The Biggest Mistake You May Be Making With Your Blog

A client contact asked me recently what I consider to be the “biggest mistake” bloggers make as they attempt to connect with their audiences. I’m sure there are many! I have been publishing this blog for several years now, and we also work with various clients to create and manage their blogs. There are a variety of mistakes that I have made (and, hopefully, learned from!) and many missteps that I see others make as well.

It’s always hard to pick just one, but in this case I would have to say that not having a very clear understanding of the target audience and what their interests and needs are can be a big mistake.

Why is this important? Blogs are all about building connections—connections that will, ultimately, drive traffic to your website and/or business. But you can’t build connections if you don’t understand what’s important to your audience—and if you don’t provide them with value related to their needs.

Content marketing has come a long way since the “content farms” that were prevalent just a few years ago. Generic content just doesn’t cut it anymore, as many online marketers are finding. What does resonate with your audience is content designed specifically for them—content that provides them value in terms of making their lives (personal or professional) easier, better, more fun, etc. The challenge for marketers is finding a link between what they are trying to sell/promote and what their audience might be interested in. Effective online marketing takes a “soft sell” approach. It’s not about hawking your products and services, or continually screaming, “Buy my stuff!”

Blogs that get traction are blogs that ask nothing of the audience, but give a lot in terms of information the audience will find valuable.

These days, one of the places where we see this play out is on LinkedIn where members now have the ability to post their own content on the site and hope that it gets picked up on LinkedIn’s Pulse channel. If that happens, these bloggers will find that their content is distributed to a far wider audience, and that their views, likes and comments will increase exponentially.

We’ve been experimenting with our own content here as we work with clients to help boost their exposure online. We’ve found some things that work and some that don’t. Because we can actually monitor response, we have real results to review—for ourselves and others. And, we know that the things we’ve found that work well, also work for others. In fact, I just finished reading Joe Pulizzi’s “Epic Content Marketing” in which he makes a number of points that we heartily agree with. (It’s good to know we’re aligned with someone we consider to be the guru in the field!)

How about you? Do you blog? What best practices have you found that resonate with your audiences?


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