In case you hadn’t noticed, today is a Friday the 13th. Before you start knocking on wood, avoiding black cats and ladders, and crossing your fingers, take a second to think about what other superstitious beliefs you as a business owner/marketer may have about blogging that could be detrimental to growth.
Great business blogging is about giving your customers information to help them make a purchasing decision, solve problems, and provide other relevant content to their attention with the ultimate goal of highlighting your business as a solution to their pain points.
With that in mind, here is a list of 13 superstitious beliefs about marketing, blogging specifically, that need to be debunked. Promptly.
1. If your blog isn’t making money, then it’s useless.
If you are learning the ropes of blogging, there are many posts out there that turn a blog, a relatively simple marketing tool, into a magical, mysterious bastion of cloudy confusion. “Look how I quit my $50,000/year day job and now earn $50,000 a month just with my blog!” they advertise, then follow this statement with a vague piece about their “simple” formula for earning money.
Is their advertising preying on superstitions? You betcha. If you can’t assign direct monetary gains to a marketing channel, many people find it hard to assign value, or worse—deem it useless.
A blog is a tool for giving people information. That’s it. For most businesses, that means a blog is a tool for informing customers and potential customers about your business. Anyone can do it. Really.
Only after you’ve been blogging for a while can you finally assign monetary gains to the blog. (We’ve only just begun to do that ourselves! After five years of blogging.) Until then, counting wins in exposure, having easy social media fodder, establishing your brand voice, providing educational value, and building up your blog subscriber base will be all the value you need to gauge your blog’s usefulness.
2. “If you write it, they will come.”
Although we must credit this infographic for the quote, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you of the great Kevin Costner movie where this quote originates: Field of Dreams. This great movie is based upon the superstitions surrounding sports, and superstitious beliefs are just as true when building a baseball field to bring your favorite sports players back from the dead as they are when building a business.
Contrary to the many maxims out there, publishing a blog post is just the beginning. No great novelist got his or her book published and then the cash started rolling in. You have to market and promote your content. Get it out there.
Luckily, that’s as easy as ever these days by social media, email newsletters, content sites like inbound.org and LinkedIn groups, heck, even podcasts or paid ads. (Here are 143+ promotion ideas to get you started.) Don’t be shy.
3. “I have to have the perfect blog post.”
Having a good blog post is a great goal.
A perfect blog post, on the other hand, is a creation of superstition and myth: It does not exist.
Your blog is a place to communicate and educate customers, vendors, other businesses, employees, and generally people getting a feel for your company.
Writing a good blog post is like asking someone out on a date. You might completely botch it up, but that imperfection and level of humanity might be just what the other person is looking for.
Customers look for the real deal, and perfection doesn’t often fall into that category.
4. “I need to post every day.”
We commend your effort, but why sacrifice the quality of your blog in an effort to produce more material than your target audience can likely read anyway?
Your blog is targeting potential customers and others in your industry, which means it needs to be relevant, engaging, and meaningful.
As HubSpot shows through analysis of their 13,000+ customers, posting more does help your business (depending on industry & size), but consistent posting building a blog over time produces the best, most sustainable results.
5. Editing is difficult.
It is. But there are more tools to help get editing done more quickly and efficiently than ever before.
Here’s one: Grammarly. It’s free, works well, and was used to edit this post.
6. Facebook and Twitter are all a blog needs.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are valuable tools when used well consistently, but can destroy great marketing campaigns when used poorly or with little direction/targeting. For example, if you sell manufacturing ERPs B2B and think that you are going to get relevant information to business owners via only your Facebook page, you are most likely targeting their employees. While they are on the clock.
There are times when an email list is the best method to market your blog, or contributing to a more targeted industry group forum, as well as times when calling up a prospect and saying: “John, I know your business has had problems with inventory management. Listen, I’ll shoot a blog post your way I recently wrote addressing these issues. I think you’ll find it helpful.”
See? Blogging is about communication. So is the marketing of said blog.
7. Never schedule email sends on a Friday.
Check out this other great post for more information on marketing superstitious beliefs, debunked. They point out that we all work in a 24/7, plugged-in, electronic world, so planning marketing tactics based on what works often goes a superstitious direction, based on hunches and past successes/failures.
The reality is that people’s habits change. What’s true for email open rates or click-throughs change. Probably weekly. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and experiment often, to decide what’s true for your business and readership. You might find highest engagement on Fridays! Don’t miss out on that.
Frankly, some posting is best done on a Friday (like Friday the 13th articles, obviously), like more shareable posts or high-interest pieces going into the weekend (just look at the #FridayLongReads trend that continues to rise in popularity on Twitter), while others may be best done on certain holidays.
8. Formatting doesn’t matter.
Blog readers are people too. If you walk into, say, a new store, and all you see is clutter, flashing ads/banners to get your attention, or a confusing arrangement of items or flow, you are not likely to spend much time there unless you are a professional cleaner.
Same idea goes with a blog. Too much clutter, not enough relevant and pleasing visuals, and a confusing user experience forces potential readers to click away and bounce without a second thought. You’ve lost the opportunity to make a good first impression.
9. Longer blog posts perform better.
Rather than focusing on artificial metrics like length, he points out that great blogs deliver intangible value to the readers. After all, the goal of a blog is to help customers and potential customers. When you communicate and flesh out a piece of content that truly helps a customer, regardless of length, he/she will, in turn, seek out your paying solutions, making your blog is successful.
10. “I only do ‘how-to’ articles.”
No matter your target market, humans love variety. The point of your blog is to speak directly to an audience, and they want to know more about your business and opinions on recent news than just how-to articles, product reviews or any other limiting single point of view.
11. Don’t link to competition.
We get it, giving your competition free publicity seems like a bad idea, but let’s go back to the point of blogging: Communication.
Your customers, current or potential, may already know who your competition is. What may not know is how you differentiate from them. Unless you state it. They’ll likely appreciate your transparency and knowledge of the competitive landscape in your industry.
This vs. that articles, product reviews, or showing how your business operates differently, using your competition’s blog as a gauge or a source of other experimentation ideas can provide tremendous value to your blog. (Just be smart about it.)
12. Lists have to be a certain number.
Numerology (the study of numbers) is relegated to the realm of superstition because most people place meaning in units of measurement, as opposed to the implications of those measurements.
There are several studies that show the value of sticking to odd-numbered lists (rather than evens), but ultimately, the number of the list does not matter much.
Superstitious beliefs die hard, though…
We aren’t going to give you a 13th belief, because that would be unlucky.