Blogging can be a fun, effective way to grow your content marketing strategy and flex your creative muscles. It can help you become an acclaimed industry expert, learn new things, establish credibility in your brand, and generate qualified leads. Blogging can even – dare we say – offer a relaxing outlet from the hustle and bustle of your daily grind. When considering how blogging might fit into your business strategy, don’t dive directly into the content creation and writing process. Chances are, you’ll burn out quickly or abandon the project before it gets off the ground. Instead, follow our beginner’s guide to blogging for your business to set up an effective, sustainable blog ecosystem that will delight and engage your target audience.
Start with a goal before blogging:
Before doing anything else, ask yourself what success looks like. If you simply want to indulge in the intersection between your academic and professional passions, your blogging goals will be substantially different than if you’re trying to generate a 25% increase in qualified marketing leads. There’s no right or wrong answer here. Content marketing blogs have tons of passive SEO and social media benefits even if your primary objective isn’t to directly target new customers. However, if that is your goal, blogging won’t disappoint. Get clear on what you want to achieve and then start thinking about how you’re going to do it.
Let’s talk logistics:
Next, have a realistic discussion with yourself (or your team, or content marketing agency) about logistics: where will the blog be hosted? Will you do this yourself or pay someone to manage it on your behalf? How much do you want to spend? Do you have a team who can write content in-house? How many blog posts do you want per week? Per month? Do you want your blog to be connected to your main site or on a separate domain? Do you want corresponding social media accounts? The list goes on. You get the picture. The logistics can sometimes feel overwhelming and are, without question, less fun than blogging itself, so tackle them first. If you’re feeling overwhelmed just reading this post, chances are you might want to speak with your content marketing agency to iron out the details. Trust us, we’re happy to help. If you prefer the DIY approach, at least decide how often you want to write and where you’ll post your blog entries before committing to anything else.
Research and read:
It may seem intuitive, but one of the best ways to start blogging is to read other blogs. Find out what other people in your industry are reading and why they like those blogs versus the thousands of other posts out there. Sign up for email lists, see what’s working, and what’s not working in the market. You may find inspiration, get a sense of what you want your blog to look or feel like, and even a few things you want to avoid. Almost every marketing site has a blog these days, so it’s important to understand what’s keeping users engaged. Since you are a user (or, at the very least, a proxy for your customer as a user), your eye is as good as any when judging what feels right in the highly subjective blogosphere.
Find your niche:
That said, it’s important to find your niche. Your blog shouldn’t be an exact duplicate of a wildly successful, related blog. You don’t want to go into head-to-head content marketing competition with a heavy hitter or professional content creation wizard. Instead, soak up as much inspiration as you can and tweak their success into something uniquely you. The most successful new blogs target a niche audience or subject that hasn’t been tapped out yet. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers on social media what they’d like to learn more about, take informal email polls, or ask friends and co-workers what they think would keep readers interested.
Once you’ve decided on a niche topic, polished your target audience, and set up your shiny new blog platform, it’s time to start writing. Many new bloggers express fear over writing and posting their first entry. It doesn’t need to be perfect and it doesn’t need to capture the core essence of your blog. These things will evolve organically as you find your voice and develop a following. Just start writing. Brainstorm a list of topics you want to write about that will engage your target audience and then just go for it. You can always edit or remove your posts later.
The most important thing to remember when blogging for business is to be consistent. Consistently write to stay relevant and consistently generate content that will help you reach your lead generation or engagement goals. Quality is more important than quantity, so we recommend fewer consistently great posts than tons of mediocre entries that no one wants to read. Happy blogging!