Does your blog need a strategy? Yes! I write blogs for businesses, but whether you have a business blog or a personal blog, it needs a strategy.
I come from a marketing background and have worked for full-service agencies for my entire 20-year career. I’ve worked with businesses on a complete range of communications, from feature articles in trade publications to LinkedIn profile management, from entire suites of marketing materials to direct e-mail or postal campaigns. Working across so many channels it’s vital to have a coherent communications strategy that ties everything together. Messages need to be tailored to each channel, but all channels need to be portraying the same consistent company image. The same theory applies to blogging.
Consistency is key
Business blogs need an overriding strategy to ensure the messaging throughout remains consistent and on target. That’s not to say all blog posts are saying the same thing, but while they all need to work by themselves as standalone entries, they also need to work as a series, for visitors who land on your blog, like what they see and want to find out more.
Here are some of my top tips for creating a strategy for your blog:
- What are your key messages? What are the key points you would like to get across to readers that land on your blog? Of course, each blog will be on a slightly different topic, but there should be an overriding message through them all. For example, do you want them to know that you’re a creative, reliable marketing agency? Or a professional but friendly yoga studio? When you think about your key messages, think about what makes you different.
- Who are you talking to? The next thing to consider is who your blog is aimed at. No blog post, or any other piece of writing for that matter, will appeal to everyone because all readers will have their own preconceptions, their own views and their own ideas. However, if you are trying to sell a home improvement product for example, you know your blog needs to be aimed at homeowners and depending on the product, possibly homeowners with a certain level of disposable income. You will always deal with people outside of this core, but when it comes to writing your business blog, it’s useful to imagine you are writing for your average or ideal customer.
- Plan, plan, plan! You may or may not be a planner by nature, but when it comes to blogging, as with any other communications medium, it’s important to plan out your content. If you have plenty to say you might think it’s easy enough to simply sit down and write. However, consider how balanced your content will be. A good blog for example should have a mix of more personal posts focussing on the people in your organisation, or behind the scenes messages, and posts on your products or service. It’s also good to mix these messages up to keep things interesting. The risk with simply sitting down and writing is that you’ll end up front loading your blog with product information and no personality, or perhaps the opposite, depending on where your comfort zone lies. A simple list of content ideas set out in a month by month plan, is a great way to ensure a balanced business blog.
- Measure Once you have set your blog strategy and you’re happily following your planned schedule like a well-oiled machine, don’t relax too much. Once the content is rolling out, be sure to measure its success. Are some posts getting a lot more views or engagement than others? If so, is it possible to add in any more of the posts people like? Whether you do it via stats or talking to your readers on a regular basis, stay in touch with what your target blog audience want to see on your blog. After all, its them you should be writing for, not yourself.
- Keep an eye on the competition I’ve put this one at the end because I’m a big believer you should always focus your efforts inwards. I have seen first-hand the difference between companies that are focussed on the competition and companies that are focussed on providing the best customer experience. The latter are often more respected in their industries and have more loyal customers. However, there is nothing wrong with keeping an eye on your competitors to see what they are up to and what they’re talking about. Perhaps they are raising an issue you should be involved with, or perhaps they have taken an angle on a subject that you need to take issue with. Either way, it’s another important way of staying on top of current issues to feed into your overall blogging strategy.
Business blogs with a clear strategy not only run more smoothly, but also achieve better results. Do you already have a blogging strategy in place and if so, how closely do you stick to it blog by blog? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And of course, if you don’t yet have a strategy and would like some help, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org