Written by Simon Geraghty.
Blogging with purpose – why are you blogging and for whom?
So it’s late, you are sitting at home wondering about up-dating your business blog. It all seemed like a great idea 9 months ago but now you’ve run out of steam. You’ve fallen out of your stride, and there’s nothing coming to mind…. You ask yourself “why am I writing a blog again?”.
There are a variety of reasons you might have started blogging in the first place: to earn money, to gain recognition or to share your passions and provide your audience with information about a particular topic. First off, ask yourself what were some of your original objectives? Was it an exercise to demonstrate:
- Your passion for a subject?
- Your approach to problem solving?
- Your ability to write?
- Your brand personality?
- Your ability to listen?
Or was it purely a vanity exercise? If so, then a personal rather than business blog might be more appropriate. Take the time to re-state some concrete goals? For example, at DotDash the current objective of our blog is to:
- Build the DotDash brand.
- Demonstrate subject matter expertise.
- Provide a shop window of our writing capabilities to prospective clients.
- Asnwer specific client questions that have been put to us.
- Generate fresh SEO friendly content for the website.
Define your audience
Be crystal clear about who you are writing for, for example:
- Are you writing for people already invested in your subject, other afficionados?
- Are you writing your content to introduce a subject to those new to it?
Your writing style, terminology and subject choices are all impacted by the answers to the questions above.
Our own typical customer is new to social media and blogging. They are looking at ways to use these platforms but aren’t clear on the benefits or how to tackle the subject. We also want to offer marketing advice to other business start-ups as we try to document some of the learnings we’ve had along the way setting up this business.
Look to solve real life problems
The best articles solve problems for others – what have clients come to you to discuss? What questions are you being asked regularly? What questions are they being asked by decision makers in their businesses? What customers are you already serving or do you want to serve?
The next question to address is to define which categories you should cover, focus on key areas within your field. Sample ideas in content marketing or digital marketing might be:
- Are they asking why they should invest in a new website?
- Have they asked you to explain the benefit of social media or of blogging?
- What about video content? Podcasts?
- Are they not sure how to approach a particular task?
Here are some links to specific questions we’ve been asked at DotDash and tried to address here:
- Which social channels should we be using? (Facebook, Tumblr, Google+)
- How to best use social media in the Events Industry.
- What’s the benefit of LinkedIn for my sales team?
- And what are the benefits of blogging to my business.
While future content will focus on the growing design side of the business.
Now develop a plan of content
Plan your content – there’s nothing worse than Friday arriving and you are sitting staring at a blank page on your screen wishing that the pages might somehow fill themselves. Add to this, that if you can’t make the time to plan out your activity, how can you expect to find the time to write a blog?
How frequently you can manage to post each week or month will firstly depend on how many contributors you will have. Do you have dedicated resource or is it over and above the day job?
What length of post are you aiming for? Daily 300 word updates or lengthier in-depth weekly or fortnightly articles? Our own advice to the average service based business is that once a week is a good place to start.
We recommend that clients should have at least 3 months worth of content mapped out, to help with this the first step is to keep note of the questions clients are asking you. Other areas to aid you develop a plan of content are to look at:
- What are your competitors writing about?
- What are the big changes in your field?
- Spend some time brain storming a list of articles.
- Generate some top ten or top 20 style articles.
- Aggregate your favourite weekly news for your sector.
Now take your list and cut it back to the subjects most interesting to you and your clients. Why you? Because you need to summon the enthusiasm to write well.
Timing is everything
Writing is also about habit, Ray Bradbury, the recently deceased science fiction writer, advised budding authors that they should be writing daily. Be disciplined with your time and set aside at least one morning a week. I know bloggers and journalists who can work up content in an hour, but for more detailed articles you could spend spend half a day researching, writing and editing. A well written article should take time to research and craft.
What time of the day and day of the week best lends itself to writing in your schedule? If you aren’t consistent the activity can tend to slip. At DotDash, we tend to write our client content and proposals later in the week, preferring to concentrate client meetings at the start of the week. Although we’ve recently discovered that writing several client proposals a week impacts the writing on the blog. We’re currently developing a formula to make an eighth working day in the week, if we succeed we’ll be sure to blog about it.
- Be clear on your purpose.
- Define your audience.
- Solve real life problems.
- Develop a plan of content.
- Allocate a weekly time slot to the task.
If you want to find out more information on any of the areas covered here feel free to mail us at [email protected].
Note – This is a follow up piece to why your company should be blogging in the first place.There we covered the benefits of blogging for your business, showed some examples of business blogs and offered some pointers around tone and style.