When we first started writing our business blog at Red Platypus we certainly made a few blogging mistakes to avoid – how else do you learn, right?
But over many years or trying and failing, we think we’ve finally got the mix right.
So to help you avoid some of the pitfalls we plunged into, we’d like to share with you four crucial lessons learned from the blogging school of hard knocks.
4 blogging mistakes to avoid
Writing about too many topics
There’s a famous story about Apple’s Steve Jobs that recalls how in 2006 he gave some crucial advice to Mike Parker, then CEO of sporting goods behemoth Nike.
Asked how Nike could improve, Jobs told Parker: “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”
That same blunt spirit must be applied to your business blog.
When we launched Red Platypus we wrote about a broad range of topics. But we’ve found it’s more effective to concentrate on a small handful of topics like business blogging techniques and remote working.
This allows us to focus on quality and build a dedicated following instead of pumping out rushed work that tries to please everyone, yet satisfies no one.
Failing to define what the blog is about
Leading on from picking a smaller number of topics, it’s vital that you identify what the point of your blog is – what’s it all about?
To do this, you need to first carefully consider your audience and understand exactly what it is they want.
Jocko Willink is a former US Navy SEAL who writes self-help books and hosts a successful podcast. In the beginning of his writing career, he said his work focused primarily on what it was like to transition from military to civilian life.
But then he began to listen to what it was his audience was asking him for. He discovered it was information on self-improvement and discipline. And so he flipped his writing on its head, and began to give his readers what they were after.
Taking Jocko’s lead, before you start the blog, ask yourself what the point of it is.
Do you want to help other businesses? Is it to inspire people? Are you pushing for change or spruiking the benefits of something not widely known? What expertise or experience do you have to share? What is your point of difference?
We found success with our business blog only after we dug into the reasons for why we were writing it, and defined exactly who was reading it. This gave us a strong focus and direction on exactly what to blog about each week.
Who the target audience is
The Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
The audience is certainly not the enemy. But the effort to win your readers’ trust and then keep their attention is a battle that must be informed by knowledge.
By knowing what topics are best to write about, you will begin to know yourself – and your audience – on a much deeper level.
To connect with your audience, it’s vital you do some research. Investigate whom your business typically engages with, or consider what kinds of people you want reading your bog.
At Red Platypus, we have developed an avatar of our ideal client, mapping out everything from her age and business background to the challenges she faces in business.
We then tailor our content to suit this virtual person. This avatar is a reflection of the people we already deal with and who we wish to engage with more widely. Think of them as our perfect client!
This targeted approach to blogging is far better than our old approach of simply writing a blog and hoping someone would read it.
Using a content calendar
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
That old maxim was one we ignored when we started our business blog, and predictably things went pear-shaped pretty quickly.
Instead of planning out what we wanted to write about and when each blog would be published, we employed a scattershot approach. We wrote sporadically and published blogs whenever we got around to it.
But this approach was doomed to fail, and it did.
Now we take a much more focused and organised approach using a content calendar to write down ideas while identifying the date they will be published.
This ensures we have a steady stream of good quality content in the pipeline with regular publication dates.
This is a much better approach than when we simply said, “yeah, we’ll do two blogs a week,” and then work and life got in the way.
To help your business blog succeed, you can download our free content calendar to help you to get organised.
Learning from our blogging mistakes to avoid is part of the journey
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and we hope the lessons we’ve extracted from our blogging journey will help you.
But we also know that true wisdom comes from experience.
It’s far better to have a go at business blogging and have a few stumbles along the way, uncovering your own blogging mistakes to avoid, than never having the guts to try at all.
Remember – done is better than perfect, and you will only learn as you take the risk to make mistakes.
If you need any help, we’re always ready to jump in. We’ve been there ourselves and have the scars to prove it.
So keep blogging – mistakes are inevitable, but as long as you learn from them nothing can stop you.
Are you struggling with something related to your business blog right now? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do what we can to help you out.