So you want to start blogging for your business. Great! But before you do, you should have these 4 ducks in a row.
1. You have a target market. If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach with your services or products, then you’ve got more urgent things to take care of than starting a business blog. It’s okay if your target market changes over time, or is diverse, but you must know who your business is for. And if the answer is “everyone,” you, again, have more urgent things to take care of than a business blog.
2. You know why you’re blogging. More than one small business owner has told me that they need a blog for their business because they’re “supposed to have one.” And that’s as far as their motivation goes. In both the personal and business sphere, blogs are all the rage, and since every successful business seems to have one, it’s easy to automatically assume that you should have one too.
True, starting a blog can give you an impressive return on investment, but if you don’t know why you’re doing it, you won’t see results. The big reasons to blog in business are:
a) To establish credibility and thought leadership in your field
b) Build a relationship with your target market
c) Improve your website’s SEO
d) Bring potential clients to your website via search results.
3. You have a plan. This ties directly into knowing why you’re blogging. Unfortunately, creating a page on your business’s website titled “Blog,” and then throwing whatever you want into the entries won’t get you results. Once you figure out what it is you want to gain from your blog, you need to figure out how you’re going to achieve that goal.
What relevant topics appeal most to your target market? How often can and should you post? How will you get your target market to notice your blog? How will you stand out from all of the other business blogs in your niche?
4. You take it seriously. Repeat after me: Your business blog is not a personal blog. That doesn’t mean that you have to be some super serious business robot—you should inject personality into your blog and have some fun with it. But unless what you’re selling is your personality, your business blog should not be all about you, or a place to write about whatever you like, whenever you get the itch to. Blogging is part of business, and business is about providing value to your customers.
I’m sure you’ve seen countless local business blogs with five entries, and then nothing since August of last year. Think about the impression you get from dead blogs. Or even worse, blogs with poor writing. If your business blog is supposed to establish you as an expert in your field, and connect with your audience, what does a poorly written, dead blog say about you?
If you’re willing to invest either the time to maintain a quality business blog, or the money to spend on a good content writer, then blogging can be a wonderful way to catch the attention of the people you’re trying to help, and to gain their trust.