5 Mistakes To Avoid When Blogging
“Content is king.” Those are the famous words written by Bill Gates in an essay published on the Microsoft website back in 1996. Gates went on to write “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”
Today, blogging has become a great way for financial services institutions, service providers and technology companies to generate leads, build SEO, influence audiences, show thought leadership, raise brand awareness and grow a business.
Abundant statistics support the effectiveness of blogging, including this data from the CMO Council:
- 87 percent of B2B buyers say online content has a major or moderate impact on vendor selection.
- 47 percent of buyers view at least 3-5 pieces of content before they contact a sales representative.
- Nine out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on their purchasing decision.
- 96 percent of B2B buyers look for more information from industry thought leaders before buying.
Yet, as with any marketing tactic, it’s not just about doing it—it’s about the right execution. So, here’s a list of the top five mistakes to make sure you avoid when blogging:
1. Not thinking strategically about blog length
Improving SEO is a good reason to engage in blogging. But in order to rank well in search engines, a blog post should contain at least 300 words. In fact, longer posts fare better in search engines, with posts that are 1,000 words or more ranking more easily than short posts. According to work management software CoSchedule, posts with around 2,500 words tend to rank highest. Furthermore, SEO agency Capsicum Mediaworks finds that the top 10 results for most Google searches are between 2,000 and 2,500 words.
Yet, it’s not all about SEO. Blogging has a number of uses and blog length should vary depending on the purpose of the blog. Think of it this way:
200-400 words: Very short blog posts may not be good for SEO, but they are great for engagement and to generate discussions, particularly with busy executives.
400-600 words: Short blog posts are an easy read and can be quite good for sharing on social media or in a newsletter. However, they are not ideal for SEO purposes, either.
600-1,000 words: These mid-length blogs offer an opportunity to sway opinions, inform target audiences, and can help build SEO.
1,000-1,500 words: Long-form content is useful in improving lead conversion and driving website traffic. Be sure to provide links to pages on your website and include calls to action.
1,500-2,500 words: Longer articles like these are loved by search engines. Be sure to include original educational content.
2. Not making your blog easy to read
Think of your target audience. Are they busy executives? Or do they have plenty of time on their hands? Chances are, they’re busy. So, make your blog easy to skim and get your point across quickly to keep readers engaged. It’s a good practice to divide your content into well thought out sections and keep sentences short.
According to online publishing platform Medium, articles or blogs with a reading time longer than 7 minutes get considerably less engagement. The human attention span is only a few minutes, so if you fail to engage with your users in the first minutes of reading, they probably won’t finish your article or blog.
3. Publishing content that doesn’t truly inform
At my agency, a common problem we see is a tendency for people to write blogs that don’t say anything new. This may happen because the company uses a writer who doesn’t understand the mortgage industry very well and is not in tune with what’s on people’s minds right now.
The key is to come up with informative content that can be useful to your target audience—and to communicate with them at their level. Content that is basic because that’s all the writer can handle is content that will likely be ignored.
4. Not blogging frequently enough
Have you ever come across a website that initially looks great, but then you see that the content – news, industry events and blogs or articles – is dated? You may wonder if perhaps the company is going out of business or is running out of funds.
Companies often spend a lot of time and money to create a brand new website, yet then fail to keep it up to date and relevant. Without regular updates, your site will begin to look stale to visitors. And it’s not only your customers and prospects who look for fresh content. Search engines feed off new content. Websites that are continually updated with new blogs indicate to Google and other engines that your website is current and providing new content, and therefore should rank higher.
The impact extends beyond SEO. According to Hubspot, companies that publish 16 or more blog posts per month see a 4.5x increase in leads compared to those that publish only 4 or fewer blogs per month.
5. Failing at execution
Regular blogging comes with many challenges. How do you keep up with the desired frequency? How do you make sure the blogs are well-written? How do you produce blogs that are educational and resonate with your target audience? And how do you ensure the writing reflects deep industry knowledge? All of these are important.
In some companies, subject matter experts are asked to write blogs. They are usually not professional writers, so the output is often dry and boring—and the process of writing consumes a lot of their time. At other companies, the marketing team writes them. Yet without many years of deep experience in the mortgage industry as well as writing experience, they are usually ill-equipped to write a blog that reflects well on the company’s thought leadership.
That’s where agencies like Strategic Vantage come in. With minimal effort, companies get whatever number of blogs they want per month, each one penned solely for their company by seasoned, professional writers with in-depth knowledge of the mortgage industry.
If you need help writing great content, don’t be shy about looking outside your company. Excellent writers who truly understand the mortgage industry and can pique the interest of your targets are living unicorns. Don’t expect your company to employ one.
If you’d like to witness the difference a fantastic industry writer can have on your business, reach out to us at Info@StrategicVantage.com.
By Rosalie Berg, President, Strategic Vantage
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