Blogging is an effective marketing and PR tool for businesses, but how do you start? Here we explain a useful process for planning a blog, whether you plan to write your first ever blog or would like some advice on how to go about setting up a blog, this article is for you.
It will help you become more organised, streamline your approach to blogging, find a suitable platform, brand your blog and attract your target audience and rein in quality leads.
Why should you create a blog? Follow the link if you need convincing.
What is the FOCUS of your BLOG?
Consider who you are writing for?
What information do they need?
What is the aim of the blog? For example: Differentiate your product/service, information, remind people you are here or persuade/influence people.
Top tip: Focus on influencing the reader in a positive way, helping them move closer to their goals whilst selling a solution. A good balance is 80% help, 20% sales. Believe it or not, the best solution for your reader may not even be your product/service.
The point is not to mislead or persuade reader to purchase your product but present the FACTS so they can decide for themselves. This builds TRUST and demonstrates your company’s HONESTY and INTEGRITY whilst making your OFFER more APPEALING.
There is often more to the purchase decision than price, consider what you exactly offer versus your competition. What are your unique selling points? Portraying your product correctly is likely to ATTRACT MORE of the RIGHT TYPE OF LEADS saving you time.
Stuck for content?
Do some RESEARCH. Check out articles in magazines and read other blogs that your target client reads. OBSERVE the type of content they share, post or retweet.
Consider what would trigger an EMOTIONAL RESPONSE – positive or negative, without being overly controversial or causing upset.
Pick a PLATFORM for your BLOG
Obviously, you will need to host your blog somewhere online and that involves either having a website with a built-in blog. Wordpress is a great platform for blogs with free hosting options and a range of blogging plug-ins.
The structure of the blog navigation works excellently with search engines for optimum results and page rank, also allows you to remain consistent with your blogging, assign tags, meta data and image alt tags with ease.
Blog can be hosted by Wordpress or self-hosted with your own domain i.e. www.cleargoalmarketing.co.uk. The free options do not allow for much control and upgrading is advisable once you become established and committed to your blog.
No website? Why not use Linked-in to develop your blogs and articles? Be conscious that your content is hosted on another platform and you will have less control. Guest posting is worth considering where you write blogs for other sites in your sector and use their audience to piggyback authority. Why not suggest a topic that is current and newsworthy and include a backlink to your website or linked-in profile.
BRANDING you BLOG
If you have a logo use this to develop a suitable colour pallet for your branding. Choose a suitable theme that represents your branding. Ensure you use a professional designer or marketing agency to develop your logo, branding design as perception is key when building online and offline credibility. Perception is said to play up to 90% of the decision-making process. Be honest with yourself if your brand represents you in a positive light and why not ask for feedback from clients, associates and employees.
Planning your CONTENT
Develop an audience profile or customer AVATAR so you know exactly who you are addressing in your blog. Conduct research into the common questions they ask and general misunderstandings about your product or service.
What topics does your target audience care about?
What has experience to date taught you about the reservations your customers/clients have when purchasing your product or service?
Make a list of possible blog topics and provide perfect answers the questions.
Develop a catchy title for your blog that is good for search engines (keywords) and captures curiosity to get those all-important clicks or visits to your blog. Use askthepublic.com to search for common questions asked in relation to your topics. “How to X”, “What is the difference between Y and Z?”, “comparison of X and Z” are great to use and will future-proof your blogs with the growing popularity of voice technology.
If you produce 10 blogs on sector and product related themes focusing on helping clients make decisions, then you will have the most useful blog in your market and will reap the rewards.
Use categories to organise your blogs and develop broad main topics that your target audience is interested in and link from one blog to another to develop your fan base and gain subscribers.
Nothing to Write About?
Are you suffering from the dreaded Writer's Block Syndrome? Struggling to make a start, find something to write about...starring at a blank piece of paper? It is very annoying.
Make yourself a cup of tea and while you drink it why not check out our blog on How to Avoid Writers Block Syndrome, I can't find anything to blog about or make a start issues.
Finding blogging ONE BIG TIME DRAIN or struggle?
If you find you are really stuck, that blogging is taking up far too much time, or you are simply not enjoying it then you could look to outsource. Before you do that, consider other employees who can take part in the blogging process, you may have an avid writer in the mists!
Consider the areas in your business where you can collect information, i.e. technical department, customer services or management team. Use a marketing or PR agency to pull together your blogs for you. A list of blog titles, themes, topic areas and company contacts are all a good blogger will need to create your blogs.
If you have read this far, thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We hope that you have lots of fun blogging! Should you need further advice on blogging why not get in-touch, we would be happy to help you. We offer monthly packages that help to busy business owners and marketing departments free up their time. Cleargoalmarketing.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
Need some advice on planning your social media? Why not download our free guide?