In launching this new site I have been undertaking plenty of research into what makes a good blog, and a good individual blog post. The basics are simple, with some more detailed tips to follow in a later blog post. These tips are aimed at business bloggers who want to know how to blog, not social or interest blogs, although many of the principles are the same.
1. Be clear about your objectives
What is the blog intended to deliver? Are you aiming to increase sales, broaden your sphere of influence, and establish yourself as a subject matter expert? The objectives for your blog are clearly going to be different dependent on your circumstances, but the wise blogger will consider and document them before the blog is launched.
2. Who is your intended audience?
My favourite subject matter – target market! Who do you intend to read your blog posts? Current customers, new sales leads? Whilst ‘anyone/everyone’ might be a tempting answer, you need to identify and research your ‘bull’s-eye’ target market. Without knowing this you won’t be able to craft an effective blog.
3. Add value
In a time poor society with lots of media competing for attention you need to offer your audience a compelling reason to read your blog rather than another. Are you sharing knowledge, insight or opinion? Are you demystifying an area that people find confusing? You have to give something to your readers for them to want to read and return. Pick a theme or subject matter area you know about and stick to it.
4. Attention grabbing headlines win!
Your headline needs to be short, snappy and convey the value that your blog post will offer. You only have a few words to draw the reader in so make them count. There’s plenty of specialist advice out there in the blogosphere on this matter alone.
5. Keep it short
Accepted wisdom is that c500 words is the right length for any blog. Less than that and you are not really sharing any depth into the subject, more than that and you risk losing your reader before the end. Copywriting is a skill that takes time to develop, so write your blog in Word first, adapt and perfect it, before publishing it to the world.
Underpinning all of the above should be your blog’s plan. By this I mean you should establish before you publish a) the subject areas that you can blog on, all based around your central theme, and b) how frequently you intend to blog. Without a clearly thought out plan you risk running out of ideas quickly, potentially panicking and posting content of little or no value. The frequency is also key; as a deserted blog is as bad as a prolific blogger that no-one has time to keep up with. How much time and how many ideas for blog posts do you have? By documenting your blog plan before you start you’ll retain focus and offer value to your intended target market.