This blog is the first of a series that will help you prepare, set up, use and improve your blog for you to use it to grow your business. In this blog we’ll go through the first three steps:
Identify the purpose of your blog
First of all, you probably don't write your blogs just for yourself. It's very important to consider the question of who you're actually writing for. 'My clients' is probably correct, but the answer is not specific enough.
You want your blog to reflect what you stand for, what you want to be remembered for and what you can help your ideal clients with. Not an unorganized collection of information somewhere on the internet.
Identify your readers
In any case, it's clear that your readers are your customers, but as with any marketing activity, we want to focus on your ideal customers. So before we start, let's think about the following:
- What are your ideal customers looking for online?
- Where do they get their information from?
- Are your best customers of a certain age?
- Do they live in a certain area?
- What are they looking for when they buy your products or services?
- Are there any similarities in demographic information between your ideal customers?
The purpose of your blog
Now that we know who your readers are, we can figure out what you want them to get out of reading your blog articles and how that can help you and your business. A blog can be used for many things, but as we mentioned before, the most important functions of your blog to grow your business are:
- appear in search engines
- outperform competitors
- open the dialogue with your audience
- provide useful information
- Gain greater brand awareness
- convert prospects into leads
Search engine optimization
What many people don't realize is that every page is a new opportunity to score on certain keywords. Each additional page devoted to certain keywords scores better and generates much more traffic than an average home page or about our page.
Save yourself a lot of time
I bet you often explain the same things to every new client. What if your blog can do this story for you? Wouldn't that be great?
Find out what knowledge your client needs before you start the collaboration. Not only does it save you a lot of time, but it also helps to get the client instead of someone else doing that, because this client has already got a taste of how you think and work.
What better way to help your prospects and customers than by sharing your knowledge? Demonstrate your expertise by explaining how they can perform certain tasks themselves, distributing information guides, sharing templates you use yourself that can help many other people, providing step-by-step instructions or other material.
So they can do the groundwork, get to the same level as you are or do the work themselves. I promise you: the people who are going to do the work themselves would have done it without your help. The only difference is that now that you've helped them, they see you as an expert, where they can come to if they can't figure it out for themselves.
The people who don't want to do the work themselves and are looking for your help, will immediately see you as an expert. The fact that you share so much information will help you to get customers more easily, because now you are seen as a person who really wants to help.
Product launches and feature releases
A blog is also a great place to announce the launch of products and the release of new features or services. It's easy to share, there's no need to edit your website right away and it also helps you build value for some keywords right away.
Bonus tip: testing information
Test new ways to explain, sell or tell about your products and services. By using your blog for this purpose, you don't have to test it directly on the prominent pages of your websites and your well-functioning story will remain intact. Share your blogs on social media and see what people really like before modifying your website and other material such as print, displays and advertisements.
Exponential long-term impact
It may take you some time, but you will thank yourself in the long run. Compared to paid ads, blogging helps you to appear organically in search engines. This means that you expand your website into a visitor generator that continues to generate traffic in the long run.
Because so many pages come up organically in search engines, it also helps to build credibility, as people see you more often, recognize your business faster and therefore click on one of your links more quickly when they see you again in search results.
Setting goals for your blog
Now that you know what a blog can do for you, we need to determine the focus. Don't forget that we can always change this later on. Depending on what you choose, we need to set different goals.
Most common goals for a blog
- Generate traffic
- Obtain Subscribers
- Convert Leads
- Retain customers
- Build brand awareness
In my opinion, generating traffic should always be the focus for a new blog. When you have a constant flow of traffic, you can focus your attention on your funnel (a predetermined combination of pages that helps to turn potential customers into customers). If no one reads your blog, you don't have enough data to make any conclusions about other goals.
Generate subscribers and convert leads
The two most important steps to get customers, but also two totally different aspects of your blog. Once visitors are on your blog, of course it is not the intention to let them go without trying to get something in return. In another part of this series we will go deeper into these steps.
As we've told you before, you can use your blog to let your customers know about new products, services, features or other things about your business. Remember that it is always easier to sell to existing customers than people who have never bought anything from you before.
You can also use your blog to enthuse your customers after they have bought your product or while they are using your services. You can share additional information, help them make better use of it or show them things you haven't had time to talk about before.
Brand awareness is difficult to measure and of course this is what you get while sending traffic to your website. Although the approach of a brand awareness campaign will look different. Think for example of guest blogs and partnerships. Brand awareness should not be your focus when starting a blog.
Content planning and strategy
The purpose of your blog and your planning go hand in hand. To really reach your goals, you need to find out which topics can bring you which estimated amount of traffic if your articles score well in the search engines. We'll come back to this later. Let's start the blog first and deal with this later.
Frequency and types of blog posts
When you share good information, there is no limit to how often you can publish an article. Let's be clear: the more qualitative articles you publish, the more traffic you get. More traffic ultimately means more leads and more customers.
So, how often should I publish an article?
You have to decide how much time you are willing to invest in your blog. Ideally you should try to put a blog article online between once a day or a few times a week. We understand that sometimes this is not (yet) an option for many companies.
Many of our clients start with an article every other week or a blog article per week. I think this is an excellent way to start. The most important thing is that you do it consistently. Not three blogs this week and nothing the next four weeks.
What kind of blogs will I post?
The types of blogs you post depend on the content your audience is interested in. A few questions you might ask yourself are:
- What do your customers ask you regularly?
- What are the things you like to talk about with your clients?
- What can you teach your clients to solve their problems?
- What are common topics in your industry?
There are also a number of types of blog articles that almost always do well:
- "How-to" blog post to explain how your customers can do certain things.
- "What is" blog post to explain what something is.
- Pillar blogpost to create an in-depth page on a topic.
- Infographic blogpost to visualize important data of a topic.
- The list blogpost to list for example the 9 best types of blog posts.
- Newsjacking blogpost to use recent related news to your advantage.
We will discuss this type of blog articles in more detail in the next article. Maybe we'll even share our own templates, so you can use them right away.
Let's start where we need to start and answer the following questions, before we dive deeper next week:
- For whom do I write my articles?
- What do I want to achieve with my blog?
- What are the concrete goals of my blog?
- How often do I post an article?
- What kind of blog post do I want to publish?
- What are my blog posts about?
I hope you can get started with this! If not, or if you have any questions about any of these topics, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to answer them as soon as possible.
In two weeks I will publish the result and we will discuss the following:
- Roles and responsibilities
- Choosing a system for your blog
Two weeks after that we'll go deeper into it:
- How to determine the right keywords
- Designing and setting up your blog
- How to write and format blog posts
- Best practices for search engine optimization
Don't you want to miss anything? Fill in your name and email address and we'll let you know as soon as the article is published.
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