If you’re like many small business owners or entrepreneurs, you’ve made a decision to take your business to the next level in 2017.
What you’re after is enhanced credibility, increased site traffic, greater visibility in your market, and above all long-lasting customer relationships.
Your greatest business ambitions are achievable by creating a sustainable online presence. The missing key may be your blog.
Still not convinced? Consider this:
- Blogs are rated among the top five most trusted online resources for information
- Blogging is a cost-effective strategy for creating engaging consumer content (most are free to use!)
- Blogs can increase site traffic by up to 97%
Blogging is a key building block of a sustainable online presence, and we’re giving you the insights to kick off your blog on the right foot.
1. Determine Your Audience
Of course, you’re writing for your customers. But, who are they? Understanding your audience will create a pathway to fulfilling customer needs and offering true value.
Take a look at the product or service you’re offering, and ask yourself, who can benefit from your offering. Even begin to imagine a fictional character with all the traits of your ideal customer.
Create an audience profile with consideration to the following factors:
- How they are using your product/service
- Why they need your offering
- Challenges and pain points
- Content they’re interested in
- Online platforms they’re visiting (social media, etc.)
It can also be helpful to create multiple profiles, as your ideal customers may be wide-ranging. What’s more, you never want to exclude a potential customer by keeping your focus too narrow.
There is a fine line between finding your niche and over-diversifying— it’s your responsibility to understand how much business you can sustain and at what level of quality.
2. Crafting an Engaging Narrative
Your blog should have a consistent voice and tone. To get started, begin developing a solid foundation of relevant content. In other words, start writing!
The “foundation” should include information, which is irresistible to your target audience; information, which is timeless and highly valuable while pertaining heavily to your business or core values.
Consider what is valuable to your audience. If your service is business consultancy, offer insight to team development, leadership effectiveness or strategy creation.
If your product is a memory foam mattress, share tips for improved sleep quality or sleep aides.
Now, how will you create a “voice” for your blog? Will you aim to entertain; inform; educate; persuade? Will you speak in first-person narrative or second?
Remaining consistent with a specific voice will foster a stronger relationship with your reader.
While building a foundation of content, keep an open mind; the inception of your blog can take one of many paths, so be creative and brainstorm often.
3. Create a Content Strategy
Consistency is essential to the success of your blog. Before even going live, you’ll need to determine several key factors:
- When will you post and how often?
- Who are you posting for? (Check back with Step 1.)
- What is your reason or goal for posting?
- Are you offering a “call to action”; will it be direct or indirect?
Interweaving CTAs (call to action) in your blog is a great way to drive traffic to your website. For example, embedding a registration link for your next speaking engagement or workshop will create awareness and easy access for readers.
Your content strategy is the bread and butter of your blog. Ultimately, it should facilitate your value offering to customers and reflect the values of your business, all while driving traffic to your business and generating leads.
4. Researching Topics and Keywords
Selecting relevant and valuable topics for your blog takes a bit of elbow grease.
You must decide how broad or narrow your focus will be, as well as the “angle” or position you will take as a writer. For example, a food blog can mean a million different things!
Will you focus on a specific cuisine; healthy eating; family recipes; or cook with a modern twist?
Pinpoint several core themes or topics of your blog and begin to gather relevant keywords to interweave through your writing.
Keywords should reflect words or phrases your target audience is searching for. The best way to use keywords to your advantage and attract viewers is by including them in your blog– and remaining consistent!
5. Getting Started
It’s time to launch your blog!
You’ve built a “foundation” of content, created a content strategy and included search-worthy keywords in your writing. Here are a few ways to make sure your first posts kick off to a strong start:
- Keep it simple; avoid jargon or overly technical wording. The more basic your writing, the more people you can connect with.
- Highlight or bold important thoughts or ideas throughout your text; consider what should stand out to the reader who is merely “skimming” your post.
- Make it easy to read; use bullets and numbered lists.
- Avoid “word walls”— break paragraphs into a maximum of 3 sentences.
- Offer clear and obvious value in every post; ask an outsider for a fresh perspective— are you offering clear value?
Remember your “why” for posting.
6. Monitor Performance
Launching your first post is a big step! But, to truly develop your blog and make it worth your while, it’s important to track and monitor performance.
Here are a couple of key measurables to look for:
- Page Views
- Click Through Rate (CTR) — Are readers clicking on embedded hyperlinks?
- Traffic Source– How are readers finding your blog?
- Audience Engagement (comments, likes or shares)
- Leads/Customers Obtained
Most Content Marketing Systems (CMS) will track and offer this information to you; be sure your CMS offers the analytics you’re after before launching.
Once you have an eye on key measurables, set realistic goals and targets for forthcoming posts.
Blogging is a Long-Term Commitment!
Just because you’ve posted your first couple blogs, doesn’t mean the hard work is over. With commitment, focus and strategy, you can truly make your blog work for you.
Before we let you go, here a few final tips for making your blog a success in 2017:
- Always keep blogging– your reader craves consistency!
- Try organic AND paid advertising.
- Adapt your strategy– nothing is set in stone; be open to change, for the better.
- Read often, research topics and brainstorm fresh ideas.
- Look at what your readers are saying and continue to provide value.
There you have it– 6 Steps to Developing A Successful Blog.
Image attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/blog-blogging-wordpress-leave-684748/