Is my Abandoned Blog Hurting my Brand Image?

Image: (c) Can Stock Photo [Abandoned Blog Feeling]

Abandoned Blog

Abandoned blogs start with great expectations. If left unattended, of course the answer to the title question is YES. An abandoned blog sends all the wrong messages to your customers. Blogs are a key component of content marketing that can drive traffic to your site. It was going to be a major part of your website and inbound marketing strategy, wasn’t it? So what happened? You wrote a few posts, then found that you were too busy to keep it going. They became more sporadic, less consistent, and written on the run. A constant stream of other pressures took hold, and finally it was forgotten. Even the occasional executive blog post stopped coming in. 180 days later, you realize that it did not work. You did not get a massive bump in traffic, it did not become the saving grace of the website. It is now all but forgotten. You can practically see the tumbleweed rolling in dusty abandon.

Abandoned blogs are nothing new. Technorati’s 2008 survey estimated that of the 133Million blogs only 7.4million had been updated within a 4 month period. You can safely call these abandoned. That is a 94.4% failure rate! Naturally, most of these are personal blogs left when the novelty wore off. However, a huge number of these are organisational B2B and B2C blogs. Not a big deal until you start to think about what these failed blogs say about your brand. Lack of interest sends clear messages to your customer that are NOT complementary!

Having a corporate site with an abandoned blog is like feeding a continuous stream of venom through the veins of your brand. Jawad Khan wrote a seminal article highlighting seven bad signs it sends your customers. Paraphrasing these negative customer messages include:

  1. You don’t know enough about your industry
  2. You are not a professional company (just a website run out of your bedroom)
  3. You don’t care about your customers
  4. You have no success stories to share
  5. You are going out of business
  6. You are out of touch with current trends
  7. You have an ignorant marketing team

Khan’s points emphasize that an abandoned blog makes customers question whether your company is still alive and interested in their business. An abandoned blog screams out that your brand is NOT relevant. It is NOT on the forefront of your field. Maybe your brand was just blogging because it was the topic of the month. You then wistfully let it go after realizing it takes effort. On that thought won’t your customers also question whether their business will be treated the same way? Will your brand celebrate getting the business, then abandoned it when the challenges of implementation set in? An abandoned blog shows a brand with little commitment. It shows a brand with a lack of willpower.

Would you want to buy a product or service from a brand like this?

Contrast

Hubspot LogoNow, contrast your own feelings about a brand with an abandoned blog against that of an elite blogging firm like Hubspot. With extremely timely, high quality, and impactful content – a customer’s impression is that of Hubspot being THE industry leader. In Hubspot’s case they sell Marketing Automation Software. They are fresh, professional, true thought leaders. They are committed, and highly organized. Frankly, this is the type of organisation and brand you can count on to get the job done. Their amazing blog gives them a powerful halo effect. Customers believe Hubspot could resolve even the toughest and most challenging job. As a B2B purchaser you would feel safe buying from a company like Hubspot. All this, merely from the fact that they are blogging on a very consistent basis, with high quality articles in their field, while providing useful content in their posts. This is the powerful positive effect of a well maintained blog!

Remember why you started a blog for your brand? Was it because:

  • B2B blogs get 67% more leads
  • Brands prioritizing blogs are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI
  • 57% of the buyers decision is made before ever speaking to a sales representative [CEB]
  • Hubspot estimates that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human
  • Blogging firms get 97% more inbound weblinks (super for SEO)
  • Blogs are the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information!

(Statistics above sourced from HubSpot, except where indicated otherwise) 

What To Do?

