I’m often asked by business owners and communication managers whether they should be starting a blog, or encouraging their organisation to start one. My answer is almost always a resounding yes, as a business blog is one of the best ways to engage with customers in a way that can add value to them.
However, while blogging for business is a great way to help grow your business, it is a lot of work and a big commitment. Especially for a small business or a business of one. Like mine!
These blogging tips are appropriate for anyone writing for a business blog – whether you are a soloist, a small business, the comms person coordinating the company blog, or the CEO who wants to share some regular thoughts:
- Have a very clear idea of what you want your blog to achieve – do you want it to raise awareness of your brand or a specific product? Are you promoting an idea or sharing outcomes of research? Do you want to encourage a behaviour change? Do you want to use it to help to get to know your community and to strengthen your organisation’s relationship with your community?
- Write a plan for your blog – set some blogging goals and set a rhythm – by this I mean work out how often you will blog. Every day, once a week, twice a month. The frequency isn’t important, but consistency is.
- Work out who is going to write the posts and what your approval process is. If you have a team of writers, set some editorial guidelines around what is acceptable (for example, in terms of language used). Establish a schedule and work out who is going to write about what and when. Make a decision regarding approvals – who has the final say, who responds to comments.
- Prepare an editorial calendar – this will help you with consistency, help you work out what you are going to blog about, and identify who is blogging when. It doesn’t need to be fancy – mine is just a simple spreadsheet with blog ideas for at least the next month, but usually up to three months.
- Ask your readers (via twitter, facebook, newsletter etc) what they would like to read about. I get GREAT ideas from mine – this blog post stems from a reader suggestion (thank you!)
- Keep your ideas in a central place. I have a paper file that I keep blog ideas in – this might include newspaper or magazine articles, post it notes I’ve scrawled thoughts on, flyers or programs for events that look interesting or that I have been to, recipe ideas. I also use the notes app on my phone to jot ideas when I’m out or when they strike.Usually just before I fall asleep… Other blogging friends use Evernote or Pinterest.
- Read a lot of blogs. I must confess I read far more food blogs than marketing blogs, but they all help stimulate ideas, and often in unexpected ways.
- I try and link my two blogs by writing cross-over posts, such as my recent posts on bloggers and brands working together that are here and here. I am very aware that not all my marketing readers care as much about food as I do, so I don’t do this a lot. Even though I don’t understand WHY you don’t all care about food as much as me…
- Block out a regular time each week and write. My plan, which hasn’t really worked yet, is to block out half a day a week (or two half days) to power through a few posts. This way I can have a bit of a stockpile for when I want a break.
- Promote your blog widely using social media and your other networks – consider twitter, facebook, G+, pinterest, newsletter, instagram and more. But that’s another post!
- Have fun! There is no point blogging if you don’t enjoy it.
Do you write a business blog? Or for a business blog? How do you make it easier for yourself? Feel free to share your blog name and URL in the comment section.
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