So you’re thinking about launching a shiny new business blog.
After all blogging can help you find your next customer, attract organic Google traffic and build and nurture relationships with potential customers.
And who doesn’t want some of that?
But are you aware that all too many writers quickly get fed up and frustrated? What’s more, their good intentions are destined to join the growing scrap heap of abandoned, unloved blogs because these promised benefits never materialised.
And here’s the reason.
The start up phase lacked strategy and direction, and under-estimated what was involved in running and growing a successful blog.
So how do you maximise your chances of blogging success?
You answer these 10 key questions.
1. Why are you starting?
Don’t jump on the bandwagon blindly.
Successful blogging takes time and investment. You will only be satisfied of its progress if you have a clear idea of where you want your blog to take you.
What’s prompted your decision to start? Is it because your competitors are establishing their authority with a blog. Is it because you want to raise your own profile within your niche. Are you hoping your blog will attract more traffic? Do you want your blog to help sell your products and services.
Don’t set up a blog because you think you need to.
Instead have a solid reason that makes sound business sense.
2. How will you measure your blog’s success?
As with everything in business, you need metrics which you can track to see progress.
That way you’ll be able to justify the money you spend developing and growing your blog.
The metrics you pick will depend on what you want your blog to achieve.
- If you want to boost authority you may track links from key influencers.
- If your aim is to build relationships and to learn more about your target market you could monitor comments.
- If traffic’s important, watch social shares and visitor numbers.
- And if your aim is to grow your email list, monitor subscribers.
The key is to get clear on what matters to your business.
3. What will you write about?
This question is so important.
First you need a theme that has a clear connection with your business.
- I write about blogging, content marketing and copywriting which ties in closely with the services I offer.
- Paul Cox at SpinLessPlates writes the More Time, Work Less, Earn More blog which ties in neatly with his time saving software.
- Nigel Botterill writes about how to run a successful business which closely links to his Entrepreneur’s Circle membership.
What’s it for your business?
Next you need to identify post ideas that your target audience will find relevant, useful and interesting. What’s more, aim to write about issues that address a real customer need.
Finally create your editorial schedule to focus your writing. Plan no more than one month at a time so you can maintain the flexibility you need to respond to what’s happening in the market as well as to your customer feedback.
4. Who are you writing for?
It’s not enough to write great content.
It’s more important that you write posts that directly attract and appeal to your target customer.
If you want your blog to attract more customers, your results will be disappointing if you are writing for your peers (or worse yourself!)
And this means that part of your job is to research.
Make it your aim to get close to your customers. Understand their drivers. Figure out what keeps them awake at night. Hone in on the emotional triggers that will entice them into action. Then write posts that position your business as the place to visit for trusted solutions.
5. How will you promote it?
It’s not enough to create content and put it out there.
In addition you need a robust strategy to encourage social sharing and attract attention to your blog.
As a minimum ensure your social share buttons are predominantly displayed. Then look at what else you can do to kick-start your blog and give it some momentum. Here are four simple ideas.
- You could guest blog – this involves writing content for someone else’s blog where you know your target audience can be found.
- Engage staunch supporters and ask them to share your posts and comment.
- Get on the radar of key influencers in your field by sharing their stuff and commenting on their posts.
- Share your articles on all your social platforms. Try Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and the social media groups you belong to. But avoid the self promotion. Instead pose a question, initiate discussion and use your post as a talking point to start up valuable conversation.
6. How is your blog incorporated into your wider marketing strategy?
If you run a business, your blog must be closely integrated into your overall content marketing strategy.
So get clear on how you will do this.
The following doodle models how various platforms can integrate with each other. You’ll notice that your blog is a focal point.
7. How will you encourage interaction with your audience?
In blogging, the real magic happens when people start engaging and interacting with you.
Whether that’s through social sharing, link backs or commenting.
A proven way is to ask a question at the end of your post. If you give readers a hook to get them talking and sharing there ideas and opinions, your response will increase.
You see, comments are invaluable because they provide an insight into the mind of your reader. What’s more, it’s a great way to build deeper relationships with the people you want to get closer to.
8. How will you use your blog to grow your email list?
You’ve probably heard the saying that the money’s in your list.
And this is so true. Your list contains the names of people who have signed up because they value your expertise and are interested in what you have to say. Work your blog as a tool to incentivise people to sign up. An incentive such as a free download or an eBook works well.
Later you can identify ways to communicate with your list. You could create an autoresponder (sign up to my list and you’ll see one in action), mail out a regular newsletter or send emails. For sure you can use this as a medium to warm up leads, but also aim to add value to your audience.
9. How often will you write your blog?
There is a lot of conflicting advice about how often you should write your blog.
Some say you should only post when you have something relevant to say.
Others recommend you post on a regular, predictable posting schedule.
I think it depends on what your want your blog to achieve. If your blog is an integral and primary method of marketing your business, it makes sense to post regularly. That way you train your reader’s when to expect posts. Once a week is a good minimum. Anything less than that and you risk being forgettable.
Figure out how much time you can afford – but never compromise quality over quantity. Poorly written, unengaging, irrelevant posts could harm your business and your reputation.
10. When will you write your blog?
You have to make time for your blog. It won’t write itself (unless you hire a professional ghost writer like me 🙂
Your blog needs to be loved and cared for. It needs to be made a high priority otherwise it will face neglect – and it won’t work.
Plan your blog writing into your weekly routine. Don’t underestimate the time needed to write quality content and remember to factor in the time needed for research and blog promotion.
Use your editorial calendar to keep you focused. And to make it even easier, plan an outline for your post the day before you write it.
Blogging is such a fantastic business tool.
It’s flexibility offers up so many opportunities to the savvy business owner. And done well, it can shift your business up a notch or two.
Over to you…
How do you make time for your blog? What questions and considerations did you ponder over before you started up? What are your thoughts on hiring a ghostblogger to create content for you?
Please let me know in the comments below.