Blogs are becoming one of the fastest-growing ways for people with common interests to share information, ask questions, and dig deeper into their passion subjects. They also are increasingly being used by companies to build stronger relationships with their customers.
But whether you are publishing your own special interest blog or writing a blog for your corporate masters, your objective needs to be to attract and hold onto the largest possible reader base.
Sounds simple enough, right? Yet thousands of bloggers routinely shoot themselves in the foot by making stupid mistakes that could easily be avoided.
Here are the top five ways many bloggers inadvertently ruin their credibility and turn off readers so they never return:
1. Talking Too Much about Yourself
This is more of a problem with company-sponsored blogs than with individual bloggers. But the purpose of both types of blogs should be to provide readers with content that consistently informs and educates readers on new and interesting topics.
Blogs should be commercials for products or companies. When you only write about what your company is doing (or about yourself), you are going to turn off a lot of readers, especially if you keep doing it blog after blog.
A better plan is to establish yourself as an industry thought leader and give you readers high-value content. When you do this, you can increase loyalty bonds and keep them coming back for more.
2. Shamelessly Hawking Your Products
Unless you are Amazon.com, most people don’t visit your blogs to buy products.
While it’s generally acceptable to include links to affiliate products or to promote products you endorse (and hopefully get a commission from), you can’t be obvious about it. Don’t hit readers over the head with your sales pitch. Educate first and sell subtly.
3. Not Selling Enough
Sure, this sounds like it runs counter to the last item, but it actually doesn’t. While you want to provide your readers with high-value content and avoid bludgeoning them with your sales pitch, you also should remember that your blog is there for a reason: To increase interest in your company or subject.
Tie your valuable content back to your brand and include a soft sell to get the message across to your blog’s readers.
4. Turning Off the Comments Section
Some companies are so concerned about their online reputation that they try to manage the way they are portrayed on their own blog by not allowing comments. Big mistake.
Not allowing comments doesn’t encourage readers to engage with your content. It sends the message that you don’t care what they have to say, that you don’t value their opinions.
While there may be some (minimal) risk that somebody is going to post something critical and that it will be read by other readers before you can get rid of it, if you properly maintain your comments section on a regular basis you can address any negativity quickly and effectively. In many instances, your best customers are those that had a bad experience that you addressed to their complete satisfaction.
5. Being Too Long-Winded
People aren’t clicking on to your blog because they want to read “War and Peace”. Keep your blogs short and information-dense. Providing too much information can make reader weary and wary of future blogs posts.
Remember the old show business adage: Always leave them wanting more!
These five common land mines can destroy the credibility of any blog. Avoid these and you can improve your chances of attracting many new followers, and holding on to your existing ones longer.