One of the keystones of effective content marketing is blogging. Without a doubt, if you follow some basic tenets, it can improve your personal branding, website traffic, SEO and your confidence too. I recommend it to all of my social media students, and I recommend it to you. But how do you start blogging? That’s what this blog post is all about.
The Main Reasons to Write a Blog
Firstly, let’s talk about why people and businesses blog. Maybe you have a yearning to express your creativity, or you are a frustrated novelist. let’s be frank: neither of those motivations is enough to make you an interesting blogger. What makes an interesting blogger is someone that gives their readers consistent value. In business, that can mean sharing your expertise to help your readers actually do something that they wanted to do before, but couldn’t. Bloggers that do this can find that they see a massive bump in brand awareness, increased enquiries from new (and existing) clients, increased trust ratings, and even the most amazing PR opportunities.
There are many ways to blog and almost as many different platforms to blog with. You can use WordPress, Blogger, Blogspot, Tumblr… I could go on but there really is only one question to start with:
“Should my blog be hosted on my website or one of those hosted platforms like Blogger or WordPress.com?”
Like most difficult questions, there’s only one answer for you:
“If your blog is not part of your website, you may as well give up now.”
Why? Because your website is the only part of the internet you own. If your blog posts are all on Blogger or Linkedin, you are sending your web traffic elsewhere. What is worse, is that you’re sending it to a website owned by someone else. Do you really want to do that?
Choosing What to Write About
Start with what you know best. Create some ‘framing’ posts, setting out the broad boundaries of your subject area. These can sometimes feel a little basic to you, but your readers need them as an introduction to where your expertise lies. For example, if you are an Acupuncturist, framing posts for you might include: “What is Acupuncture” and “The Health Benefits of Acupuncture”. After that you may want to address more specific areas, such as the differences between acupuncture and reflexology or the efficacy of acupuncture for treating specific conditions.
How Often Should I Post?
This is one of the most common questions I am asked about blogging. The answer is ultimately down to the nature of your business, how much time you have, and how committed you are to your inbound marketing. When your blog is new, I recommend publishing a blog post every 2-3 days in order to populate the blog and attract readers. After that you can slow down to weekly, fortnightly or even longer if you want, until you find the correct frequency for your business and audience.
Should You Schedule or be Spontaneous?
Some bloggers are all about the planning. They work out exactly what they are going to blog about over the next 12 months in painstaking deal. They write them all well in advance and schedule them to go out according to their chosen calendar. Other writers prefer to take a more casual approach. They know when they need to post but don’t choose their topic or words in advance. The advantage of the first approach could be that the blog can more or less be left to run itself, with minimal interference. The second approach though is that it allows the writer to use recent events to make their writing feel more spontaneous and natural to their readers. Only you will know which approach suits you best, but most bloggers will use a combination of both. I recommend you create a blogging calendar to plan your posts in accordance with your business’ marketing or growth plan. Then write a few posts in advance to keep up your sleeve just in case; and then keep your options open to write posts inspired by whatever may be most relevant at the time. This keeps the blog from feeling cold and distant, whilst giving you a ‘fail safe’ cushion in case you can’t find time to write one.
The Next Step
Talk to your web designer to see how easy it would be to add a self-hosted blog to your site. Write a plan, integrated with your marketing plan. Create a blogging calendar and start doing the research for your first posts. That is how you start a blog.
Web Secrets Podcast (Ep. 1)
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