We’ve all been there,
Slaving away at our keyboards until the moonlit hours of the evening. Words flowing onto our blog like blood from a cut vein.
“This one’s going to be a winner!” we tell ourselves. And then…
A couple of visits, maybe. But no shares. No comments. No fame and glory. No backlinks. And definitely no sales.
So what are you doing wrong?
Why aren’t people eating up your awesome articles like cheerios?
Should you just hang up your content marketing gloves and call it a day?
Like you, the 18 world-leading content marketers below have ALL been through the long slog of creating, maintaining and promoting blogs. They’ve faced the same daily challenges as you. But have managed to overcome the obstacles, avoid the all-too-common mistakes, and transform their blogs into extremely successful and lucrative marketing tools.
Thankfully, these lovable guys and gals have kindly agreed to reveal the biggest blogging blunders that newbies make, and why most of you will fail.
So pay close attention. Devour every word. And avoid these mistakes like the boogie man.
What is The Biggest Mistake That Aspiring Bloggers Make?
#1. Sarah arrow
Not showing up and publishing.
Forget promoting, if you don’t post then you’ve nothing to promote. Forget perfection. If you wait for something to be perfect you’ll wait forever. Get it published, and get promoting. You can always go back and polish / perfect afterwards.
It’s okay to make mistakes, but its not okay to to do nothing waiting for that mythical, magical moment.
~ Sarah Arrow is the mastermind behind Birds on the Blog (listed 3 times by Forbes as a top 100 website for women), and is a kick-ass blog coach.
#2. Stephanie sammons
The biggest mistake aspiring bloggers make is that they don’t focus on a niche audience or subject matter.
As difficult as it is to do (by nature we want to cast a wide net), you will be far more successful by carving out a niche for yourself as a blogger and truly understanding the needs and desires of your ideal clients.
~ Stephanie Sammons is the founder of Build Online Influence, where she teaches professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs practical online marketing strategies for growing a business on the social web.
#3. Joe pulizzi
- Not targeted enough – most bloggers try to target too many people.
- Not consistent enough – many bloggers are erratic with their publishing schedule
- Wrong measures – more bloggers need to focus on building audience through subscription.
~ Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the legendary Content Marketing Institute (which produces the largest worldwide in-person content marketing event: Content Marketing World) and is the author of Epic Content Marketing.
#4. Jason acidre
The most common mistake I see is – being not able to come up with a unique value proposition to offer to their readers on the earlier stage of their blogging career.
This almost always results to publishing mediocre blog posts that normally contain information already available from other blogs, which makes them no different.
If you really want to stand out in the blogosphere these days, you’ll need to have unique ideas that people won’t really find anywhere else (and something that your competitors won’t really be able to match).
~ Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.
#5. Brian honigman
One of the biggest mistakes bloggers tend to make is focusing too heavily on the content they created as opposed to focusing half of their time on the creation of your content, while the other half of the time on the distribution of your content.
If your content is amazing, but no one sees it then it doesn’t matter.
If your content is widely distributed, but of poor quality then it doesn’t matter. It’s extremely important for a blogger to focus equally on content creation and content distribution.
~ Brian Honigman is a Marketing Consultant, Speaker & Freelance Writer. He’s worked with clients like Dell, HubSpot, Citibank, Toyota and Poptip. He’s written for Forbes, The Next Web, Mashable and heaps others. Follow him on Twitter.
#6. Ian cleary
One of the biggest mistakes is not focussing on building an email subscriber database through optin forms that are optimized on a regular basis to improve conversion rates.
Most of your visitors will not be ready to buy and encouraging them to subscribe via e-mail means you have a chance to build the relationship with them and you also have an audience for new blog posts. But it’s not just about putting an optin box on your website, you need to optimize for conversions to ensure you get the best possible conversion rates.
~Ian Cleary is the social media tools wizard for Social Media Examiner and founder of Razorsocial which provides expert information on the best social media tools. Download his social media tools guide.
#7. Barrie davenport
The biggest mistake is underestimating the time and work involved in creating a successful blog.
You need to write consistently great content every week. It can take a year or more before you get any real traction with your blog.
Another mistake is trying to be all things to all people with your blog. You need to pick a strong niche and focus like a laser on that niche. Be sure it’s a topic you enjoy and feel passionate about so you can maintain the energy to do the work.
Also, blogging is an interdependent business. Don’t isolate yourself behind your computer. Make connections with other bloggers, share their work, and become active on social media.
Also, don’t forget to connect with your readers. Many bloggers write to their readers instead of for them. Engage with them in comments, reply to emails, ask them questions. Each reader is an individual who came to your site for a reason.
#8. Neal schaffer
Not being original in either format or subject matter. Rehashing what others have said. What is YOUR point of view? Everyone has unique experience which they need to bring to the forefront of their content – always.
~ Neal Schaffer is a social media strategy consultant, content marketing master and author of the awesome book Maximize Your Social.
#9. Kristi hines
If you’re just starting out, don’t expect to put out as much content as Mashable or the larger blogs.
Generally, blogs that put out daily content have multiple authors, or a single author who has several hours per day to devote to creating great content and promoting it. If you are a one-person show, then you’ll want to start out slowly. Don’t try to commit to too much all at once. One great post per week (or biweekly) is much better than one mediocre post per day.
