Having a business blog is an absolute must these days. That is, if you’re somewhat ambitious and not reluctant to the idea of growing your company (which you probably aren’t). If you are planning on starting a business blog, you will likely want to get writing right away. Your enthusiasm is great, but let’s take a step back. First, you’ll need to determine 8 essential things to ensure you’ll get off to a flying start.
You’ve sharpened your digital pencil (or, dusted off your keyboard). Your mind is crowded with amazing blog ideas. You are ready to start writing. So why shouldn’t you?
Well, if you want to take on the great challenge of setting up a business blog, you desperately need a plan. Writing a single blog post is one thing, but maintaining a business blog and making sure you regularly post valuable content is another. There’s a lot of stuff you need to consider.
The business blog checklist
As a professional freelance writer, I write and edit lots of business blogs for my clients on a weekly basis. To make sure that these support their company goals, I recommend that they determine 8 things before they (or I) start writing. I’d like to share them with you here, so you can lay a solid foundation for your business blog – which makes it easier to write blog posts that support an overarching business strategy and get results.
1. Mission and vision
What are your long-term business objectives? And what is your company’s vision? Before starting a business blog, you should make sure that you know these things. Write them down and learn them by heart, so you can adapt your tone, style, and topics to them.
2. Target audience
Who is your ideal customer? Describe them in detail to get a feel of the types of questions they’d like you to answer. These will serve as the basis for your blogging strategy. If you really want to tackle blogging for your business, consider creating a buyer persona. This will help you attract the customers that you want to do business with.
3. Blogging goals
What would you like your readers to do after reading your blog posts: leave their email address, download an e-book, or contact you to discuss a potential collaboration? Keep in mind that not all blog posts need to have the same objective. You can write a series of posts to promote your e-book and create a separate category that is aimed at attracting prospects. However, make sure that your blog is non-commercial in nature; you need to show readers that you’re an expert in your field by sharing a piece of valuable information.
The point is that you should have a clear picture of your blogging goals before starting a business blog, as it will allow you to write your blogs according to a strategy. I know I’m using this word a lot. That’s because it’s crucial if you’d like to succeed. After all, the last thing you want is to put time, effort, and money into your business blog only to discover that it’s completely missed the mark after a year of hard work.
4. Tone and style
Which communication style does your target audience prefer? And what writing style best fits your corporate identity? Should it be concise, creative, or descriptive?
If your business blog is aimed at millennials, don’t be very formal. But if governmental institutions are your (potential) customers, don’t try to be overly hip (attempting to be cool is never a good idea, by the way – but I’m assuming you know this). Draft some blogging guidelines to determine your tone of voice. It will set you off in the right direction.
5. Blogging angle
Will you write about your personal experiences or do you prefer to share factual information? What themes and topics do you think readers will appreciate? And what is your opinion on them?
Some companies like to create lists, report on interesting developments in the field, and give practical tips to their readers. This might work, provided that you do it based on a blogging plan. But if you prefer to connect with your readers on a personal level that could work really well, too. For example, one of my clients wants me to start each of their blog posts with a personal experience of the company’s founder, which I then somehow connect to their product.
You could go either way. Just make sure that you decide on a blogging angle and jot down (sub)categories before starting your business blog.
6. Emotional aspect
Readers need to feel a certain way after reading your blog. The question is: what is the key emotion you want to convey? It might sound a bit weird at first. After all, not everyone associates business blogs with feelings. But we happen to live in the age of storytelling, and it’s important to realize that every story (even a blog; especially a blog) should evoke feelings.
So take your time and think about how you will make your readers smile, chuckle, well up, or roll their eyes. (Not sure why you would do the latter, but then again, I don’t know what you’re selling. Perhaps your customers need to get annoyed to like your product.)
7. Blog post length
How many words should a blog post be? Don’t be rigid on this one. Just set a guideline, so it’s easier for you to stick with your blogging goals. Starting a business blog can be hard in the early stages, so you want to make sure that you won’t give up. Therefore, you need to set realistic goals.
You’ve got a million things to do and a day only has 24 hours. So if you’re going to write your own content, don’t aim for two 1500-word posts a week. Because I can tell you this: blogging is a lot of work. A lot. And once you don’t meet a deadline, you will be tempted to abandon your blogging plan altogether. If you can manage to write, say, one 600-word piece a week, you should give yourself an award. Seriously.
Alternatively, you could decide to outsource the blog writing task to a freelance copywriter. If you do so, make sure you opt for quality. Keep in mind that cheap is expensive and that starting a business blog is an investment. An experienced copywriter who knows how to connect with your readers can help you achieve your business goals.
Would you like to post a blog every day, week, or month? Create a blogging calendar based on your desired posting frequency. Then set a monthly deadline for adding new blogging topics, so you can ensure consistency. Keep in mind that once you start to attract readers, they will expect you to provide them with fresh content on a regular basis. If you don’t do this, you’ll lose them much quicker than you found them. So don’t let your efforts go to waste. Decide on a frequency and go with it!