4 keys to running a successful blog.
Social media is all the rage, and one of the most popular pieces of advice many business owners are hearing is get a blog. The word is that blogs are the next big thing, and that they’ll bring tons of customers to your website. Here’s the thing – blogs are not new.
Take it from someone who’s managed multiple blogs since 2002: having a blog is not a magical cash cow, nor does it mean instant social media success. Why? If you have a blog and you’re not WRITING in it, then all you have a waste of web space and a potentially powerful marketing effort that isn’t pulling its weight.
There are four basic elements to running a successful blog:
First and foremost, you need quality information to share. In order to know which information to post, you’ll also need to know your audience. Once you know who you’ll be speaking to, you’ll need to determine what information is relevant to them. An easy way to stay up-to-date on trends and happenings in your field is setting up a Google Alert. These are sent to your email inbox daily with all the news, blogs, etc. related to your keywords.
Take my blog as an example – I am a writer. I speak to other writing and marketing professionals, and to small to medium business owners. This is why my blog focuses on offering tips and tricks in writing, branding, and marketing, and any relevant news related to those subjects. Between my Google Alerts and my subscriptions to other authorities in my field, I can usually find something interesting to talk about in my blog and on Twitter/Facebook.
You must have a plan in place to keep your blog updated routinely. This could mean one of several options: you could write out all your blog posts for a month and schedule them to go live at predetermined times. You could keep a calendar and focus on writing blog entries on particular days. In addition, you may want to think about whether you will include interactive elements like polls, contests, and videos.
The most successful blogs are two-way communication vehicles. Interest will quickly wane if you’re not keeping your blog up-to-date, and not interacting with people who comment on and link to it. All valid comments (i.e. NOT trolls or spam) should be answered, but negative comments and feedback should move to the top of the queue. Don’t forget that sometimes, clients and customers use blogs and other social media platforms to complain, so checking for and replying to comments should be a daily or every-other-day part of your schedule.
Time is the most important element, and it encompasses all other aspects of running a successful blog. Planning, researching, drafting, writing, editing, posting, and responding all take TIME. You must make time to be able to generate high quality, relevant content that your audience wants to read. In addition, building a following takes time. It’s highly likely you won’t get any significant traffic from your blog until you have at least 50 entries of solid content.
Use these tips to help you get started. Remember, if you’re serious about exploring blogging you must dedicate time and effort to building something worthwhile. If you don’t have the time or if you’re stuck on what to talk about, remember there are plenty of ways to get good content for your blog. You can always ask for guest posts, assign an employee to be in charge of the blog, or outsource to freelance writers.