Blogs can be an amazing way to provide your audience or target group with free information while promoting your brand. When used effectively, they can be an informative way to engage potential customers whilst adding value in a practical way.
So then where do you start? Luckily there are many helpful online tools that make it easy to create your own blog from scratch. We’ve outlaid a few simple steps to help you on your way.
Step 1: Decide on what content you want to provide.
Start by thinking about who your target market is. Who do you want to read your blog? If you don’t have an idea in your head of who you want to attract, you certainly won’t attract them. Ask yourself questions like: Who are they? What do they like? What will get their attention? Is there information that you have to offer them?
You may need to start by brainstorming what kind of content your target market would be interested in and what content fits with your brand. This may be obvious or it may take some creative thinking. Whatever you choose will have to be linked to your brand and the goods or services that you are trying to sell. For instance if you are in the Finance industry, you could talk about current trends or give basic personal finance advice. Always remember that you are trying to add value, if your blog doesn’t add value to people’s lives then they won’t read it.
It can be helpful to have a plan of what content you will post for a set period in the future or you may prefer to think week to week what content is relevant but you never want to run out of topics so have a few written down as a backup plan.
Step 2: Create an account with WordPress (or any number of other tools for blogs)
It has never been easier to start a blog. Websites like WordPress and others make it incredibly easy to start a blog or add one to your existing company website. Use the tools at your fingertips and create an account.
Most websites have free or trial versions that have limited functionality but if you have the budget then you can get the premium version with full functionality. Start setting up your website. Remember to get the blog website in the same colours and theming as your current brand.
Step 3: Start writing posts
Content is king. Once you have your topic you can start writing the first blog article. Try to write in a style that is accessible and not complicated. Pritch your writing as if you were talking to a 10 year old. Be careful of jargon and if you must use it then explain it the first time you do. Remember that the people you are writing for may not know too much about the topic.
Choose a title that is catchy and engaging. Optimize for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by using keywords that search engines like Google can use to identify what the blog is about. The title sets the tone for the whole blog and may be the first thing that your audience sees so make it count.
Likewise, your introduction should also grab your reader’s attention. Add a joke or an interesting fact that will captivate them. Then set out the purpose of your blog post. Let the reader know how the article will improve their work or lives if they continue reading.
Organise your post into sections and and have an outline. Lists and bullet points can be very helpful in making your blog post easier on the eye. Readers get intimidated if the article is too long. Break up your paragraphs into smaller ones so that that doesn’t happen.
You can use visuals to make the blog more interesting to look at and to emphasise your points. You can even include videos that go into more detail on your topic. Remember to add alternative text to each picture that helps with your SEO by telling the search engines what each visual is about and linked to. Next add hyperlinks to your products and other posts (internal) or to other companies or articles that may be of interest to your reader.
Always include a conclusion that summarises your article and has the main takeaway point for your reader. It can be helpful to end on a question. Also add an author section where you tell your audience a little bit about yourself and the company you work for.
Step 4: Post regularly
The best way to grow your blog is consistency. This is where the plan for posts comes in. You should be posting at least once or twice a week but this can also depend on your audience and topic. Some posts are only relevant at certain times whilst others are relevant at any time.
There are many different types of posts. These include list based posts, How to posts, thought leader posts where an expert talks about their field of expertises and infographic posts, amongst others.
Your topics must always be relevant but there is usually a massive amount of space for creativity. Have fun as you explore your field and make it accessible.
Step 5: Promote your blogs posts
How will people know about the new blog unless you let them know? You may already have existing ways of communicating with your customers so use those to help them discover this new platform.
Remember to use your company’s social media channels to promote each post as they get posted as well as the blog itself from time to time. The more effort you put into promoting your blog, the more people will discover and start viewing your blog.
Blogs are an amazing tool for connecting with people and teaching or informing them in a way that wasn’t as easy in the past. More companies should be making use of this tool to connect to their customers in a way that provides value apart from their main product and brings awareness to their brand. Imagine who you can reach if you start using this tool today…
About the author
Ian Hannington is a Digital Marketing Analyst completing an Online Digital Marketing Internship through the International Institute of Digital Marketing. He enjoys connecting people to others and to ideas that enrich their lives. He currently resides in Cape Town, South Africa.