You’re a busy person.
You’re either running a business single-handedly or with a very small team, or you’re handling the entire marketing strategy for a company all on your own.
But you’ve heard enough and more about the benefits of blogging, and you know that you need to start a blog on the company website.
The fact is that most marketers and business owners know their business, market, and product or service well enough to start a blog, and consistently add relevant content every week.
The brutal fact is that most marketers and business owners are also too loosely committed to making that happen. But that might be because blogging is often overcomplicated.
1. Let’s begin with a fundamental business lesson. As Simon says: Start with Why
The answer to ‘why’ often inspires (call-to) action. Why do you want to have a blog? What are your primary and secondary objectives?
Don’t be afraid of putting down objectives like ‘because everyone else is doing it’. ‘Everyone else is doing it’ is a valid competitive analysis and a good enough reason to jump on board the content marketing bandwagon.
As you go along, your blogging objectives might grow, shift or change, and that’s ok, too. But you need a real and meaningful purpose to begin and to remain committed, so start with ‘Why’.
Some common blogging objectives are:
To engage with our existing customers through useful content
To engage with potential customers
To tell the world what we do, and share the story of our business
To create awareness about the need for our product or service
To keep up with the competition
To drive traffic to our website
To have a stronger online presence
2. Really pin down your target audience. Like really.
You need to know your potential consumer inside-out. What they like, dislike, why they might use your product or service, what they connect and engage with, what their demographic profile is – figure them out.
Create a few user personas. Your user personas should be based on deep research and understanding of your target audience, but could be as easy to understand as this:
Jamie is a 26-year-old Dubai-based advertising professional that works in a high-stress, fast-paced environment. She is well-read, likes to travel and to her, ‘success’ is a well-rounded, balanced life. She is as focused on her health and well-being as she is on her career, social life and family relationships. She has the disposable income to, and would be willing to pay for a high-end yoga studio that is in the Downtown area if she is able to relate to the community that makes that studio what it is, and if she believes that being a part of that community truly adds value to her life.
Get to know more about Jamie if you want her to sign up at your yoga studio. Don’t make up the facts – conduct actual primary and secondary research if you haven’t already. Chances are, you know this stuff about your customers, you just need to dig around to find the data.
3. Stop thinking ‘strategy’. Think blog topics, instead.
‘Blog Strategy’ sounds a little daunting. Strategy implies a lot of time spent thinking, brainstorming, Excel planning and what not. You don’t have that kind of time.
So stop thinking ‘strategy’. Instead just write down the major areas you want to cover, and a few topics that you can think of under those areas. Look at other blogs in your line of business. There’s no way you won’t find one, unless you’re in the squid-ink pens production business, but even then you might.
If your product or service is extremely niche, zoom out a little bit and look at what your broader competitors are doing. Squid-ink pen producers, for you, that might just be writing instruments, stationary or office supplies.
Write to me and we can work on a themes and topics exercise for your business. No charges involved!
4. Decide on a posting frequency and stick to it come hell or high water
Believe me when I say, there’s always an excuse not to write. It’s going to take a solid immovable commitment on your part.
Once a week is perfectly fine to begin with. Set a day and a time to write, and block it off in your diary. If you don’t set a content production schedule, then you can’t have publishing schedule.
Right now, forget about the marketing and promotion part for your posts. Baby steps – for the first month or so, just get writing.
5. Don’t be ashamed of the quality of your blog posts
I write some terrible blog posts. I understand if you think this is one of them – no offence taken.
It’s perfectly ok to have some content up initially that’s not entirely on-point. You’re not promoting it, and people that do land on your blog are a little more forgiving than you’d think.
Consistently bad blog posts will put readers off, but if you’re writing regularly, you’re probably getting better. Also, remember that your posts are based on a target audience understanding and a themes and topics exercise. You already have half the formula right.
Share your posts with as many of your friends, family and clients as possible. Be open to feedback and criticism. About 12 posts in, look back at your blog posts and see if you like the overall direction and feel. If you don’t, rethink your content or get help from an expert to understand what you might be doing wrong.
If you could use an outside perspective, give me a shout and drop me a link to your blog. Again, I’m not after your monies, this is completely free!
There are great resources online on what make for a good blog post, if it helps. Here’s a great Huffington Post article on nailing your blog posts every single time.
All in all, the key to a successful blog is consistency. The key to an exceptionally successful blog is knowing and understanding your customer’s needs, and producing content that addresses those needs. Consistently.
Bear in mind that you’re starting a blog here. A business marketing activity. You can’t just leave it hanging. It’s better not to have a blog than to have a forgotten blog that was last updated in March 2016. Do you know what the extreme thought is that many people’s mind goes to when they see that 2016 post? It’s ‘Oh, are these guys even open?’
I can guarantee you though, that if you commit to blogging, stay in it for the long-run and make it a point to get your business blog right one way or the other, you’re in for a marketing ROI treat. For a little more proof, take a look at these content marketing stats.
Anything can be made by writing, so get making! Good luck 🙂