You know your business needs a blog. Still, knowing and doing aren't the same thing!
Before you jump on the business blogging bandwagon, there are a few things to consider. Take some time to plan your business blog before you start and you'll save time, money, and headaches later.
The Truth About Blogging
If you're serious about creating an effective, valuable business blog, the first thing you need to do is accept it as a long-term commitment. Where a consistent, well-written blog says many things, an abandoned blog only says "unreliable."
Next, realign your thinking so you see your business blog as a relationship builder, and not as a customer converter. Your blog is a place to show off your expertise and to make yourself indispensable to your customers.
Great business blogs aren't about generating immediate sales with every post. Truly powerful, effective business blogs are about building trust, prestige, relationships, and loyalty.
Why have a blogging plan?
Blogging has the potential to be a bottomless time-sink. Spend a few hours now to think about the process and make a few critical decisions, and you'll save later in time, money, and your sanity. Planning helps keep your efforts focused and your investments minimal. You'll also be more likely to stick with the process and to see better results in less time.
Most importantly, a blogging plan prevents your blog from being a running advertisement that's just shouting to an empty room. You'll learn what to do now and later to make sure your efforts aren't in vain.
Steps in the Blog Planning Process
1. Defining Your Blog - What's your blog about? What is it called? Before you answer these questions, spend some time thinking about your blog's audience, purpose, and ultimate goals.
2. Your Editor's Schedule - Clearly define a writing and posting schedule to prevent an inconsistent or dwindling posting frequency. Don't forget to keep a few back-up posts waiting in the wings!
3. Marketing Your Blog - To truly maximize your blogging efforts make sure you're well represented in the social media world and the rest of the blogosphere. Now is the time to think about guest blogging, networking, and regular commenting.
4. Set Realistic Goals - How will you measure your progress? Challenge yourself with "When I get ..." promises, as in "When I get 100 blog followers, I'll hold a contest!" This is an easy way to keep yourself and your audience engaged and motivated.
5. Define Your Policies - Will you respond to every single blog comment? How will you deal with spam comments, or with negative comments? Will you allow personal opinions to leak through in your posts? Create a thorough set of blog policies to save headaches later.
6. Tracking It All - Maximize your blogging efforts with traffic analysis. Which posts get the most comments? When should you post for maximum reach? Track and analyze your blog traffic and your results will continuously improve.
7. Final Factors - Now that you've got a business blogging plan it's time to make some decisions about blogging platforms, design & layout, sources for content, and professional blogging help.