You’ve read the research about how blogging can help improve your SEO and provide more qualified leads. You know that it’s not just content that’s king – it’s RELEVANT content that’s king. You’ve set up your preferred blogging platform and are ready to write. What happens next can make the experience worthwhile and fruitful or frustrating and pointless. Just how do you start a successful, effective blog?
Your first 24 postsStarting a blog can be intimidating. There’s a flurry of activity to get ready and then a blank screen and blinking cursor. Just how do you get started?
First, set your goals. Why are you writing the blog? What actions are you hoping to elicit? When it comes to writing for a business blog, you should always be writing with a purpose. Beautiful prose and witty phrases may be entertaining but if they don’t engage your audience, they are pointless. Successful blog writing is done with a goal in mind.
Second, learn your audience. What do they need? What connects with them? What inspires them? Remember, you’re not necessarily writing an article that appeals to you – or even your boss – you are writing an article that appeals to your target audience. Your tone, style and content should all be geared towards your audience’s needs and characteristics. Your articles should attract the reader, connect with them, and ideally inspire action. Successful blog writing is done with a specific group of people in mind.
Third, set your content direction. You have goals. You have done some market research, built audience personas and you understand your audience. Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned and begin to set a specific writing plan. Outline how your company’s strengths and services match up with your audience’s interests. Develop a list of keywords that you will be targeting in your posts. Review your sales and marketing calendar to make sure you are leveraging their efforts. Successful blog writing is done with a plan in mind.
Fourth, create an editorial calendar. You now have all the background knowledge you need to begin writing a truly effective, engaging blog. An editorial calendar helps make sure you utilize all of that knowledge. This is when you’ll set topics that address audience needs and leverage your organization’s strengths. The calendar will help you balance your posts and make sure you’re covering all the targets you set in your content direction plan. The calendar will help you organize your time – knowing that you have a post that requires some extra work ahead of time is much better than figuring it out 2 days before it’s supposed to go live. The editorial calendar also helps you communicate your efforts, direction and plans to your internal team. That, in turn, helps them build off your efforts just as you should be building off of theirs. Successful blog writing is done with a calendar to keep things on track and organized.
One more thing… we started this post talking about YOUR first 24 posts. Why 24? We recommend you set up an editorial calendar and direction for the next six months – one blog post a week. This is a very achievable goal for a first-time blog. It helps you stay consistent and active with your writing, without overwhelming your resources. As you get more comfortable and watch your analytics you can determine if your blog should have more or less posts per month.
Two more blog writing tips:
- Schedule blocks of time to write. Writing well takes time (as does the research and planning that should go into it on a regular basis). Schedule time to tackle a few posts at a time. It allows you to refresh your mind between writing sessions and helps you make sure you take everything into account (which can be hard to do if you’re in a hurry).
- Don’t be tied to your plans. Read the news. Stay up-to-date on industry happenings. Talk to your sales team. If an occasion comes up that fits your content direction plan, write about it. Either add an extra post that month or bump a post to the next month.