By Kyra Kuik
I know I’m not the only one guilty of being a serial-blog abandoner. I’d ask for a show of hands, but I wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone who is currently reading. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve had a great idea for a blog, gotten it started, written some content, and then. And then my attention has been pulled in a different direction and I’ve deserted the poor bare-bones blog. I think it’s a pretty common phenomenon for those of us finding our place in this still-new online world.
It takes time to find our voices and to figure out how we want to communicate with others. That’s okay.
The thing is, though personal blogging and business blogging share the term “blogging,” there’s not a whole lot of similarity between the two. Personal blogging is predicated on finding your personality and figuring out how to package it. Business blogging, on the other hand, isn’t about personality; it’s about brand strategy. At its heart, business blogging is about growing your brand so that you become more profitable. Business blogging is not for fun. Let’s take a closer look on why blogging for your business is important and how your approach to it should differ from personal blogging.
It’s Imperative to Be Online:
This is perhaps the only area in which personal and business blogging share a commonality. That is, in our personal lives, it’s become increasingly impossible to engage with our friends and family if we’re not online. Social media and email have eclipsed our traditional means of communication—letter writing and phone calls—as our methods for staying in contact with the people we interact with on a daily basis.
If you’re not active online, it’s likely that you’re missing out on a plethora of social interactions. This idea is also at the root of why business blogging is so vital to having a successful business. Your customers, your clients, and your potential contacts are all online. It’s imperative that you bring your business to them.
Having a strong online presence is about being visible. It’s your opportunity to establish yourself as someone who has some clout in your field. Furthermore, it will allow you to be part of a community, which can be invaluable if you’re working from home. The larger you can grow your network, the more likely you are to connect with your clients and customers. If you haven’t already established a strong online presence, start now. Here’s a guide to business blogging that can help you get started.
Understand Your Market Niche:
This is where the worlds of personal blogging and business blogging begin to diverge. While in personal blogging, you are free to write about things that capture your attention—one day that could be a DIY project while the next it could be a political debate or a restaurant review—in business blogging, it’s vitally important that you concentrate on producing content that fits into your market niche, since your goal is to position yourself as an authority in your field.
How do you determine your niche?
- Research: Spend time researching specifically what it is that others in your market are writing about. What are other blogs in your market doing? Are they doing it successfully? Are they leaving important areas unaddressed? What has been covered fully, and, more importantly, what is being overlooked? Find the holes in content and develop strategies to fill them in.
- Establish Your Blog’s Goals: Next, you’ll need to spend time developing what the goals are for your blog. Think about your brand strategy and determine how your blog can help convey those strategies to your readers. When you understand what these goals are, you’ll be able to begin building your blog’s platform in order to meet them.
You Need to Determine Your Audience:
Next, you’ll need to determine who the audience for your blog will be. This is important because until you know who your audience is, it will be difficult to determine what kind of content will be relevant to their needs. In the world of business blogging, you can’t afford to just sit back and wait for readers to come to you, nor just take any old reader that happens along, like you can in personal blogging.
You need to target a specific audience that will ultimately help to grow your bottom-line. The good news is that this is probably a bit simpler than it seems. Why? Because determining your audience is as simple as researching your existing customer base.
- Poll a sample of your customers. What are their demographics (education, age, employment, gender, etc.)? What are they influenced by (television, friends, family, the internet, etc.)?
- Research whether or not others in your market niche—namely, your competitors—have already done studies of their own customer base
- Go to events where you’re most likely to be in contact with your audience and talk to them directly. Find out what they’re looking for in companies like your own.
- Solicit feedback from your existing readers. What do they understand about your field? What do they need to learn?
Understand Your Audience and Address Their Needs:
Once you’ve determined who your audience is, you can begin developing a strategies that will help you meet their needs. To begin doing this, you need to first understand why people are visiting your site. Integrating an analytics tool like Google Analytics into your blog is key for determining this.
Once you’ve set up analytics, you’ll be able to see what people are inputting into their search engines that is driving them to your site. This data represents the questions that your audience has. How does the content you have on your blog address the questions that your readers have? What keywords are they using? Do you have content that uses those keywords? Could it be better? By determining where the gaps are in what readers are looking for and the content on your page, you’ll have an understanding of what kind of content you can produce for your blog to fulfill the consumer need.
Finally, it’s time to formulate a content strategy plan. How are you going to present your content to your readers? Work on developing a mix of strategies that will keep your readers engaged with your blog.
Instead of just posting about your own company, try mixing in posts about other news within your industry, infographics, videos, how-to’s, and interviews with industry professionals. Remember, your goal is to position yourself as a leader in your field, which means you want to cover your industry as thoroughly as possible. Work at developing content that doesn’t simply function to promote your company, but instead informs and educates your reader.
At the end of the day, developing a successful business blog won’t be easy. It will take some hard work and a lot of determination, but if you implement your blog successfully, it will have a significant impact on your revenue stream. It’s worth it.
Kyra Kuik is a twenty something writer and blogger who works for a creative internet marketing company in Seattle, WA. You can connect with Kyra via Twitter.