Maintaining a blog is a lot of work. It requires a constant stream of new content. And if that content isn’t good enough, frequent enough, or promoted well enough, you can end up short.
Sometimes, even if your blog posts are good, you may not be getting many readers. It’s disappointing to put all that effort into new blog posts and not to get any results. So let’s troubleshoot what the problem could be.
Problem #1: You aren’t doing enough promotion.
Lack of promotion is the biggest problem in small business content marketing. It’s so bad that 50% of all content published gets eight social media shares or less.
Fortunately, the fix for this is simple: Promote your content. Spend at least half as much time promoting what you publish as you did in creating it.
Here’s how to use that time:
- Send an email message to your subscribers about the new post.
Little-known fact: Email is the most effective way to promote content. And if you haven’t started building an email list, the time to start is now.
- Share your content on social media more than once.
Aim for one share every day for the first week after publication. Then once a week for the first month. After that, keep sharing each piece of content once a month for the next year.
- Republish your content on LinkedIn, Medium, or industry content hubs.
I’ve met several small B2B business owners who say they get 2-4 times the exposure from their LinkedIn posts as they do from when the same post is published on their blog.
- Pay for a little promotion.
Even $20 spent on promoting your blog post can help enormously. You can spend it all on Facebook ads, or try the content sharing sites like CoPromote, JustRetweet, Triberr.
Problem #2: You’re trying to sell in your content.
Stop trying to sell through your content.
The second you switch from being helpful, educational and entertaining to trying to force your services on them, they’re gone. They won’t trust a thing you say after the sales pitch. So don’t make it.
If you feel you just have to include some kind of pitch, put it at the end of your blog post. Even then, don’t make it a sales pitch. Make it a content pitch. Direct people to the next related piece of content. If you must, put that content behind a lead gen form.
Problem #3: You aren’t saying anything new.
It’s called “me too content” by some experts – content that covers the same old ground as a thousand other blog posts. It’s got no new insights, no different angle, and usually isn’t even written in an interesting way. And so no one really wants to read it.
But it’s possible to take a topic that’s been done to death and add a new angle, or some new research, or write about it in an exceptional way – and voila! You’ve got content worth reading. It just has to be different in some small way.
Caption: Gary Vaynerchuk stood out from the beginning with his edgy, earthy talks about the highbrow subject of wine.
Problem #4: Your content isn’t connecting with your audience.
This can be tricky to fix. Hopefully it’s a simple thing, like you’re writing content that’s too basic, or maybe too advanced. Whatever the problem is, it’s your job to figure out where the disconnect is happening.
It comes down to simply knowing your audience.
Problem #5: The quality of your blog posts may not be as good as you think it is.
Ouch – I know. But ask yourself: Could your content be better? And by “better”, I mean:
- Is it truly useful to your audience?
- Does it have examples?
- Does it have a few photographs, charts, or graphics?
- Does it quote experts or recent research?
- Is it formatted and written so that it’s easy to read?
- Is it actionable? Can people actually solve their problem after reading your post?
- Is it long enough to be helpful, but not so long that it’s daunting?
- And the final, most telling question: If you weren’t employed by your company, would you share this blog post with your friends?
If you said no to any one of those, that’s what you need to fix.
Problem #6: Your blog looks dated.
People make snap judgments about looks. Whether that’s fair or not, it’s true. If your blog looks dated, or loads slowly, or is hard to read because the layout’s bad, you’re going to drive people away. Even if your posts are great.
You know the solution for this: It’s time to hire a designer.
You’ll be in good company if you make this move. One of the interesting things we learned from our 2016 State of Small Business Report was that 54% of small businesses outsource graphic design and website design. That’s about as many businesses that have websites at all!
Caption: More than half of small businesses outsource their website design.
Simply publishing to your blog isn’t enough to ensure success. You’re going to have to make your content stand out from the 2 million+ other posts published every day. If that feels too much like a bitter pill, consider this:
- Companies that blog more get more leads and traffic.
- You can outsource content promotion.
- Follow what works. You’ve probably got a couple of posts that are doing well. Write more like those.
- Hiring an Editor or subject expert can help you create dramatically better content. Hiring a designer to make it all look better helps, too.
- There are dozens of ways you can re-use this all blog content.
What do you think?
What have you done to get more people to read your blog? Share what’s worked in the comments.