You probably know how to blog. Many personal blogs simply deliver running commentary. However, a business blog requires a business plan with clear objectives. Like you would manage an advertising campaign, the business blog needs to produce measurable results.
What is a blog? The term blog was coined from “web log”. Many early blogs were diaries or (logs), recorded on a website, rather than being hand written in a journal. These personal blogs often had no objective other than the author’s desire to write about whatever was on his or her mind. A business blog needs to be much more than impromptu writing.
Some good reasons to have a business blog are to increase awareness of brands and products or services, attract new customers, build the credibility of the company, provide a platform for customer interaction, and create content for social media activities, as well as to recruit new employees and communicate news and events to current employees. Regardless of the reasons, there are some necessary steps that can help achieve the objectives for a business blog.
10 Step Business Plan for a Business Blog
- Establish the blog objective. Failure to establish the purpose of the blog before you start is one of the biggest reasons that a business blog fails.
- Choose an interesting, underserved topic. Pick a topic that is appealing and relevant to your customers. A gardening service company might blog about landscaping topics with the goal of educating customers and passively suggesting additional services. For example: plants that solve landscaping problems (too much shade or too little water) and conservation techniques (rain gardens and xeriscaping).
- Know your competition and pick a strategy. Google your topic to find existing blogs that discuss your intended subject matter. Don’t worry if the field is already crowded. You can still achieve success if you plan to provide original, thoughtful, well-written content.
- Assign the work to a qualified employee or contractor just as you would any other important business task such as payroll, paying bills, or selling products and services. Treating a business blog as optional, starting without a plan, using a “DIY” approach, and poor writing are reasons why many blogs fail.
- Post new content regularly (2-7 times per week). Plan a calendar of topics, pick a posting schedule and stick to it. The suggested minimum is 2-3 times per week. Failure to be consistent is another key reason by many blogs—personal or business—fail. Note that blog content can be written and then scheduled for posting at a later date.
- Write passionately about things you know. Even if you hire a professional writer or assign the writing to an employee, you must educate your “ghost blogger” about your industry and your business, and monitor the content to ensure that your voice comes through in the blog content.
- Mix up your media. To entice readers, business blog posts should never be long running commentary. To make the content appear interesting and easy to read, use headings, photos, and lists to break the monotony of paragraphs and sentences. Back up the information with links to research studies, or relevant videos and podcasts. Ask a question to entice readers to comment on article content or even post a survey requesting reader input.
- Share and promote the blog content on social media such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Use a social media management tool (such as Hootsuite.com or Bufferapp.com) to schedule sharing of blog content on social media sites. As when posting blog content, plan to share content via social media on a consistent schedule.
- Gather data, which may come from customer and sales records, as well as analysis tools for websites (such as Google Analytics) and social media management (Hootsuite.com and Bufferapp.com) to determine whether the objectives for the business blog are being met.
- Measure the results. Depending on the objective for a business blog, its success needs to be measured by the data. For example, increased awareness can be substantiated by an increase in website traffic, a goal to attract new customers can be demonstrated by increased sales, and the desire to build credibility and customer interactions can be confirmed by the number of customer asked by visitors to the blog.
Use these ten steps to form the basis of a business plan, with clear objectives and measurable results, to create a successful business blog.