Blogs burst into the online marketing scene about ten years ago, and their popularity has continued to grow thanks to easy-to-use platforms like WordPress, Typepad and Blogger. While these platforms make it easy to start a blog, keeping one going takes work, and successfully blogging for businesses and growing readership takes even more work.
An online visitor landing on a blog that hasn’t seen a new post in months is like a real-life visitor walking into a store with no products on the shelves, broken windows and tumbleweeds blowing across the vacant floor. It doesn’t send a good message about your business, and it hurts your reputation and branding.
To avoid this scenario, ask yourself these questions before you start a blog. These pre-work considerations will help you get started on the right foot and develop a solid online marketing plan with your blog as its foundation.
What’s the purpose of your blog?
This essential question will guide the rest of the process. Think about the outcomes you want from your blog and how they relate to your overall business purpose. Will your blog be a visibility platform for your business, a lead generator or a development tool for future programs? Will it be an educational platform or a way to better connect with customers? Deciding exactly what you want to get out of your blog will help you reach those goals.
Who are your ideal readers?
The best online marketing strategies are catered toward very specific audiences. Who is your ideal client? What are their needs and challenges? How will you address them, and how will your blog and business improve their lives?
What do you want blog readers to do?
Every blog you post should have a clear call to action, a motivating line or two that inspires readers to take the next step, whether online or offline. Decide what you want to encourage your readers to do, like signing up for a newsletter, scheduling a free demo or opting into a free quote. Relate every blog you post back to one of these calls to action so that your readers’ experiences don’t stop at the last paragraph.
Outlining these goals and considerations before you ever publish a blog post is the key to creating an effective online marketing strategy. In our next post, we will talk more about the next step, building an editorial calendar. In the meantime, check out our post on why blogging for businesses is one of the best online marketing strategies for small businesses.