#10. Dino dogan
Here are the top 3 mistakes new bloggers tend to make:
1. New bloggers tend to write for everyone. If you’re writing for everyone then you’re writing for no one. The alternative is to singlecast. See my example in this post (#14).
2. Being afraid to take a stand. In other words, trying to please everybody.
A few years ago I mentioned this tendency to try and present all sides of the story impartially, to a group of fashion bloggers. One of them admitted to me that she finds her own content boring and unreadable. And the reason was because she felt like she needed to show all sides of the story and act impartial and unbiased. However, in the process, she managed to make her stories sterile and boring.
We are human. We are not impartial. The reason we’re writing about something is because we care. So show it. Take a stand, damn it.
3. You don’t have a tribe. Get a tribe.
It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to raise a blog. You need others who will have your back, and you need to have the back of others. In other words, you need a tribe.
You need bloggers who’s content you love and share, and these bloggers will share your content in turn. Why? Because your content kicks ass.
Luckily, there’s a social network build specifically for content creators. Triberr. Join it.
~ Dino Dogan is the Founder of the great Triberr, writer for Technorati, super speaker and a lousy martial artist.
#11. Laura rubinstein
Not learning how to optimize your blogs.
Not growing social media communities in advance of the blog.
Not having a way for people to subscribe to the blog or newsletter.
~ Laura Rubinstein is an award winning social media and marketing strategist and co-founder of Social Buzz Club. She helps businesses optimize marketing plans to create brand visibility and profitable buzz. She is the author of Appreciation Marketing Strategies. Her articles have been featured on sites like genConnect.com, Social Media Mags LinkedIn Magazine, YourTango.com, as well as her own popular TransformToday.com blog.
#12. Gregory ciotti
I’m sure bloggers are sick of hearing this, but not building an email list.
We were able to grow the Help Scout blog from a ghost town to a thriving community of 30000 newsletter subscribers in a paltry 12 months. We did this through focusing exclusively on email; no social media strategies, no games, just a relentless focus on making our newsletter one of the best in the B2B space.
#13. Aaron lee
The biggest mistake aspiring bloggers make is giving up too soon before their blog had the chance to even take off.
#14. Andrea vahl
Not making friends with other bloggers.
You aren’t going to go this alone. You need to really connect with others and support other people. Want your stuff retweeted? Then start by retweeting others – without expectations. Share and comment on other blogs to start a relationship. Be generous.
~ Andrea is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies and was the Community Manager for Social Media Examiner, for over 2 years. She also uses her Improv comedy skills to blog as a slightly cranky character, Grandma Mary – Social Media Edutainer on her site at www.AndreaVahl.com.
#15. Stanford smith
Not starting an email list on Day One.
Spending time consuming content instead of creating it.
Not following a well defined marketing strategy to get more readers.
~ Stan Smith founded Pushing Social to help solopreneurs and scrappy underdogs dominate their niche with smart content marketing and publishing tactics.
#16. Henri junttila
The biggest mistake is to go after meaningless numbers and stats. It’s not that social shares, views, and clicks aren’t important, but you need to know what your goal is.
If you want to build a popular blog, you need to focus on converting visitors into regular readers (i.e. newsletter subscribers).
But even growing your subscriber numbers, is that your ultimate goal? Or do you want to make a living with your words?
Think about what you want before you expend energy.
~ Henri Junttila is the founder of Wake Up Cloud, where he shows you how to turn your passion into a thriving business. Grab his free special report, and check out his book How to Write Nonfiction eBooks: A Proven 17-Step Guide.
#17. Pat flynn
Trying to be someone they are not, expecting rapid growth and trying to make money before providing value and building an audience.
~ Pat Flynn is a beloved thought leader in the areas of online entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and lifestyle businesses on the Smart Passive Income blog.
#18. Kimberley grabas
There are two things that new bloggers often fail to do that make their journey significantly more difficult than it needs to be.The first, is that they don’t clearly determine “why” they do what they do.I’m not talking merely about their USP or point of difference; I’m talking about digging deep into who they are, what they stand for, and why they create the work that they do.In his book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek discusses the importance of knowing your why:
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Without clearly expressing why you are doing what you do, you are left with trying to prove your advantage or significance based on marketing tactics alone.How much more difficult is it to capture attention and convince a visitor to stick around, when even you can’t provide a reason why they should?Once you are clear as to your reason for why you do what you do, and what it is you have to offer the world, then it is much easier to share that vision with your potential readers and weave it through the rest of your blog marketing strategies.The second mistake, is the failure to identify the group of people that will be most responsive to your message.Most bloggers only have a vague idea as to who it is that they are actually trying to reach. Who it is that their work will most resonate with. And those that have narrowed it down somewhat, still have a lot of work to do before they can truly say they know their audience well.Without knowing the needs, wants, desires, interests and values of your audience, how can you possibly know if the content, the message or the products you’re trying to share will engage them?Know yourself; know your audience. Accomplish these two things, and you’ll have created a solid footing from which to build trust, engagement and a much more effective strategy for your blogging career.
~ Kimberley Grabas is a writer and the founder of YourWriterPlatform.com, where she provides writers with the resources, tools and inspiration they need to build their platform, engage their fans and sell more books. Download her free eBook, The Quick Start Guide to Building Your Writer Platform.
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And while you’re here, don’t miss out on these other epic expert posts:
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