In my line of work I run into a lot of businesses who have bought into the need for blog content to engage their customers, to have something to share in social media, and for the SEO benefits. I’m glad to see they’ve seen the light!
The only problem is….the content. A lot of the content I see out there from startups, small businesses, and even corporations leaves a lot to be desired. It could even be called “dysfunctional” because it’s such a mismatch with their target market’s needs as well as with their company strategy.
Here are the 7 dysfunctional blog types
Here are the 7 dysfunctional blog types that I run into regularly. I’m sure there are others, so leave your ideas in the comments!
1) The Scrapbook
A random assortment of posts, generally not focused around any central theme. Some posts may be interesting for the target customer, but there’s not enough critical mass on any given topic to bring them back to read again.
2) The Sale Pitch
Imagine a sales presentation cut up, turned into text and divided into several blog posts. Everyone ending with, “So that’s why you need to hire an XYZ. Contact us here”.
3) The Press Release Distributor
Basically press releases posing as blog posts.
4) Out of Left Field
A company founder or employee who takes the angle of an online journal and blogs about whatever strikes them – current events, a recent trip, a minor rant. Sometimes interesting, but not really focused on what potential customers would be interested in reading.
5) The Bare Minimum
Posts on topics that may be of interest to your readers but so poorly researched and written that you can tell that each post is just quickly written effort to have something up.
6) It’s All About Us (and our products)
7) The Non-Local Local Blog
A very local business that makes no mention of any local topics (or any local keywords). For more on that issue, you can listen to me on Ryan Hanley’s podcast here where I explain my perspective near the end.
Have you seen this as well?
I’m not trying to pick on anyone or any company. The fact is, we all started with a pretty horrible blog (don’t lie). I know I did. You have to crawl before you can walk, if you know what I mean. I think some of us have just deleted that first blog or those old posts. Or they’re buried so deeply that no one finds them.
So what can a company do about this?
This short post is not the place to lay out a complete content strategy, but here are some key questions to get you started in the right direction:
- Who are you writing for? Which target customers, partners or industry influencers?
- What interests do those people have? Let’s call these “interest clusters”.
- Brides like wedding tips, wedding resources, pricing guides, wedding photo scrapbooks (for ideas) and so on.
- IT managers care about server performance, server costs, software, management tips, hiring tips, etc.
- You don’t have to write just about your product. You can write about anything within that “interest cluster” and your target audience will be happy!
- What content would they find valuable? Not just kind of valuable, but very valuable? (hint, it doesn’t have to exactly relate to your product)
- Based on this, what’s the theme of your blog? What kind of topics will you cover? What are the main categories? Will you do any content curation? Will you do interviews or allow guest bloggers?
- Do you narrow your search competition appropriately? If you only do business in the Niagara Falls region, do you write articles that include your top services and specific cities or towns in that area (possibly case studies)? How else will Google figure out that you want to be found for “Niagara plumber”?
- Are you creating your best content?
- Do you map out what topics you’ll talk about in your blog? Do you regularly collect and brainstorm new ideas?
- Do you have at least a basic editorial calendar?
- Is someone in charge of the overall blog – making sure there’s regular content and editing it as needed?
So getting the content right is key.
Your blog can do so much for your company in terms of engaging readers, engendering trust in your company, getting more social media shares (and traffic back to your site) as well as SEO. But if your blog is not aligned with your customers’ interests and your company strategy, you may be wasting that valuable time you’re putting into content generation. Feel free to contact me if you want to strategize on the direction of the blog for your startup or company. If you’re on track with the direction but need help with regular content, consider getting this blogging course for your content creation team.
What dysfunctional blog types do you run into?
Let me know in the comments if you run into the seven blog types above, or if you see other types of business blogs that drive you crazy!
Tom Treanor is the founder of the Right Mix Marketing blog. He’s the author of the Search Engine Boot Camp, the co-author of Online Business Productivity, and regularly speaks at industry and corporate events. His writing has been featured on the Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Copyblogger and other leading industry blogs.