Is a ton of work.
Especially when you’re a busy, plate-stuffed-to-the-brim entrepreneur.
Chances are, you’re spending upwards of five hours each week creating content for your blog. And when you’re devoting that kind of precious time and effort to something, you want it to be worth it.
And for a lot of my clients and biz buddies, it doesn’t always feel like it is.
But (you had to know a “but” was coming, dintcha?) a few tweaks can make all the difference.
When it comes to blogging, there are a few key mistakes that most people make. Once you know how to spot and remedy these snafus, your blog will:
– resonate more deeply
– get more traffic, and
– keep people sticking around for the long haul
Mistake #1: Ignoring The L’Oreal Factor
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your blog is making it about you. Your thoughts. Your concerns. Your successes and wins.
Yes, your blog is coming from you. But it’s not about you. Not really.
If you want people reading your blog, you have to dial into what I call The L’Oreal Factor — you’ve gotta make it worth it for your reader.
Your first yardstick for a “successful” blog post is making sure you’re providing value to the audience in some way. You can do that by making sure to blog about proven content topics that your audience has shown an interest in.
To chock your content full of The L’Oreal Factor, stick to the 3 Es:
You can educate readers by teaching them something new (like this post here.) You can entertain them with funny stories, artistic videos, beautiful music or imagery. Or you can encourage them by sharing inspirational, motivation, go-get-em content.
Here are a few examples of how popular blogs are using the three categories:
You might notice some overlap between the categories…and that’s great! If you can encourage someone while you’re teaching…or if you can make education entertaining…that’s double the L’Oreal Factor and double the “worth it”-ness of your content.
If you need help getting clear on what your audience is looking for, click here to download my free Audience + Brand Clarity Workbook. It’s 13 pages of juicy questions to help you get inside your audience’s mind so you can create blog content that speaks to them.
Mistake #2: Being too stiff or too loose
Many of us bloggers fall into one of two camps:
We either write like we were taught in school, with long paragraphs, lengthy vocab words, and complicated sentence structures, to try and sound all fancy-like.
Or we can go the complete opposite route, and try to squeeze as much quirkiness and clever lines as possible inside every paragraph.
Neither is the right choice for your blog.
The litmus test I use is always “clear over clever.” It’s important to show your personality through your writing and you want your writing to be fun to read. But it’s more important that your writing is readable and meaningful to your audience.
Takeaway? Too much personality clouds your message.
You want your brand personality to be the parmesan cheese atop the creamy risotto that is your blog. It’s an enhancement, not the main dish.
Most people are surprised to learn that it’s actually most effective to write at around a 5th-6th grade reading level. Really! This is the level where it’s easiest for a reader to absorb your message.
The more complicated your writing, the more likely a reader is to mentally tune out and miss what you’re trying to say.
Don’t take my word for it, though…
Ask Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, my beloved J.K. Rowling…
All of whom write at or under a 6th grade reading level.
Your sweet spot is writing in a way that is simple, easy to comprehend, and has a touch of personality to make it fun to read.
Related Post: 9 Quick-n-Dirty Tips for More Conversational Copy
Mistake #3: Not visually appealing
Believe it or not, the way your blog post looks has a lot to do with whether or not people will read it.
Writing online isn’t like writing on paper. We’re taught to include the standard 5-8 sentences per paragraph but this doesn’t fly when it comes to online communication.
Breathing room is KING.
If you look at popular blogs, you’ll notice they use short paragraphs. Short chunks are much more appealing to online readers than thick, dense copy. The latter intimidates a reader while the former makes it easy to read.
Here are a few rules of thumb to make your blogs more visually appealing:
Stick to around 1-3 sentences per paragraph.
Incorporate subheads to make your copy even more scannable and readable.
Spice up your blog posts by styling your copy. Add bold. Give something emphasis — I mean real emphasis — using italics. Throw in all caps if it’s REALLY important and you want it to stand out. Ellipses…for small pauses. Parentheses are great (for cheeky asides.) You get the idea!
Images are also great eye candy for blog posts. It’s amazing what adding a graphic or two can do for the readability of your copy. I loooove Giphy for adding fun gifs to break up my posts.
Mistake #4: Not promoting your posts
The crappy, crappy truth for us bloggers: you can write the best blog post EVER…and still have no one find it.
But many of us (including me!) fall for the “if you write it, they will come” lie…and hope that just by creating great content, the right people will stumble upon it.
It’s your job to get eyeballs on your posts once they’re written.
I’ve heard marketers tout the Pareto Principle here and say that you should spend 20% of your time creating content…and 80% promoting it..
I know that might not feel realistic to many of us…given that whole plate-stuffed-to-the-brim-entrepreneur thing.
But what if you spent just ONE additional hour per week promoting your content? How many more eyeballs could you get on your posts? What would that mean for your blog?
Here are a few painless ways to promote your blog content:
Send an email out to your list for every new blog post. Don’t send the entire post, but tease them with what they’ll learn from it. Entice them to click to read the full post over on your website. (Here’s how I repurpose my blog to send as a weekly email.)
Install an SEO plugin. Spend a few minutes at the end of writing your post to optimize your meta title and subtitle, so that search engines (and social media sites) get a tasty preview of your post, instead of default text. This one from Yoast is the one I use, and I just have the free version!
Share on social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…wherever your audience hangs out, share it!
Answer questions with your blog posts. Facebook groups and Twitter are both awesome places to share your blog posts. Look for people asking questions and answer with a link to your blog post. If I found someone tweeting asking for resources to help with blogging, I could send them a tweet saying “I wrote a blog post on this exact topic! Think it could be a major help.” and link to this post. Having an updated blog post index is KEY for this!
Mistake #5: One-and-done-itis
Writing captivating copy is awesome. But you don’t want readers to read and then bounce (aka leave your website forever.)
So make it easy for them to stick around.
Start by linking within your blog post to other posts and pages on your website. Keeping an updated blog post index makes this really easy to do. <—- And there’s a meta example of how interlinking works, btw. 😉
Include a ‘Related Posts’ section at the end of your blog, too. (This is also an amazing trick to add to your emails, too!) If a reader is digging a particular topic, give them an easy way to get more where that comes from.
Include content upgrades or links to your opt-in offers where they make sense. When you can get casual blog readers to opt-in to your email list? You’ve got an ongoing way to grow that relationship. So when appropriate, include a section in your blog post where they can go deeper on a topic by trading their email address to get a free guide, checklist, video series, etc. from you.
And always ask probing questions at the end to generate comments! Again, it’s all about making it easy for your reader. And when you end your post by asking thought-provoking questions, you make it more likely they’ll join the convo.
There are many, many things that go into creating an effective blog. But start by avoiding these 5 big mistakes.
Just a few tweaks can make a huge difference to the traffic, engagement, and long-term connection.
join the convo
Which of these mistakes is your biggest hurdle when it comes to creating blog content?
What other big mistakes do you see bloggers making?
What’s your all-time favorite blog? What about it makes you love it so much?