Blogging can be vital to the success of your marketing. Targeted content cannot only support your business, but it can also reinforce your other marketing efforts.
Learning how to start a blog and write blog articles ensures you will have something to promote on social media. Blogging can position you as a voice of authority with your leads and customers, whilst providing the perfect opportunity for you to organically include those crucial calls-to-action to generate inbound leads.
Before you make excuses as to why you cannot blog, take a breath and believe me when I say that anyone who knows their subject matter well enough can certainly blog about it. In fact, they are the best person for the job! If you are an expert or an authority on a given topic, then this means you are exactly who people want – and often need - to hear from.
If you aren’t blogging at the moment, when people need the information that you currently possess to help them answer a query, how will they find it? If they search the web on that topic your blog needs to be there, positioning you as a specialist in the field.
Okay, so I will bet you are wondering where to begin.
Before you even think about writing, there are a few things you need to know before you start your blog:
5 Things You Should Do Before Starting A Blog
- Define your blog’s purpose
- Identify your audience
- Set Clear, Well Defined Goals
- Include CTAs
- Focus on high quality content
1. Define your blog’s purpose
What is the reason you are starting your blog? Do you want to position yourself as an expert in your field? Do you want to generate more leads or boost traffic to your website? Be clear and specific when you list what you want to achieve with your blog and your blog posts.
2. Identify your audience
Before you begin, ask yourself whom you are writing to. Who is your target audience? What information do you have that they are seeking? What will help them? What do they need? What are they interested in reading about?
Create a buyer persona to help form a clear image of your target audience in your mind. (Often it is helpful to begin with product personas, and then create buyer personas from there). HubSpot offer a fantastic tool for defining your persona, you can find it here.
When you write, be sure to speak directly to your buyer persona as if it were a real entity, remembering to “tell, not sell” - your blog exists to offer some form of benefit to your audience, be it information, guidance or an answer to a query - it is not a sales pitch.
3. Set Clear, Well Defined Goals
Goals are smaller steps used to move towards a larger vision. Consider what you want your blog to help you achieve and take the time to write down these goals.
The SMART acronym offers a simple way for you to write your goals as a statement, describing what you will do in order to achieve your desired outcome/s.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound:S = SPECIFIC: Setting a specific goal ensures a higher success rate than setting a non-specific goal. Ask yourself:
- What do you wish to accomplish?
- When? Set a realistic time frame.
- Where? Identify a location. This can be a digital location, such as “X number of followers on LinkedIn”.
- Why? List the benefits or reasons to achieving this goal.
- Who? Who do you need to work with in order to achieve this outcome?
M = MEASURABLE: When you measure your progress you are more likely to stay on track and stick to your target time frame. Ask yourself:
- How will I measure my progress? For example:
- How many likes?
- What % increase in newsletter sign-ups?
- What % increase in email opt-ins?
- What % increase in web traffic?
- What smaller steps are involved in achieving my goal?
- Is there any skill I need to develop or knowledge I need to attain in order to reach this goal? If yes, what are the steps I need to take to do this?
R = REALISTIC: Be realistic when setting your goals. Often factors that will come into play are outside of our control, such as personal, financial or situational factors that may negatively influence our ability to achieve a set goal. Think about the other commitments you have and be realistic in setting your goals. Ask yourself:
- What will achieving this goal require or cost (do not only consider financial cost, consider the cost of your time and to your physical well-being as well)?
- Is this really achievable given my circumstances?
- What might I need to help me to achieve this goal?
T = TIMEBOUND: You need to put realistic time frames around each step you plan to take toward achieving your goal, and make the commitment to the deadlines you set for yourself. Goals without deadlines are easily brushed aside when life’s unexpected demands arise. Ask yourself:
- How long will each individual step take me to achieve?
- When am I able to begin?
- How much time will I have to allocate to this task?
- How long do I expect achieving this goal (all the steps involved as a whole) to take me?
This can be a simple thing to implement, but it is really effective at keeping you on track for success. If, for example, one of your blog’s goals is to result in a 6% increase in email opt-ins month on month, resulting in a 100% increase over the next year, you may choose to meet a friend for coffee once-a-month and ask your friend to check-in with you and your progress.
4. Include CTAs
Create a call-to-action (CTA) for every action you want your reader to take. Whether it be an email opt-in, a newsletter sign-up, a follow on your social media pages or a click-through to another page you want your reader to view, be clear in what you are asking your reader to do next.
Including clear and direct CTAs will help you to convert your blog readers to subscribers, leads and eventually, customers.
5. Focus on high quality content
If you want your audience to find you, focus on your content. High quality content is important if you want to rank well on Google and other search engines, and it is also imperative that you offer your audience valuable content.
Google before you begin, selecting your topic or a keyword to see what is already available. Don’t create noise- be original and the best! When dealing with content that is information rich, try to break it up in to easy-to-digest sections. Likewise, when you are writing about a topic that is quite technical, try to avoid boring your readers and concentrate on making delivering the information as interesting as you can. You can grab some tips on clever content here and here.
Taking the time to plan and define the purpose of your blog before you begin will ensure your content is both targeted and effective. Starting your blogs by clearly describing each post’s purpose and explaining how it will benefit your audience will give your reader a reason to keep reading and hopefully the benefits of doing so with resonate with them. When you know what direction you want your blog to take, you can begin thinking about the steps you need to take to set your blog up correctly.
In 2019, blogging should be a major factor in every online business’ inbound marketing strategy. We would love to help you to set up your blog if you don’t already have one, or if you’re in the process of setting one up, feel free to have a chat with us if you have any questions that crop up along the way.
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