If you have a small to mid-size business with a B2B blog, bad writing can make it tank.
Blogging should be part of any content strategy and social media program. However, some B2B companies mistakenly put all their focus on the frequency of posting. While it’s true that frequent blogging can boost your search rankings, it’s equally true that poor writing will degrade your authority and cause your blog to underperform.
Unfortunately, time and writing talent are especially limited for smaller B2B businesses, particularly start-ups in technology and other emerging industries. But no matter how stretched you are, it’s a bad idea to churn out blog articles at the expense of publishing quality posts. Statistics show that 37 seconds is the average time readers spend reading a blog, and bad writing will chase your readers away even faster.
Make your blog more effective by avoiding these 12 common blog writing mistakes:
Blogging Mistake #1: Keep an Emotional Distance.
By definition, marketers are hired to maximize company sales by communicating the value of their products and services. B2B blogging shifts this communication by focusing not on what your company sells, but on how to connect with professional audiences on a more personal and emotional level. For example, say your key customers are generally 30 to 50 years old and have children at home. Instead of talking about how your specific product improves efficiency, you can relate to the pressures of being a working parent, share ways to reduce work hours, and suggest that a product in your category might help solve their problem.
Blogging Mistake #2: Cover too many topics in a single blog post.
How many topics should a writer try to cover in a blog post? Just one! Some writers think that covering many related topics will broaden the readership. However, instead of getting more readers, an article with too many different topics will seem unfocused and disorganized, causing the reader to disengage. For example, this article covers one thing: how to avoid common mistakes people make when writing B2B blog articles. It doesn’t stray into areas such as how to improve your article’s search ranking or how to write your blog articles faster.
Blogging Mistake #3: Focus on your company’s products and services.
Absolutely no one wants to read a salesy blog that reads like a brochure. A biased, product-centric blog will reduce your credibility and the perceived value of the article. A balanced, factual article, on the other hand, is more likely to get read and shared, plus it may increase subscriptions. That said, a discrete mention of your company or product name—in the context of a larger topic or in your call-to-action—may be appropriate.
Blogging Mistake #4: Write paragraph after paragraph without visual breaks.
Writing a blog post that is dense and without discrete sections will be a total fail. Most people only take a short amount of time reading a blog, so the ability to scan counts. If your blog is in a paragraph format, break it up with subheads every few paragraphs. Other formats that particularly lend themselves to visual breaks include list-based posts (listicles), Q&A’s, how-to articles, and interviews. Breaking up your article will also help you define subheads, which are valuable for both scanning and SEO.
Blogging Mistake #5: Focus on yourself.
Stay focused on your topic and your reader. It’s good to have a personality and an occasional anecdote, but it’s not about you and your own stories. The key danger of including too many personal situations is that you will digress from your main point. You only have the reader’s attention for a short time, so stick to the point and get back to helping your reader solve their problem.
Blogging Mistake #6: Provide facts without any evidence.
Providing research and data can be particularly important in a B2B context for several reasons. First, it builds the perception that you are a credible resource. Second, it reinforces that the topic is relevant to the reader. And third, it provides proof that what you’re saying is valid. When including data, it’s important to provide attribution and, where possible, a link to the source.
Blogging Mistake #7: Create a title that misleads the reader.
It’s great to write an attention-grabbing headline, but not at the expense of misleading the reader. Part of respecting your reader is being honest about what they can expect from reading your article. Your title should concisely tell the reader what to expect from the article, and the article should meet this expectation. Not delivering on the promise of your headline frustrates the reader and is a quick way to lose them.
Blogging Mistake #8: Create a weak first impression.
Your title and introduction are the first impressions that your reader will have of your blog post. First, your introduction must flow directly from the title. If not, you’ll confuse readers and discourage them from reading further. Second, your introduction should frame the article and point to what readers will learn after having read it. Without a clear introduction, the reader may just move on to an article that more clearly states its intention.
Blogging Mistake #9: Write like SEO is the only thing that matters.
SEO can help you get found in a search, but don’t allow Google to turn you into a keyword cramming machine. You are a person writing an article for other people. If you sound like an SEO robot you won’t keep the attention of actual humans. Plus, Google will penalize you for keyword stuffing. Write conversationally, in a way that is approachable and easy to read. Share a story, show empathy, or lighten it up with a little humor. Sometimes it helps to write the article for readability and interest first, and then optimize it for SEO later.
Blogging Mistake #10: Don’t take the time to edit your post.
Publishing your article with typos, grammar mistakes, and lots of jargon will negate your hard work. In addition, make sure the article makes sense and has a logical flow. A good way to do this, although it can feel funny, is to read the article out loud. This will point out obvious mistakes, such as incomplete or run-on sentences, poor transitions, redundancy, and awkward flow. Depending on the length and complexity of the article, I recommend a few rounds of editing. This is time well spent!
Blogging Mistake #11: Try to make it so perfect it never gets published.
As the philosopher Voltaire said, “The best is the enemy of the good.” Or in this case, perfection is the enemy of the blog. If it’s already hard to keep up with your blogging schedule, don’t make it harder. Edit it, proof it, and make sure it reads well. Then go ahead and publish it. If it’s a good, high-quality article with proper SEO, it will attract readers. If there’s a hitch that absolutely must be fixed, you can always go back and update the post.
Blogging Mistake #12: Throw away your conclusion.
The conclusion should be a concise summary with a clear “take-away” and call-to-action. It’s the last thing the readers will see, so don’t just forget about it. It should motivate, inspire, and energize your reader.
The take-away: make sure you do the job right with high-quality blog writing.
Your blog is important, so make your blog posts count! Write each article in a way that attracts and engages readers, moves them to action, and helps your company meet its content marketing goals. A final tip is that if your internal resources are too limited to write quality blogs on a regular basis, consider hiring an experienced freelance writer who can get the job done—the right way. Visit Boston-based Westebbe Marketing for more tips on how small business can improve their B2B writing blogs. If you like this article, please share it with your colleagues.