You know your clients need to start a blog to build their businesses, but they won't succeed if they're only posting once in a while. A successful blog that helps grow their business requires a well-thought out business blog strategy.
You wouldn't start selling merchandise without careful planning beforehand, so why would you start a blog without it? Yes, you might get to be creative with content, but blogging is a business operation that deserves the same foresight and attention as every other part of your client's business.
The first blog post can wait - for now, follow these steps to creating a winning business blog strategy.
1. Set a Goal
Ask them: Why do you want to create a blog? Do you want to cement your reputation as an expert? Do you want to start a conversation with current customers? Perhaps you want another PR tool. The goal(s) you want to achieve with your blog depend on your business, but the most important thing is to have a goal.
Your strategy will work best if you align your blog's goals with your overall business objectives. A new business would start a blog to generate website traffic. An established business might use its blog to increase authority and market share. Your business blog strategy is part of your overall marketing plan, so you may find it easier to succeed in both if they share a set of common goals.
2. Choose the Right Topics
It's hard to imagine a topic that hasn't yet become the subject of at least blog post. Some of these topics would be perfect for your particular blog. The trick, however, is to focus on the topics that would best help you meet your goals.
The best list of topics has a little bit of everything, including:
- Answers to your customers' most frequently asked questions
- General topics that generate lots of traffic
- Unique topics that no one else is writing about
- Anecdotes and case studies
Look around the web to find out what other bloggers are doing, and write down the topics that most interest you. Above all, make sure your topics are relevant to customers, influencers and other potential audiences.
3. Create a Blog Persona
Do people describe you as friendly and personable, or as a matter-of-fact, no-nonsense businessperson? Do you cut to the chase or fill your discussion with analogies and free verse? Use these assessments to devise a persona for your blog.
Incorporating your business image into your blog keeps your writing on track if your writing style differs from your personal demeanor. Plus, if you decide to hire other bloggers, it gives them an idea of what kind of content to create. Most of all, it creates a more consistent business brand so people have the same experience whether they deal with you online or in person.
4. Develop a Promotional Plan
In a perfect world, you'd post a blog on your website and everyone would flock to it. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world, so your business blog strategy has to focus as much on marketing as it does on content.
Your marketing plan will involve a mix of marketing channels, many of which you already use every day:
- Social media sites
- Search engines
- Other business blogs
- Industry sites
Your initial marketing strategy may include the lowest-hanging fruit, like your Twitter feed and your newsletter subscriber list. As time goes on, though, you'll want to widen your reach. For example, industry publications are perfect places to write guest blogs and link them to your blog. You might also ask key players in your field to make contributions to your blog.
5. Set Benchmarks and Measure Your Efforts
You're creating a blog to meet specific business goals. How will you know you're reaching them? More important, what benchmarks do you need to measure to gauge your success? Answer these questions in your business blog strategy.
If your goal is to raise awareness of your business, you might measure chatter on social media. Higher conversions can be measured with downloads and subscriptions. You don't have to measure everything, just the key metrics that let you know if you're achieving your goals. Also, acquire the right analytics tools to measure these benchmarks.
A blog can transform any enterprise, but only if you know what you're going to do with it. Follow these tips and you'll create a business blog strategy that grows your client's business.