The blog has become ubiquitous; from corporations and charities to mums and cranky teenagers, everyone has something to say and a blog is the perfect place to put it. If your organisation isn’t currently running a blog, it’s something you should certainly be considering — a well-managed blog increases your reach, improves your credibility and is a great way to get people talking. Here are some tips to get you started.
Have a plan for your blog posts
Your first task when beginning a blog is planning. Developing a comprehensive content strategy can help you:
- decide when and how much to post
- establish if there are important dates you need to make the most of
- determine a direction for your writing.
When considering your strategy, it’s also useful to accommodate complementary social media. Well-timed and engaging social posts can drive people to your blog and are an easy way to promote your work and boost your readership. Your content strategy will also help you gain a full overview of your blog content and where you can reschedule social media posts throughout the year.
Blog with purpose
When starting a blog for your organisation, it’s tempting to produce and post lots of content straight away, regardless of how relevant it is. While frequent updates on a range of topics are important to maintain an audience, don’t make that a priority at the expense of writing posts that deliver something valuable. A blog with a few widely read, quality posts will be a much more useful platform than one packed with meaningless filler, and if your associated social media campaign is bearing fruit, you should have no trouble channelling traffic to them with occasional promotion.
Identify your audience — and speak to them
This sounds simple, but before you start writing you should know who you’re addressing. Think of the people you want to communicate with, the content they’re interested in and the voice they would find engaging and authoritative. While the wide net approach can work, if you’re looking to target a specific demographic then make sure you write to that audience. Also, make the most of the word ‘you’ — speak directly to potential customers and make the story about them.
Have a specific action in mind
Your blog posts should always have a purpose and desired outcome, even if it’s as straight-forward as just building brand awareness. Keep that in mind when writing and proofing; if sentences in your copy don’t provide value to readers or incite them to action, cut them. You can get the best results out of your blog by staying on message and target.
Focus on benefits
Your organisation’s blog provides you with a valuable opportunity to promote the benefits of your product or service. While a blog post is rarely ideal for a hard sell, your copy should still deliberately illustrate the value of what you do and what separates you from your competitors. Remember, one of the primary purposes of your blog is to provide something of use to your readers. While you shouldn’t abandon strong calls to action, they don’t have to be entirely sales focused. Suggest people write back to you with their comments, share your content or talk to their friends; a blog is a two-way conduit between you and your customers, not just another way for you to advertise.
Provide value early on
While it can be tempting to save all the juicy parts of your post until the end, don’t wait too long to give your readers something worthwhile. Keeping people engaged throughout is essential, but the best way to do that is, unsurprisingly, by peppering important details throughout. Statistically, only a small percentage of readers ever actually completely read a post; if you hold out on the good stuff until the end, chances are most people will never even see it.
Start a conversation
Publishing blog entries that encourage readers to share your content around, talk to their colleagues and get into contact with you is the ideal for any organisation. A conversational buzz around your content increases readership, builds reputation and positions you as influential and knowledgeable. Having said this, it’s easy to tell you why starting conversations is a good thing but much harder to tell you how to do it. Some simple tips:
- Post about exciting developments in your industry or field
- Keep up to date on what’s going on with RSS feeds
- Include opinion and analysis to get people thinking and talking
- Reply to commenters and show that you’re interested in a dialogue
Speak to a professional
If you’ve read all this and you’re still not sure what direction to take your blog in, then it might be worth seeking professional assistance. Having someone to advise you on everything from tone of voice and posting frequency to the sorts of content you should be crafting and how to interact with your audience is an immense advantage and will definitely get your blog going with a bang.
Your blogging experiences
Have you started a blog recently? What sort of challenges have you faced so far? Are you working to a plan or just letting loose? Write to us in the comments section and let us know how it’s going —we’d love to hear from you.