Some businesses think that sucessful blogging is as simple as writing some content, publishing it, and BOOM – thousands of new leads.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Blogging doesn’t usually bring businesses instant gratification, and you really have to work hard and develop a solid strategy to reap its rewards in the future.

But maybe you already feel like you’re working hard, and you haven’t seen any results. If that’s the case, consider these 5 reasons why your blogging efforts are failing:

1. You aren’t posting to your small business blog regularly.

Let’s face it – when you get busy, maintaining your blog is usually one of the first tasks that slips through the cracks.

To avoid this problem, create an organized editorial calendar and stick to it. Pick your topics, and assign specific blog posts to the dates you want to publish. You’ve got lots of options as far as tools for doing this, including Basecamp, CoSchedule, Google Calendar, or even an Excel spreadsheet.

But wait… how often should you write?

To answer that question, let’s look at this blogging data collected by Hubspot:

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As you can see, companies that posted 16+ times per month got about 3.5x more traffic than companies that posted up to 4 times per month. So, if you’re looking for those kinds of results, try to post four times per week.

That being said, remember this: when it comes to blogging, quality is more important than quantity. Don’t publish just for the sake of content creation – just post as often as you can while making sure that everything you write educates your ideal customers.

2. You aren’t creating content of value for your target audience.

What information is your target audience looking for?

You need to answer this question in detail before you can blog in a way that will build your brand and generate leads for your small business. So, engage with your target audience and figure out what they want to know. Once you’ve collected this data, you can use it to start brainstorming blog topics that are sure to resonate with them.

And remember to keep the sales pitches out of your small business blog. Your goal with blogging should be to educate and provide value – not sell. That way, you can build trust with your readers and they’ll eventually turn into loyal customers on their own.

3. You’re not promoting your blog posts across social networks.

You can’t expect hordes of people to excitedly read your blog posts if you don’t promote them – especially when you’re just starting out. So, research to find out which social networks are most effective for your industry, and share away!

Here are a few more tips to get the most out of your social media marketing efforts:

  • Try HootsuiteWithout the right social media tools, posting to several social networks can take up tons of your time. That’s why Hootsuite is so great. It allows you to quickly schedule all of your posts at once so you don’t have to spend all day tending to your social media accounts.
  • Interact with your followers – When someone takes the time to engage with you on social media, make sure you respond. It only takes a few seconds to do this, but those few seconds could mean the world to a potential customer!

For help figuring out which days and times you should post to your social media accounts, check out this blog post from Quicksprout.

4. Your brand voice is just plain boring.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here – most businesses don’t have a strong brand voice because they’re just plain scared.

What are they so scared of, you ask?

It’s simple. They think that, by showcasing a strong online personality, they’ll drive a lot of people away.

While that may be true, it doesn’t matter. The people you drive away by being authentic aren’t people you want to work with anyway.

Bottom line: some people aren’t going to like your brand voice. Don’t worry about them – it’s better to have brand advocates and haters than to have lots of people who feel lukewarm about working with you.

5. You hired a cheap, inexperienced writer to keep costs low.

As with most things, you get what you pay for when you hire a freelance writer. Here are a few ways to find a blogger who can drive real results for your business:

  • Problogger job boardFor $50, you can post your job ad to this popular board and expect to hear from lots of qualified applicants.
  • Google search – Try looking for a freelance blogger in your city. For example, if you live in Miami, search for “Miami freelance blogger.”
  • Social media – Twitter and LinkedIn make it easy for small business owners to search for bloggers who specialize in particular niches. Be specific in your search, and you’ll likely find a writer who is a good fit.

And remember – stay away from Craigslist and “content farms” when you’re looking for a high-quality writer. While those websites might allow you to get blog posts for cheap, you can bet that those posts won’t be effective.

…But what if you’re not making any of the mistakes mentioned here and your blog is still failing?

Not to worry –  you probably just haven’t given your blog enough time to prosper yet! You might find yourself waiting several months (or even years) for it to pick up… and that’s okay.

Allow your blog some time to develop before you give up on it completely. The leads you’ll eventually generate from it will be worth all of the hard work.