Everyone from Kim Kardashian to Bill Gates seems to understand why a blog is a critical public relations tool. PR is, after all, about managing information and reputation. The Queensland Government calls a business blog an extension of the company website meant to draw people back again and again.
The problem is, if you don’t handle the blog correctly, it will end up buried so deep in search engine results, few readers will even know it exists. That is no place for an up-and-comer to find themselves. Consider some common mistakes bloggers make that send their posts to the virtual dust bowl.
Avoid Looking Stupid
It seems like the kind of thing no one should have to tell you, but you’d be surprised how many bloggers come off as less than professional. It goes beyond just being careful about the content or checking your facts. Poor spelling is a major setback. If you are not using a spell-check feature, get one.
Most word processing software applications come pre-loaded with spell check. You can also use a browser plug-in, such as After the Deadline, to keep your spelling smooth. This tool will check for common syntax errors, along with point out spelling problems.
Take the time to educate yourself common grammar pitfalls, too. Is it accept or except, for example? After the Deadline corrects most of these errors, but taking the time to learn the right words is a more efficient way of writing. ProBlogger points out that people judge the blog on its spelling, so it is worth the effort to make a good impression.
Keep the Readers Engaged
The best television shows pull you in every week so you just can’t wait for the next installment. You want your blog to give readers that same feeling. They should look forward to your words the same way as they do the next episode. Blogging is storytelling at its purest form. If the readers get bored, don’t expect them to keep coming back for more.
You have two main options when it comes to grabbing a reader’s attention:
- Trendy topics
Every post needs at least one of these two elements. A sense of humor is something you either have or don’t, but you choose the topics, so why not pick current, interesting ones. Social media sites such as Twitter and Pinterest offers ways to track trending subjects. You can stay active on forums and follow news sites to see what people are talking about, too.
For blogs that are industry-specific, set up RSS feeds for forums, discussion groups and magazines to stay on top of current events in your field. Tools such as Google Trends offer good ways to see what search topics might relate to the industry, as well.
The Los Angeles Times explains that two sites built around images, Pinterest and Instagram, have gained mainstream popularity over the last year. This just shows how much graphics matter in the virtual world. An image enhances the presentation of the post and creates a visual to go with the story to improve your writing.
Bloggers might hesitate to use pictures because of legal restrictions or bandwidth concerns. The answer to bandwidth issues that can slow down image uploads is high-speed Internet, which is an easy fix. Finding images that are safe to use is not that difficult, either. Websites that offer stock images, such as Stock Vault or MorgueFile, give bloggers something to work with when they can’t snap and upload their own pictures.