Today, it can seem as if almost everyone is a blogger. From gossip to industry info to advice to pop news, the Web is full of blog pages and sites that offer a variety of insights, entertainment and resources. In fact, according to WordPress, a leading content management system, more than 400 million people view more than 14.4 billion blog pages, and users produce about 40 million new posts each month.
Blogging provides a great opportunity for brands (including professionals) to connect with clients and audiences, to showcase talents and expertise of their industry or to document daily life as it relates to their business. It also provides the perfect platform to position you as an expert in your field and a leader in your industry (thus leading to more business and other opportunities).
With the billions of blog pages produced and read each month, many professionals and businesses seek to claim their own piece of the pie to expand exposure of their brands in a way that’s dynamic and leads to business gains. But what happens when a blog just becomes a platform full of confusion—one that makes anyone reading wonder how it’s even relevant to a company’s or professional’s business goals and agenda?
If you truly want to tap into the vast branding advantages of such an influential platform, here are three common branding mistakes to avoid:
1. Irrelevant or unrelated subjects: It’s great to have a diversity of topics on a blog, but let’s not make what I’ll call the “bowl full of fruit” mistake. We all may love apples, bananas and mangos, but if your brand (and revenue) centers around oranges, try to stick to topics focused on or related to them (or the people who love them). Be strategic, and think about what your audience or client might want to know about in term of topics related to your specific industry or brand offerings.
If you’re unsure about this, try conducting polls or surveys or using social media to really see what the people your brand targets are truly passionate about. Also, this is a great time to find out what voids are in the market and how you can fill them with your expertise—ultimately standing out among the millions of other blogs out there.
2. Opinions with no foundation of facts or credible backing: It’s cool to have an opinion on something, but it makes for a stronger argument (and more credibility on your part as the blogger) if you have supporting evidence for your opinion. This can be done via anecdotes from your professional experiences or research that supports the notion you’re expressing. This can also be done by including insights from other experts in your field or quoting insights (with proper attribution) from your favorite trade journals or news outlets.
3. Inadequate voice or no focused voice at all: Oftentimes, the content of a blog can be a reflection of a brand’s personality. If your Web blog is all over the place in terms of subject matter, composition, voice and usability, it might be assumed that your real-life brand is the same in terms of business practices and other related activities. It’s never good when something on the Web is not a truthful depiction of what your brand stands for, especially if you can control what’s being written or expressed. Be sure that your blog reflects your core mission. If you have freelancers or contributors, make sure they’re aware of the voice and mission of your brand so that you’ll have consistency in what you cover or choose to include. Anything else, is, well, just noise.
I know we all have multiple interests and talents—especially if you’re a boss-moves millennial. Hey, maybe your brand is an octopus of awesome offerings and themes, but when it comes to branding and audience perception and expansion, having a focus and streamlining leads to bigger wins.
What challenges have you had as a professional brand or business in terms of blogging? #Soundoff and following me on Twitter @JPHazelwood.