In a perfect world, every business would periodically publish a blog post and watch results skyrocket. The concept of writing and publishing a blog post sounds simple enough for some, but the truth is that the occasional blog post won’t yield the best results—and in order to be successful while blogging for business, implementing a blog strategy is top priority.
But when you’re struggling to write your first post, how can a business owner possibly focus on a blog strategy?
The good news is that we’ve outlined 8 steps to building a blog strategy for your business. You can apply these steps to nearly any niche, although tweaking may be advised in order to customize your strategy. But if you’re just starting out with blogging for business and need a bit of direction, we’re going to help show you the way.
Step 1: Create Your Company Blog
If you don’t already have a company blog up and running, it’s time to get the process moving. Install WordPress onto your domain (it’s free), and you will instantly have a blog-friendly theme where you can begin posting right away.
If you need an in-depth explanation on how to install WordPress or even register a domain for your business, this helpful blog post teaches you how to set up a hosting account and install WordPress in 20 minutes.
Step 2: Know Your Audience
Perhaps one of the most important elements for your blog strategy is to know your audience—I mean really know your audience. It’s hard to write effective blog content when you don’t know who is reading it.
So, as you’re asking yourself the question ‘who is my audience?’, you can help answer this question with the following points:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What is their income?
- What is their education level?
- What is their typical job title?
- What typical problems do they have that relates to your business?
- What are they looking to learn/find out from my blog or website?
Keep in mind that your audience won’t likely fit into one neat box. There are different phases of the buying journey that every customer goes through, and it’s important to adjust your content so each customer has something to gain from your content.
You’ll want to format your blog strategy to fit the needs of customers who are:
- Aware that they need your product or service but aren’t ready to buy
- Considering your product or service, but they are still weighing options and scoping out the competition
- Looking to buy your product but are in need of validation—they need to be convinced that your product or service is the right fit for their needs
The bottom line is that you don’t want to only center your blog strategy on very basic content or very advanced content. You need balance, so you’ll be able to effectively reach customers who are in different parts of the buying journey.
Step 3: Size Up The Competition
Another smart move to make while you’re building a blog strategy it to scope out your own competition. Check in on competitor websites, and see what they have going on their blog that you can incorporate (i.e.: improve).
You don’t want to steal blog ideas directly, but you can use the opportunity to gather inspiration. Read through competitors’ blog posts and find missing gaps in their content—this can consist of anything from unanswered questions in the comments section, to adding more in-depth information on the topic at hand.
If your competition isn’t blogging at all, you’re already way ahead of the game by incorporating a blog yourself. However, your competition can essentially test pilot topics for you, and you can get an idea of what resonates with customers and what does not.
Step 4: Find Your Unique Angle
This is a very important step to consider when conceptualizing your blog strategy, but it’s one that you don’t want to skip. Content marketing and business blogging is in full swing, and it continues to become increasingly competitive to get your content in front of your customers. In fact, 82% of B2C companies and 95% of B2B companies use content marketing to reach their customers and clients.
In other words, there’s an awful lot of noise online—noise that you’ll need to break through in order to win customers.
This is where you need to do some serious brainstorming and decide what exactly it is that makes your company stand out from the competition. You can use your company blog to put a creative spin on your products and services, or you can use it to stand out by providing in-depth, well-researched content on a regular basis. You can use your blog to tell stories, or you can even add interactive content to your blog such as slideshows or even video.
The good news for you is that a lot of brands still aren’t using blogging (or content marketing) correctly. Seize the opportunity to own your place in your industry, and rise above the sea of mediocre content with a compelling company blog.
Step 5: Blog According To Plan
Remember how I briefly mentioned that winging a blog strategy isn’t the best idea? This is where a blog planner—also known as an editorial calendar—comes to the rescue. The blog planner will help keep you focused and prevent from skipping posts for reasons like not knowing what to write about.
It’s easiest to set your blog planner for 30 days out; that way you can focus on how many days per week that you want to publish blog posts, and you can choose specific days that are easiest for you to sit down and type.
You can easily put together a calendar on apps such as Google Calendar. Schedule slots where you give yourself 30 minutes to 1 hour to write your post, and schedule another slot where you publish your article and promote on social media.
If you want to go all out, you can create categories for focus keywords, pre-written blog titles, meta tags, and more. You can also schedule a theme around certain months and take advantage of seasonal topics, too.
Step 6: Get Noticed
Many business owners are under the impression that once a blog or a website is launched, it will naturally attract traffic—unfortunately, this is not the case. Your blog is like anything else when it comes to gaining traction and customers, and it must be promoted in order to help boost conversions.
For example, imagine that you are a florist who started selling purple tulips. You could create an arrangement for those tulips and display them at your shop, which will probably result in an order or two trickling in.
But imagine how many more purple tulips you would sell if you decided to promote the new flowers on places like Facebook or Instagram. This would help a lot more people become aware of your new inventory, and ultimately bring in new business.
When you’re blogging for business, promotion generally works the same way. You need to help customers become aware of your blog posts by promoting them on social media. You can also mention your blog on your business card, add the link to the signature of your e-mail, and even ask friends to help spread the word.
Step 7: Keep Track & Choose a Goal
If you’re serious about building a blogging strategy for your business, you must be sure that you keep track of your efforts and how they are benefiting your company.
And in order to effectively track your results, you’ll have to decide what goal(s) you are shooting for from your blog. This can be anything from selling a product to gaining new e-mail subscribers—but it’s important to keep in mind that business blogging works as a sales funnel. This means that you might not make a direct sale right away, but it can help you make that sale at another point down the road.
As far as tracking your results, a good first step is to install Google Analytics, where you can get insight into what blog posts are popular and how people are finding your website.
After a couple months, you’ll start to see trends—these trends are where you need to keep your focus. For example, if you get a ton of traffic from Twitter but nothing from Pinterest, it might make a bit more sense to put more time and energy into Twitter and do away with Pinterest. You can always circle back down the road and try a new strategy on other platforms, but sticking to what works will help put you on the fast track to business blogging success.
And aside from traffic, there are other elements you should keep track of on a monthly basis to measure the success of your blog. These measurements include:
- Social shares
- E-mail subscriptions
- eBook downloads
- Video views
- Visitor behavior
- Visitor retention
You can get a good understanding of what these measurements mean from our blog post How to Measure The Success of Your Company Blog.
Step 8: Get Started
Possibly one of the hardest steps of blogging for business is setting up shop and writing your first blog post. It can be intimidating to sit down with a blank screen in front of you—and before you know it, your mind goes blank and you’re completely lost about how you should start your blog.
This is why it’s so important to have a blog strategy in mind as you begin your journey. It’s all too easy to get sidetracked or distracted when you blog, and you can use all the help that you can get to stay on track.
But in order to experience the benefits of business blogging, you need to get started and write your first post. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece (and frankly, it probably will not be). But your first blog post does need to be genuine and provide value in some way—so, choose your first topic carefully and write to your audience as if they are already paying customers.
Your Business Blogging Strategy: What Are You Waiting For?
Getting your blog running and off of the ground can be a confusing and time consuming journey. You might not be able to get away from the time consuming aspect of business blogging, but you can absolutely make the experience less confusing by incorporating a blog strategy.
How is your strategy coming along for your company blog? What setbacks (or success stories) have you experienced?
One strategy that I’ve found helpful for organizing your content is to have a topic list. If you aren’t able to just write a large number of posts around a theme or topic, it might help to brainstorm a list of ideas and then write those posts.
Absolutely, Mike! I’ve often used that technique myself. Sometimes I come up with a lot of topics at once and essentially keep a backlog stored for future use.