Spend even the briefest amount of time reading up on how to market your business online, and it won’t take long before you’re told all about the benefits of starting a blog.
Countless experts are forever telling us how posting regularly updated content to a blog can work wonders in driving traffic to our websites, increasing brand awareness and customer loyalty,and of course, ramping up those all-important conversion rates.
So it’s no wonder that you’re now thinking of starting one of your own. However, to get the best possible results from your new blog, it pays to have a clear idea of how you’re going to approach it, and what you’ll do to ensure the long term success of your blog.
To help you do that, here’s four questions you may want to ask yourself before you start.
Who are your audience?
Though understanding your audience may seem pretty obvious to some, there are still lots of blog owners who dive straight into the process of creating content without really understanding who they’re creating it for.
Knowing your audience will help dictate not only the subjects you’ll be blogging about, but the style, tone and format too. If you’re aiming for a younger audience for example, you may be best served by posts that are high on bright, vivid imagery and low on complicated turns-of-phrase.
Approaching a more academically-focussed group? You’ll probably be looking at lengthier, more in depth pieces backed up by stats and figures.
What will you write about?
Now that you know who you’re writing for, you can start to give some serious thought about the actual subjects you’ll cover. If you have an existing customer base already, you could do worse than send out a quick email or social media post asking those customers about the kind of things they’d like to see covered on your blog.
Remember that the best content is that which adds genuine value to the lives of your readers. If you’re using a blog to promote a restaurant for example, you could give away recipes so that customers can enjoy the same delicious food at home as they would when they come to visit you. If you’re selling sporting goods, why not provide health and fitness tips?
Which platform will you use?
From basic services like Google’s blogger, to all-powerful platforms like WordPress which can be installed at the click of a button with most top web hosting companies, there’s a wealth of different blogging tools available. For a more professional approach, we do recommend something like WordPress, or perhaps a similar CMS such as Joomla, as these give you greater control over everything from the way you publish your content to the way your brand is presented. You could always opt for a website builder which includes hosting and offers 1000’s of different templates and SEO features.
How often will you publish?
This is where it pays to think realistically. Sure, the idea of posting new content every single day is great in theory, but if you’re a small business with only a few staff on board, are you really going to have the time to create all that new content on top of running all the other aspects of your business?
You may find a better approach is to post just a few times a week. Perhaps even stick a regular schedule, such as adding new content on Mondays and Fridays for example, so that readers get used to knowing when there’s likely to be something new for them to check out.
How will you promote it?
Just because you’re creating awesome content on a regular basis, that’s no guarantee that anybody is going to read it, especially if they don’t know it’s there in the first place. To get the best results from your new blog then, you’re going to have to go out and actively promote it, to share your content and encourage your readers to do the same.
Tools like email newsletters with links to your recent posts and social media accounts can be an effective way to promote your content and start enjoying all those benefits of blogging that everybody keeps telling you about.