Blogs and articles are two of the most common things I’m asked to do, and if I’m being really honest (because I don’t want to lie to you, ok?) half the time people haven’t got a clue why they’re doing blogs or articles in the first place.
Before they know it, they’ve spent £40 on UpWork for a 650-word “thought leadership” piece littered with errors, all so their marketing team can plonk it into a content scheduler and quite literally, hope for the best.
I’m not a fan of fluffy intros, so here are the 5 reasons why your blogs are failing:
1. You have no idea why you’re doing them
The first question I ask a prospective client is why they want to do this. If the silence on the phone becomes awkward, and you can hear the metaphorical tumbleweed drifting on by, then you probably shouldn’t be producing blogs.
Your content should always serve some kind of purpose, and if you don’t know what that is – your blogs are going to fail. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on a copywriter, or how much you put into advertising spend, it ain’t gon’ work. Don’t create blogs just because your competitor Louise is. If Louise hasn’t got a clue, then it’s (quite literally) the blind leading the blind.
2. Your tone of voice isn’t clear
Whether it’s corporate, funny, playful, or thought-provoking, your tone of voice is what makes you, well – you. If in one blog you’re using long words like Antidisestablishmentarianism, and then another blog you’re using slang, emojis and profanity, you’re going to confuse the reader and look like a hot mess in the process.
Now, this isn’t to say that if your tone of voice is corporate that it constrains you to sound as dry as stale bread, it just means you need to keep in mind that your audience isn’t going to respond to a tone of voice that changes quicker than Boris Johnson’s mind. Don’t think of “tone of voice” as this big, dramatic thing, it’s a lot simpler than you think.
Sit down, and set out some guidelines for your dos and don’ts for your TOV, and make sure that in-house or external content creators have this to hand. You can be serious and fun in the same sentence, just make sure you’re consistent with it. Oh and finally, your tone of voice can ab-so-lutely change over time, so don’t get caught up in trying to be perfect all the time. They’re called guidelines for a reason!
3. You don’t promote them
Like the annoying club promoters in Ibiza, or the sales staff in Victoria’s Secret, you’ve got to understand that unless you regularly promote the blogs that you create, there’s no point in producing them. Even if your website traffic is through the roof, no one is going to take the time to trawl through the “blog” section of your website. Your blog content is an extension of the product or service you offer, and once you start believing that, it’ll be easier to promote.
This doesn’t mean you need to be as aggressive as Dave in Beefa, but you do need to make a conscious effort to post your blog content regularly. Recycle it, reuse it, but for god’s sake, don’t post it once and expect by some miracle that you’re going to become a viral sensation.
4. You aren’t consistent
If I had a pound for every time someone wanted a one-off blog to “boost their brand”, I’d be rich. Blog writing and article writing (whether you do it yourself or outsource it to someone like me) needs to be consistent. Even if you post once a month, you’re giving yourself a chance to build your audience and boost your credibility. ROI is difficult when looking at marketing, especially as 99% of the time people want results immediately.
I completely get the frustration, but creating a strong brand through blogs and articles is a bit like riding a bike. It’s difficult to do in the beginning, you might feel disheartened when you lose your balance and your stabilisers come off, however, once you’ve found your rhythm and know what works for you, you’ll be BMX’ing around in no time. Consistency with anything is key, even with blog and article writing.
5. You don’t understand your audience
Shock, horror, newsflash: your target audience may hate the idea of reading a blog, and it’s up to you to figure out how they like to consume content. I recently ran a poll on my personal LinkedIn asking my network (aka, my pool of current and prospective clients) how they like to consume content, specifically from someone like me. The votes came in as video first, blogs second, podcasts third, and newsletters fourth.
Imagine if I spent all my time creating a newsletter and then only my mum, my boyfriend and my neighbours dog subscribed? It would have been a hot mess. It’s the same with blog creation – if your target market consumes content on Instagram, or they’re busy and only want to read curated newsletters, it’s your job to find that out. Market research will save you a lot of time, money and stress.
There are, of course, more than 5 reasons as to why your blog or article content is failing, but this is what I see the most – and what you should look to rectify if you aren’t getting the ROI that you want!