Why Your Professional Blog Doesn’t Work
Many professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, marketers and others with small businesses, use blogs as the essence of their Internet presence. In theory, this makes sense since at its core a blog is a content management system (CMS) so you have the freedom to easily create and edit content. Yet, while the concept of a blog is appealing as a thought leadership platform, the reality is that most professionals lack the time, motivation and ability to blog enough to keep it alive.
12 Ways to turn your professional blog into a lead generating machine
While blogging seems easy from the outside, like any other skill, it takes practice to master. Here are twelve professional blogs hurdles that may hinder your ability to generate leads and how to fix them.
- Requires content publication on a routine basis. Due to other business priorities, many small businesses find that they can’t blog on a consistent schedule. FIX: Get a freelancer to ghost write one to five posts a week.
- Only write when there’s major industry event or news. Lack editorial skills to create blog posts when nothing’s happening. FIX: Hire a freelance or full-time editor depending on the importance of content creation. If you don’t have the budget for this resource, use an editorial calendar to plan out post ideas. Brainstorm post ideas with your colleagues.
- Need to incorporate search optimization into posts. Search optimization (aka SEO) doesn’t happen in a vacuum. FIX: Plan your keywords and integrate them into your editorial calendar. Don’t overlook the need for links within your blog/website as well as outbound links to other sites.
- Only focuses on your needs. Blogs, as a form of social media, should contribute to the larger community. To provide thought leadership, do it in a way that pays-it-forward and supports the community. If you only write about your own needs, you’ll turn off prospective readers. FIX: Find out what your customers’ pain points are and supply content that enhances your community. (Don’t know what they need? Then ask them.)
- Buries post lead. Blog posts aren’t a game of hide and seek. Readers want to find out what your post is about quickly. FIX: Use titles that hook readers. Make sure that your opening is consistent with your title and gets to the point soon.
- Contains big lumps of content. Many business people approach writing blog posts like school compositions. They’re long paragraphs that slowly move from one point to another. FIX: Time strapped readers tend to read on-the-go. Write short paragraphs with bullet points and bolding to guide readers through your posts. Remember that if you don’t hook them in under ten seconds, they’re gone!
- Only uses text. As a content management system, blogs can accommodate a wide variety of different content formats. Make your blog more engaging by incorporating various types of content into your mix. FIX: Include presentations and videos in your blog posts. This is an easy way to create new content if you make a lot of presentations. Think through your topic in advance to create content for different uses.
- Don’t make posts visually intriguing. Nothing in the post grabs the reader’s attention. FIX: Use photographs (as well as other forms of social media content.) In particular, use photographs of people since they work better to draw readers in. (Hint: Need photographs? Check Flickr with appropriate usage rights.)
- Forget your blog is a conversation. As a form of social media, blogs provide for an idea exchange. A blog shouldn’t be a broadcast only platform. FIX: Invite readers to comment and add to the conversation. (Example: Note my blog posts always end with a tailored, relevant question.) Bear in mind, it’s critical to answer readers’ comments as soon as possible to show someone’s home and appreciates the input.
- Don’t participate in the blogosphere. As an active member of the blogging community, it’s critical to visit other blogs, to comment on and tweet their posts. In other words, pay-it-forward. FIX: Find the influential blogs in your category. Then read, comment and share the posts to extend their reach. The benefit of doing this exercise is that it forces you to participate in the community and can get you thinking about other blog pieces.
- Don’t make social sharing easy. Social sharing, in particular Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, is great to expand your blog’s reach cost effectively. FIX: Add social sharing buttons to your blog. Also incorporate a related call-to-action to remind readers to act.
- Assume readers will magically find your blog. Just because you hit the publish button doesn’t mean that the post automatically generate readers. You need to continually market the blog so that potential readers know about it. FIX: Leverage other aspects of your business marketing to extend your blog reach. This includes your emailings, website, collateral, packaging and social media.
Understand that a professional blog requires hard work to yield targeted leads. Follow these recommendations to get your blog on track. If you don’t have the time or inclination to blog, then use the static blog pages. In this case, the blog acts like a small website. If you do this, you may not get the benefits of building a blog audience because you’ll only have a small amount of content.
Do you have any suggestions that you’d add to this list? If so, please include them in the comment section below.
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Photo credit: NormalityRelief via Flickr