Blogging for your business may be the wrong way to put it. The term that will put you in the right mindset for what you are about to do is publishing.
Becoming a publisher encompasses the entire activity of blogging strategy that you need to help your business attract qualified customers.
Yes, there is (or should be) a strategy behind blogging for business purposes. A strategy implies and enforces a purpose to the act. With a reason to blog, you are more likely to follow through on your plan.
Read through these steps to developing a blogging strategy for your small business.
Determine Your Target Audience
Who are you writing for? From the beginning, you need to figure out who you expect to read your blog and write content specifically for them. General content will not generate quality leads with a high probability of converting to customers. To decide who you are writing for, visit your buyer persona or your idea of an ideal customer.
First and foremost, you solve a problem for your ideal customer. Your ideal customer is the embodiment of someone who needs the products or services you provide; they just may not know it yet. Blogging gives you a way to reach out to these people to educate them on defining their problems and showing them how you can solve them.
The profile of your ideal customer also tells you:
- The industry, or industries, to write about
- The types of business your customers are in
- The level of education and management of your target audience
- Demographics such as age range and location
When you put together your buyer persona, you are providing yourself with someone to write to rather than attempting to write to a broad audience. You are reaching out to those most likely to need your offerings.
Keywords are the terms people put in the search box to find businesses like yours. A keyword can be a single term or an entire phrase. What words do you think people use to find your solution to their problems?
Think about the ideas and topics that appeal to your buyer persona or ideal customer. Brainstorming these topics will uncover some likely keywords. Select five to ten keywords you already rank for and use each keyword as the basis for a blog topic or post.
Develop an Editorial Calendar
Here is where thinking of yourself as a publisher will help the most. Publishers, especially those of magazines and other periodicals, need to plan out for the next several weeks or months the articles they want to post.
You need to do the same. Blogging requires planning ahead for several reasons:
- Some topics apply to particular seasons, events, or dates
- You want to be strategic about the blogs you write; maybe you want to produce a series of posts about a larger topic
- You need time to research, draft, and refine the post
- You want to take advantage of upcoming trends
- You need to set a budget
Blogging works best when it is done consistently. Weekly posts, posted on the same day each week, are an effective frequency as you begin. Readers know when to expect your next outpouring of wisdom, and you build an audience.
Why are you blogging?
- Drive traffic to your website or physical location
- Increase sales
- Generate leads
- Educate your target audience
- Brand building
Select two or three of these objectives, or others you think of, and optimize your blog posts to achieve your objectives.
Promote your blog posts on social media. Develop a brief explanation of your post and provide a link back to your blog. Use the social networks your ideal customer uses. Send notes to people who influence your ideal customer and ask them to promote your posts on their websites or social media. Email the posts to colleagues and customers.
Create a monthly newsletter with links back to your blog posts. Ask others you have a relationship with the retweet your post.
Then keep the blogs coming. Go back to old posts and refresh them with new information. Create several blog posts from a longer piece of content. Mix it up. Just be sure each post aims toward one of your objectives.
Finally, measure the traffic you receive from each blog. Track social media shares and comments to find out what works and what doesn’t. Create more of what works.
If you approach blogging strategically, you are more likely to commit to maintaining the blog. In fact, having a roster of ideas and research may make you anxious to write the next post.
Now, get out there and publish.
About the Author
Thank you to Nicole Letendre for this guest post. Letendre is the marketing coordinator for Bonafide, a digital marketing agency in Houston, Texas. She loves writing, social media and keeping up with the latest marketing trends.