Blogs. They’re a pretty good way to create content for your business. They build up a library for other campaigns such as email nurturing, social media and even lead generation. They can be used to promote other pieces of content, such as whitepapers or eBooks. And while the days of blogs bringing in massive advertising dollars are over, you can still make money from your blog if that’s the model you choose.
Managing a blog isn’t easy. As I sit here writing this the day it’s supposed to go up I’m starting to realize that. So here are 3 things that you should do before starting a blog, based on my own personal experiences.
1)Pick a realistic schedule
I started this blog as a weekly post. This was fine in the beginning. I didn’t have any clients and I was focusing solely on building out the business and branding the company. However, once I started working for other people, this became less of a priority. Now I’m posting every two weeks, which I think is sustainable, but we’ll see.
There’s a larger lesson to be learned in this as well. When running your own business you need to set aside time to manage the business itself. I’ve now set up a block of time for doing the accounting, marketing and administrative side of things so that I’m always on top of it and not scrambling around trying to catch up.
2)Plan out your posts well in advance
Once you know how often you will be posting, you’ll need to decide what topics you want to write on. I’ve planned topics and written short abstracts for at least the next 5 posts. This gives you the time to do research and outline your thoughts well before writing. Browse companies in your industry to see what they are writing about. Think of common questions your audience may have and decide if you can write a valuable answer for them.
Starting from a question is a good approach, especially if one of the goals of your blog is to improve your search engine rankings. As Google’s algorithms continue to improve, people can ask questions in natural language and expect an answer. Smart headings that include those questions and a strong answer can put your page to the top.
This works really well if the topic is fairly unique. For example, this post on writing a blog will be competing against a million others and probably won’t reach the top of anything. But a post discussing a difficult problem in a niche industry will have less competition. The best part, anyone who does find it will almost certainly be part of your target audience and could become part of your sales funnel.
3)Have a solid promotion strategy
Your blog is only good if people are able to find it. You can be writing the best content you can, but if no one reads it, it isn’t adding value to your business. As mentioned above, blogs are highly versatile and can be used in many different campaigns.
Blogs do well when sent out through email marketing because they are short, consumable and they don’t require the reader to sign up or give away any additional information. They are also great for social media. When posting, be sure to schedule your article more than once, especially on fast moving platforms like Twitter. This gives more people a chance to see it. Also, consider implementing SEO best practices so that your blog can be found by people looking for answers. If you solve their problem they might just stick around to learn more.
Finally, think of what you will place at the end of the post. This Call-to-Action (CTA) is your opportunity to do a bit of a pitch. Blogs, in general, should add value without promoting anything. But the real estate at the bottom is where can ask your reader for something in return. For example, I will be putting a link to our content writing services. Another example is to use your blog to preview a whitepaper, then placing a CTA linking to the download form. You’ll get contact information from your reader this way, meaning they can be moved into your lead nurturing strategy.
Build your blog over time
Blogs are an excellent way to build content for your website, reach new audiences and add value to readers. They can be leveraged across most other marketing campaigns and can be the entrance point for new leads or prospects. But to be successful, you need to stick to a consistent schedule, discuss valuable topics and promote your blog effectively. Set realistic expectations for readership, and remember that it is the quality of reader that is more important than the quantity.
Here’s my Call-to-Action as an example
Bridge the Gap provides high quality writing services such as blogs to small businesses, allowing them to focus their time, effort and resources on their customers. Check out our content writing page to learn more.