ready to buy, they’ll remember you first! It doesn’t matter where your channels are, just that they all work together and consistently.

    • Absolutely Steffi – and in many ways it’s better to keep your blog as a separate entity, because amongst other advantages you’re then freer to be a bit more controversial in it. People are scared to do that for the reason you mention – yet it makes no difference to Google one way or the other.

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