Starting a Business Blog: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Do
Why a business blog?
Blogs give your business the opportunity to speak to the market directly; in your own voice, on your own terms. More importantly, blogs give the market a chance to talk back and to share the conversation.
It’s an ideal way for business entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, speakers, authors and other professionals to establish their credibility and expertise. Since your readers can post comments, you create a conversation with your audience and build rapport and trust as a result. Sold yet?
Before writing your first post, here’s some things you want to ask yourself:
1. What is the purpose of your blog?
Examine the reasons why you want to publish a blog. Is it for building relationships, capturing leads, showcasing your service or product or educating your readers? Having a clear goal in mind will make your task of creating your content strategy much easier.
2. Who is your ideal reader?
Who are you writing to? For most businesses, the ideal reader is similar to their ideal client. It’s important to know your audience so you can meet their needs and address their concerns, challenges and what they’re looking for to improve their lives.
3. What do you want your readers to do when they read your blog?
This relates to the goals you set for your blog. If your blog is a lead generator, then you must have very clear steps for guiding your reader to subscribe to get blog updates and/or get your lead generating content.
4. How much time do you have to devote to your blog each week?
If you can’t commit to writing a lot of valuable content, then you’re doing yourself and your readers a disservice. Be honest. The most effective and successful blogs are those with fresh, new content posted at least two to three times per week. Remember, there are many, many ways to create content. It doesn’t have to be all you all the time. And it doesn’t have to always be text. It can be video and audio as well.
5. What’s your blog’s core message?
This relates to the topic of your blog and the niche you are focused on. What do you want your readers to learn? Why should anyone read your blog, and more importantly why should they subscribe to and follow your blog? This is another key piece to get in place before you start your blog.
All of these questions relate to content. The look of your blog, the “branding”, the platform choice, syndication, optimization etc. also influences your blog’s success. But it begins with content. Make it fresh, make it valuable and keep it real.
Acknowledgement: One of my go-to people for blogging is Denise Wakeman. She specializes in Business blogging and is another example of a social media mentor who is extremely generous with advice. She is one of the presenters at Blogging Success Seminar 2011. Much of the above content is inspired by her blog post: Top 10 Easy Steps to Starting a Business Blog.
What’s the biggest obstacle for starting your blog?
Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus Specialist and Social Media Strategist helping small businesses establish their brands and build their communities on the social web.
A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus.
His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social".
Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.