The biggest misconception about blogging is that it is hard to do, when in fact the true “hard” part is remaining consistent. If you can commit to your blog and have a clear vision for its content, the rest is a piece of cake.
As business owners and entrepreneurs, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. At any given moment there are a million things on your plate — the last thing you have time for is starting a new endeavor, such as writing a blog.
But let’s consider the major benefits of blogging:
- Considered a trusted source of information among consumers.
- Considered a cost-effective strategy for content creation.
- Is an instant value creation for your consumers.
- Can increase site traffic by over 90%.
- Creates greater credibility and visibility in your industry.
- It’s simple to get started and keep up with!
If it’s not already, blogging should be an integral component of your content marketing strategy. To get started, set aside a day (or couple) and get crackin’:
1. Who is your audience?
You know better than anyone who your target consumer is. Defining who your audience is will create a clearer understanding of how you can fulfill their needs via your blog. After all, the true purpose of a blog is to create and offer value to your consumers.
Here are a few pointers to help you define your audience:
- 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.)
You may begin to realize you have more than one target audience, specifically if you offer several categories of products or service. Just be careful to toe the line between finding your niche and over-diversifying.
2. Identify your voice.
Your voice is influenced by your brand’s purpose: to entertain, inform, persuade, educate, etc. For example, if your business is leadership consultancy, your voice will likely err on the side of informative, whereas if your business is selling children’s toy, you’ll likely be more entertaining and playful.
Once you’ve identified your purpose and thus your voice, begin crafting engaging content, i.e. start writing! Consider what is valuable to your audience: what are their needs; why would they seek your product or service; what information do they need to make a purchase?
Above all, your content should be valuable to the reader and lead them to trust you as a reputable source of information. Your voice should be consistent throughout your writing, so your readers come to recognize and foster a relationship with your online presence.
As you begin this process, keep an open mind and recognize your blog can take a variety of different courses before you find your “groove.” Your best bet is to be creative, brainstorm and seek advice from trusted peers.
3. Get strategic.
As we said, consistency is key to the success of your blog — without it, you’ll have a harder time establishing a solid relationship with your audience, where they come to rely on and look forward to your posts.
Here are a few considerations important to determine before going live:
- How often will you post?
- When will you post (time of day/week)?
- Who are you posting for?
- What is your goal in posting?
- What is your “call to action,”e. what action will you inspire your audience to take?
A call to action (CTA) is exactly what is sounds like — through your content, you either inspire, motivate, educate or persuade your audience to take a certain action, usually a purchase.
Consider if your CTAs will be direct or indirect:
- Indirect: Embedding a link to a product page/sign-up into your text.
- Direct: “Sign-Up Now For Our Monthly Email Newsletter!”
Your content strategy 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. Choose your words wisely.
Selecting relevant topics and keywords can make the difference of consumers finding your blog or not.
Identify your “angle” or position as a writer, depending on the nature of your business. For example, if your business is in home inspections, consider if your specific focus will be on buyers, sellers or both.
Pinpoint core themes to your blog and gather keywords and phrases that relate. 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. Start blogging!
You know your audience, identified your voice, created a strategy and did your research, all that’s left to do it the actual blogging.
Here are a few pointers to get things started on the right foot:
- 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?
Above all, remember your purpose for writing and why you created your blog in the first place.
6. Track your performance.
Blogging is a long-term commitment and requires careful maintenance to ensure consistent quality and results.
Here are a few key measureable to keep track of:
- 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
Your key measurables should be revisited periodically and used to set goals and targets for forthcoming posts. Consider a monitoring/tracking strategy, so you know when to check-in with your progress, i.e. every week or month.
A Few More Tips
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.
Ask us your toughest blogging questions in the comments below, and we’ll shed some light!