If your business doesn’t have a blog, then it’s missing out on numerous benefits. First, a blog can help drive quality traffic to your website. Second, it gives your company the chance to enhance brand awareness and extend market reach where customers, prospects and partners can come to find valuable information as well as learn and connect with your company’s thought leaders. And last, but certainly not least, it’s going to help foster relationships with your audience.
Creating a solid blog foundation
Wondering where to start when it comes to creating a blog? It’s best to establish some key objectives. What are you hoping to accomplish with your blog? Maybe you’re interested in positioning your company and its spokespeople as thought leaders on specific topics or industries? Or you’re looking to drive engagement with your key audiences to help foster trust and a sense of community that helps your company gain influence? Whatever your blog’s objectives might be, it’s important to take the time to determine these upfront so that you can begin creating and reusing content that is in alignment with them and delivers value.
Nailing your content strategy
Next, you’ll want to determine your blog’s content strategy. You’ll need to think about what content is needed to populate the blog. Will you create net-new pieces just for the blog? Will your content strategy be based on leveraging existing content that you can reuse for blog posts? Or will your blog content be a combination of new and existing material? One thing to keep in mind: Your blog shouldn’t be based simply on discussion of your business and its products and services. Think about how your audience is proactively searching for content (most are probably wanting to learn about specific topics or challenges) and create content (including keywords) that will show up in those searches. By doing this, you can actually attract more targeted traffic and visitors to your site.
You will also want to think about what types of content to use for blog posts. We’ve found thought leadership or education-based content such as tip lists and how-to pieces are very popular entries, as are multimedia posts that include videos, infographics and podcasts.
In addition, how frequent are you planning to post? A good best practice is at a minimum of at least four times a month. This keeps content fresh, and hopefully, your audience engaged and coming back. One way to stay organized is by creating a content calendar that houses content ideas as well as what’s currently in process laid out across the calendar year.
Putting processes in place
It’s also important to think through the necessary processes that make up the nuts and bolts of your blog. By evaluating these areas, you’ll be well on your way to creating an effective and efficient blog. Before launching a blog, first you need to:
- Establish roles and responsibilities. Who is managing the blog and uploading the content? Who is handling the creation of content? Will you use guest bloggers? If so, what does that process look like?
- Determine where your blog will live. Where is the blog going to be hosted – on your website or through a 3rd party? Find out the pros and cons for both and base your decision on your particular needs.
- Set goals and metrics to measure. How do you want to measure the success of your blog? What metrics matter most? How will you monitor and track metrics?
- Decide on reporting needs. Do you need to track blog metrics by month and/or quarter? Who needs to be regularly updated on blog performance? What format does it need to be reported on?
A thoughtful approach to these key areas will get you on the path to success.
The go live!
Finally, think through how you’ll launch your blog – both internally and externally. For the internal launch, getting your employees involved from the beginning can serve dual purposes. First, the blog will benefit early on from your employees’ involvement with getting the word out and helping establish a strong following (e.g. number of subscribers) by sharing it with their customers and prospects and promoting it across their personal social channels. And second, your employees benefit as the blog and its content is a great resource they can share to help position themselves as thought leaders on topics relevant to their customers and prospects.
Externally, it’s a good best practice to launch your blog with multiple entries. This way, there is additional content your audience can peruse while exploring your blog. You can also leverage your social channels to promote the blog by creating special hero or cover images and of course, by promoting the blog and its content through social posts.
Consistency is key
Be sure to feed your blog on a consistent basis, i.e. posts should go up weekly. A blog with old content appears stale and unused. Uploading fresh, valuable content frequently means over time you’ll start attracting a solid flow of quality traffic.
A blog can be a vital marketing tactic that can deliver many, many benefits. And while it may seem like hard work to get off the ground, if you commit to building a solid foundation by going through the key steps mentioned above, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful information destination that benefits your business, employees and the audiences you’re trying to reach.
Need help with creating or maintaining a blog? Contact us for more info.
Author: Suzy Smith, VP and Social Media Practice Leader for Outlook Marketing Services
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