Carol Amato points out several critical mistakes in blogging for a brand. Three that resonate loudly include:

  • Failure to Commit
  • Failure to take Consistent Action
  • Producing Low Quality Content
Hubspot's Oct 2015 survey results on how long it takes to write a Blog Post

Hubspot’s Oct 2015 survey results on how long it takes to write a Blog Post

Before proposing and starting your own brand blog, make sure you have a plan on how to avoid all three. Points one and two mean that running a blog takes effort. It is not easy. You need to plan, prepare, research, and write on a consistent basis. Hubspot ran a study to find out how many hours an average blog post takes to write. Their conclusions are shown on the chart to the right. Typically it will take 2-3 hours… but expect 4 hours to complete a 500 word blog. Remember that 2-3 hours are coming from professionals who do this very consistently, and have practice at it. Maybe you will get there, but don’t count on it at the beginning.

Remember that Low Quality Content will get you nowhere. The only reason a blog will help with your SEO, webviews, and inbound sales process – is if readers find it useful and come back for more. If they do not, then you are not building credibility or trust. These readers will never convert into a customer.

Source: Kevan Lee's "How to Write a Blog Post" on blog.bufferapp.com

Source: Kevan Lee’s “How to Write a Blog Post” on blog.bufferapp.com

Tacticals

When starting or restarting your brand blog – get senior management buy-in. There must be a recognition of the importance to your firm’s marketing and sales strategy. It is important to have the commitment to this effort as a direct aspect of your role. Then commit yourself to the project. Allocate the right amount of time to blogging or managing the blog. Count on 4-5 hours per post if you are writing it yourself. Monitor your timing as you go… to get YOUR realistic average. Then lock this amount of time into your calendar. Kevan Lee has a great example of a chart showing his time breakdown, shown to the left (borrowed from “The Time it takes to write a Buffer Blog Post“). Remember, Kevan is a professional blogger with considerable experience writing blog posts. That means he is probably much faster than average… so don’t get discouraged. His chart is useful to identify the different elements needed for a good blog post. Lee’s chart also provides a rough time split between the different tasks.

For consistency – start with a plan. You will want to develop persona’s to understand your target audience. The better you understand the audience, the better your articles will speak to your customers. For more on persona development see:

Personas: 5 Quick Steps

Marketing Personas FAQ

Marketing Personas in Action

Helpful Blog Editorial Calendar Template

Blog Editorial Calendar - example from Strategy D

Blog Editorial Calendar – example from Strategy D

Hubspot also has a useful blog editorial calendar template (spreadsheet) that I use to co-ordinate posts. This planner lets you co-ordinate your own posts, and plan for guest blog posts, too. This editorial calendar helps keep you organized, and reminds you of keyword use, personas, tags, and so on.

Aside from your own blog postings, recruit others within the firm. Product Marketers, the services organisation, and your executives can all be resources. It is not too much to ask them to create a post once per quarter or every six months. This will keep your posts interesting, bringing varying styles and perspectives of your firm’s thought leadership. Finally, also think about hiring an agency or a freelancer to help you research and create posts. Be wary of agencies claiming to be able to blog at the cheapest rates. The price might be right, but if the quality is low there will be a heavy cost for your brand.

Final Thoughts

For the sake of your brand, if you have an abandoned blog, either restart it or hide the blog section of your site. Showing an abandoned blog might be more destructive to your image, than not having one at all. This is especially true if there are only a few posts on it.

Have fun restarting your engine. Commit to it, and be consistent with your efforts. Most importantly, be picky and make sure your posts provide top quality information. Then give it time, as it will take at least 4-6 months before you start noticing a lift in your site traffic. Blogging success will be result of what you cultivated with effort and time.

 

 

Need help?

As always, please share your thoughts. Blogs are great when used well, and NOT forgotten. Reach out if you need help revamping your blogging within your organisation.

 

About the Author:

Charles Dimov (Sep2015) Small HeadshotCharles Dimov is Director of Strategy D, a Digital and Product Marketing consultancy (www.StrategyD.org). He has 20 years of experience in High Technology, with 15+ years in Product Marketing functions – having successfully introduced over 80+ new product to global markets. Charles has a MASc.(MBA), BASc.(Eng), and a BA.(Econ), and loves Photography, Marketing Strategy, and rolling up his sleeves to drive market success. He can be reached at Charles@DimovStrat.com

 

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