You’re sold on the concept of blogging for your business. You’ve set up your blog template and now you’re staring at a blank screen. And it’s staring back.
I think this is probably the hardest part about blogging. Most people imagine sitting down to a computer with an empty screen and feel the heady challenge of filling a page with prolific prose – and the added weight of having to do this every other day! It can be daunting, even crippling. But if you start with a plan, that screen will become a canvas on which you can paint freely every time you sit down. To develop a plan for your blog, take a methodical approach to what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it to have the greatest impact.
– Decide what you want to write about and when. Are you going to give tips to your customers that are problem-solving solutions? Do you want to discuss one of the latest trends? Is there something new on the horizon that will position you as a leading resource? Make a list of all the topics you could blog about and then start writing! It can be as simple as commenting on an article or book you’ve read, or sharing a video or quote you’ve come across. Share an anecdote or tell a story about a recent experience. Not every post needs to be an epiphany! Keep the tone light and personal, and limit your word count to 150 to 250 words per post. Here’s another tip: Having some blogs “in the can” will help balance your posts that are based on what might be happening on the immediate horizon.
– Focus on your core interests and then become an expert in them. You want to be the authority and position yourself as such so that your followers continue to come back to you for the answers. Reinforce your value as a reliable, knowledgeable resource.
– Be human. Give yourself a voice and be human. Blogs are not meant to be formal articles or pools of research. They are designed to give helpful information and to get the reader thinking inward about what they’re reading. Pose questions. Engage your customers to think about how they do business. Give them the opportunity to use your ideas in their business.
– Give them something. A blog entry should offer your customers something of value. They are expecting to read your blog and walk away with a new tip, insight, or with something that will give them a leg up on their competition or simply inspire them to be a better person and/or business person.
– Inject authority. It’s OK to give examples and information from others, just make sure you attribute it as such. In fact, share the link to those people’s sites and you could reap the rewards of connecting with their networks as well. Being “connected” with trust leaders, advocates and leaders in the field is just as important as being one yourself.
– Incorporate keywords in your entries. As I mentioned before, a blog rich in relevant keywords and tags is going to give you a higher search engine ranking.
– Invite others to share your ideas. Use your blog as a way to communicate with your customers and potential leads. Allow them to pose questions and comments that you can respond to and create dialog and a community. This will again build a following of like minds, with you as the leader. You can also invite “guest bloggers” to participate in your blog. Ask your vendors, colleagues, and clients to provide posts on their own expertise and you gain the benefit of the association.
– Once you start, don’t stop. Your goal is to build a following of loyal customers and readers. They are going to expect something “wise” from you frequently. If you fall off the wagon, hop back on. There’s nothing worse than a neglected blog. And you will quickly lose your followers to a competitor’s blog that always has new insight.
Words to and for the Wise
Along with the content of your blog, you have the opportunity to make your website more search engine friendly just by keeping a few tips in mind:
– Create a powerful title for your blog that influences readers. Make it interesting, compelling, even a bit controversial so you can grab their interest immediately. Include keywords here as well. It will help with search engine searches.
– When you have a series of thoughts or points, present them as a bulleted list instead of a paragraph or two. This approach increases the readability.
– Add an image, if it’s appropriate and relevant. Don’t always add one but many times an interesting or entertaining image may communicate your message better than words can.
You are the expert.
Blogging allows you to showcase your expertise in your field. It affords you the opportunity to share ideas and resources openly and in an easy-going manner that is simple to read, yet rich with knowledge and insight. Some might say it’s the perfect soft sell because you’re not necessarily pushing a product or service directly. Rather, by building your platform as a credible VAR, you are gently promoting your ideas and your company. And you really will be amazed at how many topics you do have to write about.
A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.
Michelle has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Evanston, Ill.)