A company blog is a crucial component of any digital business footprint. It’s no longer enough to just have a website or a Facebook page—your company needs to create and share stories related to what you do.
Why? Some telling stats: 6 of 10 online marketers believe that they’ve gotten new customers just through blogging; companies that blog get 97% more links to their website compared to those that don’t; and small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than those that don’t.
The formula appears simple: Your business, plus a blog, equals a more profitable business.
But maybe you have a blog and you’re not seeing the growth you feel was promised. You write posts, but nothing happens. Maybe you’re considering giving it up, or at least giving up the dream of seeing it help grow your business.
Don’t do that just yet. Instead, let’s examine some ways that you’re not using your blog effectively, and see how you can make your efforts more worth your time.
Figure out why you’re actually blogging
Sometimes, a blog retains the reputation of being something of an online diary—remember LiveJournal, anyone?
But in this context, a blog is just a slightly less formal place for you to share new content that is nevertheless on-brand, informational, and directed to your customers.
There are crucial differences between the kind of writing you might do on a personal blog and what you should do on your business blog. And the sooner you identify those differences, the sooner you’ll stop wasting your time.
Are you writing for your customers?
Remember: Your writing on your company blog isn’t for you, but for people who might be interested in your business.
While you can’t create blog posts specifically tailored to your exact customers—if you know each and every one of your customers individually, you’re probably not going to last very long—you should have a general idea of who you’re selling to.
If you aren’t sure, time to go back to the drawing board and create customer profiles. These profiles are generalized descriptions of your ideal customers you can use to market to them more effectively.
Once you have your target customer profiled, you’ll be able to write posts that are more appealing to them. A young female customer reads, finishes, and clicks through a different kind of post than an older male one—especially in terms of length, tone, and formatting.
Is your blog covering topics related to your business?
Again: Your business blog is not your personal blog. If you run a bridal shop, blogging about grill equipment (your side passion) is going to drive down readership, retention, and your search ranking.
Your blog needs to be relevant to your business. Otherwise, it won’t accomplish the very basic and arguably most important goal of having a blog: Driving customers who come upon your well-written blog content to your actual website, in order to convert them to paying customers.
Is your content boring?
We’re not pulling any punches here. Are you a good writer? Is your writing engaging, interesting, and not punctuated with errors?
If you can’t answer a resounding yes to the above questions, it may be time to hire some professional blogging help and bring someone on who can weave compelling stories out of your product concepts, raw data, and relevant topics.
Are your posts properly formatted for maximum impact?
There are different types of blog posts. Not all of them are blocks of text stuffed with keywords about your business to drag in unsuspecting searchers. Hopefully, none of them are.
Different formats to your blog posts can accomplish different goals. Long list posts get you more backlinks. Research-backed, data-driven posts can establish you as an authority in your field. Posts built around infographics are best at racking up social shares. And so on.
Switch up your blogging format to utilize all these different formats—and don’t go with something that accomplishes none of the important goals of blogging.
Finally: Are you sharing your work?
It’s nice to imagine that you’re such a good blogger that your work will be discovered and shared by the influential internet users of our time, but that’s probably not going to work.
Once you publish your content, do the legwork to get your posts out there: Share across all your social media channels; submit it to content communities that have larger, more established audiences; start an email marketing campaign to get your content delivered directly to people’s inboxes.
Blogging is just one small part of your larger digital media campaign. No piece of your campaign should be an island: Use your other tools in concert with your content to make sure it’s making maximum impact. That way, you won’t be wasting your time.
Maggie Aland is a staff writer and marketing expert at Fit Small Business, where she writes how-to guides and articles on marketing for small business owners.