Are you getting results from your association's blog? Is it getting harder for you to spend time on your blog because you're just not seeing how it is going to pay off? Here is a quick checklist of the most common mistakes professionals make in their blogs.
By Denise Wakeman
MAKE NO MISTAKE, BLOGS ARE A GREAT TOOL FOR BUILDING COMMUNITY, interacting with potential members, and marketing your association's products, services, and events. But it's not enough to set one up and post occasionally; you have to use it effectively to drive traffic and gain readership.
There are several common mistakes association professionals make with their blogs. Mostly, they aren't using some of the features available to them with their blogging software because it hasn't been sufficiently explained. Eyes glaze over with the mention of RSS, pinging, trackbacks, and permalinks. Some professionals may be ignoring these things, hoping they don't really need to know. But you do—if you want results from your association's blog.
On a recent trip around the professional business blogosphere, here's a list of the most common mistakes we found:
1. Not posting frequently enough (recommended: 2-3 times a week).
2. Content is not focused, and the target audience not clearly defined.
3. Posting articles that are too long, instead of using extended post features.
4. Not linking profusely (because the professional isn't researching their field on the Internet).
5. Poor spelling, bad grammar, and typos.
6. No name of author in tag line or on sidebar.
7. No author photo.
8. No signature or name in the footer; no way to tell who wrote post on a multi-author site.
9. No subscription form; no way to get blog updates through RSS or email.
10. No way for readers to leave comments and use trackbacks.
11. Too many categories or none at all.
12. No information about the author's or organization's business services and products.
13. Calendars for no reason at all (what is the point of those calendars anyway?).
14. Blog isn't submitted to blog directories.
15. Not pinging each time a new post is published.
16. Not using trackbacks referring or linking to other blogs.
17. No blogroll or list of favorite blogs or websites.
Learning Features is Key
If you're considering using a blog to build engagement with members and potential members, optimize it by taking time to learn the features and steps that will ensure success. A couple of suggestions: Get an e-book and take the time to learn about your blog software or hosting provider. Or, if you have the budget and time is of the essence, hire a professional blog expert to coach you on how to rev up your blog.
A blog is like any other marketing tool; you've got to use it correctly to get positive results.
Denise Wakeman is an online marketing advisor and founder of The Blog Squad. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseWakeman/business-bloggers.