At first glance, blogging for business doesn’t sound all that difficult.
First, you find out what your customers are interested in. Then you create and publish relevant content and promote that content on social media. Sounds simple.
However, in practice, it’s not that easy to build a successful company blog. It’s not easy even if you know what you are doing. And given the prevalence of terrible business blogs, it’s clear that quite a few businesses don’t know what they are doing.
It’s not that they have a clear idea of the right way to blog and fall short (although that happens), it’s often the fact that they simply aren’t publishing the right type of content — or, more accurately, they publish the wrong content.
Here’s a look at five types of content that should never be published on your company blog.
1. Plagiarized Content
Plagiarism is copying someone else’s content — word-for-word or paraphrased — without attributing the work to its original author. “Intentional plagiarism is knowingly claiming another person’s words and ideas as one’s own. It is actively deciding to exclude citations, withhold credentials, or misdirect readers to false resources.”
As Plagiarism.org explains, “In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward.”
Often, this doesn’t happen deliberately. For instance, when you pay a freelance writer a nominal low-cost fee ($5) to write original content and instead they do a rewrite of a blog article from another blog in the same niche. That is a form of plagiarism … and you get what you pay for. By “simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source is usually enough to prevent plagiarism.”
2. Press Releases
Press releases are a valuable promotional tool, but they are not blog content. Press releases have a particular format, voice, and goal; they’re written for members of the press, who will take the press release and turn it into a story.
I’ve come across many business blogs that contain nothing but press releases and they’re as boring and unreadable as you’d expect. By all means write blog articles based on your own press releases, but don’t publish them “as is”. While we’re on the subject, publishing a newswire’s feed on your website isn’t blogging either.
3. SEO Content
Blog content should be optimized for search, but the days of publishing thin low-quality content (that $5 content again) are long gone. Blog articles should be written and published for human readers, and they should aim to be great content; perhaps even the best content on the web for a particular topic. There’s no reward for a lack of ambition.
4. Bad Writing
Poor grammar, spelling, and structure are a clear indication of unprofessionalism and a lack of care. Not everyone can write well. The most brilliant manager, technician, or marketer can also be the most miserable of writers. It might seem like a good idea to involve employees in blogging, but if writing isn’t a skill they can lay claim to, then it might do more harm than good.
By all means, allow the good writers on your team to flex their creative muscles, but if you don’t have a deep pool of willing volunteers who can put together a passable sentence, consider outsourcing content creation to a professional content writer. The vast majority of popular business blogs are written — or at least edited — by a pro.
5. Boring Content
Your blog is not for you; it’s for your ideal customers. Content that you — or your boss — find absolutely enthralling may very well fall flat with your intended audience. If no one is reading or sharing your content, spend some time thinking about who your customers are and create content that appeals to them.
This article has been edited and condensed.
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