E-commerce companies must take care to reap the benefits of business blogging without making a costly faux pas.
In the words of Berkshire Hathaway CEO and stock market legend Warren Buffett, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about it that way, you’ll do things differently.”
This is particularly true in the blogosphere, where content is visible instantly around the globe the second the “publish” button is engaged. Take care to avoid five business blogging mistakes that can damage a company’s reputation, credibility, or bottom line.
Business Blogging Blunder #1 – Becoming Stale
This is perhaps the most common mistake in the blogosphere but one that is particularly damaging for e-commerce companies. Visiting a blog with information that is two months out of date conveys the message that the company doesn’t care enough to update the site.
Blog regularly, even if posts are short. Each post doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece; in fact, short posts with plenty of white space interspersed with pictures or video are much easier to read online.
Business Blogging Blunder #2 – Irrelevance
Focus on one niche topic. Readers who know what to expect and understand the purpose of the blog will return for more. Trying to be the expert on a number of topics creates confusion. Readers will simply find another source for the information they seek if they have to dig through other content to find it.
Business Blogging Blunder #3 – Lack of Professionalism
Blogs are a great platform for less formal customer communication and showcasing the human side of the business. However, businesses must learn to create an approachable web presence to engage customers without crossing the line to lacking professionalism.
Limit blog posting to only as many employees as necessary and have one person responsible for reviewing all content before publishing. Avoid spelling errors, casual language or text-speak, spelling errors and sloppy formatting to put the company’s best foot forward.
Business Blogging Blunder # 4 – Plaigiarism or Copyright Infringement
Copyright violations are rampant in the blogosphere, often without the blogger realizing they have not properly referenced material.
Articles, photos, videos and other content cannot be republished from one website to another without the proper transfer of copyright or license. Never post content to the company blog unless the business has exclusive license or explicit permission to do so. Consult with an intellectual property rights attorney for more information.
Business Blogging Blunder # 5 – Broadcasting Instead of Social Marketing with Blogs
Blogging is less social than Twitter or Facebook but is still a form of social media. Encourage customer participation by asking questions, creating polls/surveys, running contests, and offering deals to blog readers.
Unanswered questions or comments or the feeling of being smacked over the head with a barrage of marketing messages will send readers running for the hills. Keep it interesting, engage readers, and create loyal customers.