Blogging requires a strategy. A strategy of "post an article and they will come" doesn't work. Do you realize how crowded the web is? Of course you do! Whether you're new to blogging, a sporadic blogger, or you're still on the fence about it, here's some tips to help you start developing your blogging strategy:
Design: There are several blogging platforms (WordPress, Tumblr, Blogspot, etc.) and there are differences among the options, so take a look and decide which is right for you. If you're going to choose one of the free themes offered with your chosen platform, please please please do not use the theme as-is. Nothing says "newbie" or "not serious" more than using a standard template theme. Make it your own by using the options available with your template, such as:
- custom color schemes
- sidebar alternatives
- custom backgrounds.
Add your social media follow buttons, and make sure people can easily share each post. There are options that make this pretty simple, so do a bit of research on sharing toolbars if you need to. Remember, visual appeal always makes the first impression!
Purpose: Decide what you want your blog to do. If you're blogging for business, I'm thinking your blog's purpose will be to:
- drive traffic to your company website
- engage in dialogue with your audience
- offer a platform for you to promote your services.
Am I guessing right? Ok, so if you need to build traffic to your site, you have to creatively divert a reader's attention from other sites to yours. Which means you have to go find your audience, and entice them with dynamic content that will draw them in. Remember a couple posts back when I said Define Your Target and Decide Where to Market? The same concept applies here: find out where your audience gets their content. Research your competitors' and industry leaders' sites. What do you like about them? Is it their layout and design? The content? How often do they post? What platform are they using? You may notice similar characteristics among these blogs, good or bad. At least you'll get hints about what to do or not do.
Function: Get creative with the functionality of your blog. You can use your blog to
- communicate your expertise, events, awards, affiliations
- encourage your employees to post relevant articles
- encourage your clients to leave comments and provide feedback
- take polls and run contests and tie them into your Facebook fanpage.
Make subtle design updates, and rotate highlights to keep people interested and engaged. Remember, people can subscribe to receive your posts, and if you keep the layout the same there's no reason to explore the full blog site. Plan to make design updates and you'll keep an attentive audience. The possibilities are endless!
Share: You've done all this work putting together a fantastic blog and it's time to share it with the world.
- Add your blog address to your email signature.
- Add it to all your social media profiles.
- Explore blog syndication to help drive traffic.
When it comes to sharing specific posts, you have to share often. You can't expect to tweet out your new post once and get traffic. The same goes for Facebook. You have to continue to share your post for maximum visibility; you already know how quickly we skim through our timelines and news feed. Don't take for granted we saw your single tweet about a new post. Just don't get too excited and re-post too often. Talk about your articles and use different verbiage as you share them so we don't see the same intro for it each time. Keep it fresh and interesting. Post your articles regularly on your profiles and engage your followers in the topic; they'll be more apt to reading and sharing your blog.
Simply put, blogging is more than posting articles. If you're reading this post, you found it because of the strategy I chose about my blog and my business. Blogging is an investment of your time and resources, and should be considered an integral part of your marketing strategy. If you don't commit to it as a strategic investment, your blog may wind up floating along in the cloud and no one will see it...