Blogging should be a major part of any content strategy and social media program. However, some business-to-business (B2B) companies—and business-to-consumer companies, as well—mistakenly put all focus on the frequency of posting. While it’s true that frequent blogging can boost your search rankings, poor writing will degrade your authority and cause your blog to underperform. Unfortunately, resources are often tight for smaller B2B businesses, and it’s easy for a busy in-house marketer or blogger to fall into some bad habits.
Even if you’re stressed out about keeping up with your schedule, always remember that quality is paramount. Consider that the average time spent reading a blog post is 37 seconds. Since small businesses that blog show a 126% growth in leads compared to those that don’t, you want those eyeballs for as long as possible—and quality is the key. A useful, well written blog will increase readers, website traffic, quality leads, customer engagement, and lead conversions.
Avoid the 12 mistakes below and be on your way to writing successful B2B blog posts.
Blogging Mistake #1: Don’t take time to understand your audience.
You may know about a topic, but are you connecting with the audience? Don’t focus on providing information you want them to know. Instead, try to get inside the reader’s head to find out what they want to know. What are their problems? What do they need to succeed on the job? How can you help make their lives better? A blog written with an audience-centric focus will be more valuable, relatable, and engaging.
Blogging Mistake #2: Fail to Start with a Well-Defined Article Idea
Your article topic should be clearly defined, not too broad, and suit a specific audience segment. For example, I want to attract small B2B businesses. Instead of writing about a big umbrella topic like “blogging,” I chose a narrower topic (writing blog articles) that is angled to the needs of my target audience (bloggers for small SMB businesses). This will be more effective in attracting high quality leads.
Blogging Mistake #3: Cover too many topics in a 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, disorganized, and vague—causing the reader to disengage. For example, this article sticks with avoiding common blog writing mistakes. It’s not about any other type of writing or how to promote blogs.
Blogging Mistake #4: Only talk about 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 lead to signing up for a subscription. 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 #5: Write without planning and paying attention to natural flow.
Plan your blog, don’t just spit it out. Most people only take a short amount of time reading a blog, so the ability to scan counts. The first thing to do is determine what type of post this will be. For example, this article is a list-based post, while others may be formatted as a Q&A, an interview, or some other type. The format will, in part, determine how your blog is organized. Next, develop a logical flow and outline. This will help you determine section headers that will make it easy for readers to follow and scan.
Blogging Mistake #6: Focus on yourself.
Stay focused on your topic and your reader. It’s good to have a personality, but once again, it’s not about you and your own stories. The danger of including too many personal anecdotes is that you will digress from your main point. You only have the reader’s attention for a short time, so get to the point. If you don’t stick with content that is directly relevant to them, the reader will abandon your article and go to the next.
Blogging Mistake #7: Don’t provide data to back up arguments.
Providing research and data is particularly important in a B2B context. You can see that I’ve included a few facts that highlight why quality is important to your blog writing. Why do this? First, it builds the perception that you know what you’re talking about. Second, it reinforces that the topic is relevant to the reader. And third, it provides proof that what you’re saying is valid. Certain people are particularly drawn to data, so it can capture the attention of a particular segment of your audience.
Blogging Mistake #8: Create a title is compelling, but not friendly to search engines.
It’s great to have an attention-grabbing headline, but not at the expense of SEO. You don’t have to be a developer to know the basics on using SEO. First, use a key-word rich title. Your section headers should be descriptive, with keywords that match the section’s topic. If you are creating the URL, it should include your keywords. At the same time, an SEO-friendly title that is too generic will fall flat. Your title should concisely tell the reader exactly what they will get from reading the article. Then reiterate this promise in the introduction. Most important, keep that promise!
Blogging Mistake #9: Write like an SEO-robot instead of a human.
SEO can help you get found in a search, but don’t allow Google to turn you into keyword cramming machine. You are a person writing an article for other people. If you sound like a boring robot, you won’t keep the attention of actual humans. In addition, 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 for SEO it 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, don’t just proof read for serious errors; make sure the article makes sense. 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. Proof it, edit 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 motive, 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 it count! Write each article in a way that attracts and engages readers, moves them to action, and helps your company meet its marketing goals. A final tip is that if your internal resources are too limited to provide quality blogs on a regular basis, consider hiring a high-quality freelance writer who can get the job done—the right way. Visit 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.