A Google search will reveal one simple truth – businesses that blog generate more leads than businesses that don’t. But how do you get started?
If you’re thinking of launching a business blog but aren’t sure what to do first, start by answering these questions.
1) Where will your blog live?
Can you add a blog to your website? If it’s an old site, adding a blog may not be as simple as you think, and it’s probably time for a website update.
Sure, you can publish on LinkedIn, Facebook or any number of online platforms. But there are a few problems with this approach.
You don’t own the content. You don’t set the publishing rules. You have limited customization options. You don’t drive traffic to your website, at least not directly.
Before you launch your small business blog, make sure it has a place to live – ideally, on your mobile-friendly, blog-friendly website.
2) What business goal do you want your blog to help you achieve?
Over time, your business blog should help you shape your brand, earn trust, establish your expertise, cultivate relationships and improve your search ranking. These benefits are valuable but can be difficult to measure and attribute directly to business blogging.
There are other benefits that can be measured. Do you want to increase website traffic? Do you want people to fill out a form? Download an e-book or white paper? Watch a video? Register for an event? What are the benchmarks for success? How is this activity being traced to actual dollars?
Determine what goals you want to achieve and make sure your blogging strategy is developed with those goals in mind.
3) Who is your target audience?
Be as specific as possible. Avoid labels like millennials, stay-at-home moms, small business owners, and busy professionals. These labels may help you paint a clearer picture of your audience, but it’s important to remember that your readers are real people.
When you have a better understanding of who these real people are and what’s important to them, you’ll be better prepared to develop relevant, valuable blog content that speaks to their needs and deliver that content to the right places.
4) How will you get your blog in front of the right people?
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you have to figure out where they go to consume content.
Obviously, people who sign up to receive your blog will get emails when you publish a new post. But if you rely only on email distribution, you’ll struggle to grow your audience.
What social media channels, and groups within those channels, cater to your target audience? What publications cater to your audience? How can you optimize your content so people will find your business on Google when they look for more information about a topic you covered in your blog?
5) Who will do the writing?
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – knowledge of one’s business and the ability to type do not a writer make.
Your blog has to be more than well-written. It has to be interesting and helpful. It has to be written with business goals, marketing strategy and a specific target audience in mind.
If your company doesn’t have an employee with this kind of ability and expertise, or you have such a person but they don’t have the bandwidth to write on a regular basis, you need to invest in a content writer.
6) What will you write about?
The company blog isn’t just another place to sell stuff. Think about how you can help the reader.
What are common questions your clients ask before, during and after the sale? What are common obstacles to a sale? Each question and obstacle can be addressed thoroughly and without interruption in a blog post.
What new data and trends will your audience find relevant and helpful? The findings of a new study, and individual data points within that study, can inspire a number of blog posts.
What are people in your industry talking about on social media, in news articles, and at live events? What are your competitors talking about?
Listen to your clients. Listen to your colleagues. Listen to your competitors. And you’ll never run out of blog topics.
7) What is your process?
Once you’ve answered all of these questions, you need a repeatable process for publishing blog posts on a regular basis.
For example, you look at your editorial calendar and see that a post about retirement planning is scheduled to be published one month from now. You need to have a process that allows enough time to have the blog post written, reviewed, revised if necessary, approved, published and distributed.
If you want your small business blog to be successful, you have to publish consistently. It’s much easier to publish consistently and avoid falling behind when you have a repeatable process to follow.
Need help answering these questions and launching your blog? Contact me and I’ll help you get the ball rolling!