Starting a blog for your business takes a slightly different approach than starting a personal blog. Your business blog can be a marketing vehicle, but rather than a constant sales pitch, it should be a source of credible information for your customers. Done right, it can showcase your brand and increase customer engagement.
Establish Your Goals
Before you start blogging, establish your goals. What is it you hope to accomplish? Some common goals include:
- Increasing sales
- Increasing customer engagement
- Building your email list
- Distinguishing your company from the competition
Simply having goals isn’t enough. Use the SMART goal approach to make sure you’re setting achievable targets.
- S: Specific. Keep goals simple and significant. What do you want to accomplish? Why it is important? Who is involved? Where is it located? Which resources are involved?
- M: Measurable. Choose something you can measure to determine how well you were able to reach the goal. For instance, “Increase visitor engagement by X%. Answer: how much? How many? How will I know when I’ve accomplished the goal?
- A: Achievable. Ask yourself: How can I accomplish this goal? How realistic is my goal based on other constraints like time and money?
- R: Relevant. Make sure the goal aligns with your other goals. If so, you should be able to answer “yes” to questions like, “Is this the right time? Am I the right person to reach the goal? Does this goal match our needs and efforts?”
- T: Time Bound. This is meant to help you ensure that your daily tasks don’t take precedence over your long term goals. It should answer questions like: When? What can I do today? A month from now? Six months from now? For example, if you want to increase visitor engagement by X%, you want to add the time factor, as relevant by your percentage increase and the time you expect to take to get there.
Define Your Purpose
Obviously, you want to use your blog to build your customer base and create a deeper relationship with your current customer base. You’ll want to answer questions such as:
- What makes this information special to my audience?
- Why should people visit this blog?
Your main purpose, above all else – should be creating value for your readers. Once you have created that value, the money will follow.
Readers want to know what you think about trends in your industry. Make your blog posts personal and relevant. For instance, if you run a blog for your pet boarding business, talk about things like how you care for the pets, what pet owners can do to ease anxiety about leaving their pets for a few days, and activities owners can do to keep their pets busy, happy, and healthy.
Speak directly to your readers, and invite them to connect with you through social media and blog comments. If readers comment, take the time to reply and thank them for their input to the conversation.
Determine How Often You Want to Publish
Consistency is key. You’ll be setting your reader expectations, so you want to commit to a reasonable schedule. Blogging once a week is okay, if that’s all you can find the time for. But setting out and promising three posts a week and then only delivering one is not good for your readership. Think about how much time you have to dedicate each week to creating that valuable content, and how many blog posts you can write (or assign to writers) without spreading yourself too thin and neglecting other important business tasks.
If posting five times a week means there’s less quality and value in your posts compared to posting three times, or even once a week – opt to publish once a week. Value is more important. Readers will ignore fluff. In other words, don’t just blog to churn out content thinking it will help you in the end.
Think About What Your Customers Want to Know
This will help you start to develop an editorial calendar, so you can know ahead of time the content you want to write and when you want it to publish. Think about some of the most frequently asked questions you get from your customers, and develop your blog content around answering them. Think about ways you can give your readers a behind the scenes look at things going on in your company. Have a new product or service launching soon? Create blog content that teases them and lets them know what to expect.
Look to people within your company to help create the blog content. Your CEO is a great place to start, as it helps humanize the company. If there isn’t anyone who feels comfortable enough to produce the content, turn to ghostwriters to develop the content for you. With your goals and purpose in mind, you’ll also want to set any guidelines for the tone and policies for content.
It’s okay to have a single author blog, but it’s also okay to have a multi-author blog. What you choose depends largely on the available resources and your business blogging goals.
Develop Your Branding
What readers perceive is everything. Pay special attention to everything from your blog design, to your choice of colors, and style. Use your existing branding as a starting point to create a cohesiveness between your company brand and the blog. Make your blog as user-friendly as possible. Include a search box to make it easier for them to find the content they’re looking for. Make sure the layout makes it easy to read content, and everything is categorized for easy browsing.
Business blogging isn’t something you can start overnight, but with the right planning and execution, it can help increase your exposure, establish credibility and trust, and help you position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.