With more and more businesses venturing online and reaching out to their customers, blogging has become an essential part of that campaign. In that respect here is a step by step guide to getting started with blogging.
What is a blog?
Blog is a term derived from the word Weblog which is a type of website or a part of one, that is characterized by regular entries that may be commentary, descriptions of certain events, product reviews, personal entries, the list goes on and on.
A blog is typically managed by one person, but can be managed by more than one individual. The entries appear in reverse chronological order and people can comment and interact with the author as well as other readers.
Why blog in the first instance?
One example I use to make things a bit simple for the not so tech savy is this:
Imagine we start a church, build the church, buy instruments, organize the various ministries in it, times of service and so on but never actually have a service.Now the church is there but it’s not exactly functional. Same applies, a website without a blog is the same as a church with no service.
Benefits you can expect from blogging include traffic to your website, conversion of traffic to leads(potential customers), establish yourself as an authority in your niche, make you relevant to your customers via the solutions you give online. Well the list goes on but that’s a story for another day.
So let’s get into the 12 effective steps to building that amazing blog for your business:
1. Target Locate Learn and Understand
First and foremost you need to think of who you are targeting. This involves building profiles of these people and what their interests are.
Locate these people on the internet. Where do they spend most of their time online? What comes to mind here are social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
The reason why you need this information is so as to know where to share your posts as well as find out the best strategy to get better interaction and engagement on those posts.
Learn more about their problems, what are their questions? What keeps them up at night? What needs do they have? How best can you provide a solution?
Sometimes people don’t even know they have a need for something and it is your responsibility to alert them of the need and provide a solution. This is how new innovations in mobile devices generally come about.
One important aspect of a blog is that it is not about you, but the reader. As such put yourself in the shoes of the reader and understand their needs and wants. Sometimes their misunderstanding maybe about the product itself and it will be your duty to educate as opposed to promoting 24/7(this is generally annoying to be honest).
2. Decide How You Can Help
The sad truth is, even if you are the industry leader, you can’t know everything and as such you need to be clever about providing solutions online.
After gathering up all these questions that people have you need then to take a realistic look at your resources and prioritize. Don’t jump on every question or query, you will spread yourself too thin and achieve nothing at the end of the day!
I can safely say not many businesses are blogging in Zimbabwe so you will most likely be pioneering in your industry.
However if your competitors are blogging then by all means please do check out their blog, what are they blogging about, what are they missing, how can you provide solutions differently yet giving more value to your customers?
Answer these questions and you will be well on your way to establishing a strong online presence!
4. Goals and Strategy
Blogging requires you to set goals to achieve and like anything in this life, if you are not aiming for something you are not going to amount to much in the long run. Here is a useful article.
On the other hand ensure that your blogging will fall in line with your organisation’s goals.
Things that come to mind when we mention strategy are: do you need to outsource blogging? What resources are required to run a blog internally? How are daily and weekly tasks going to be scheduled?
5. Build The Blog
Well this is most probably the most anticipated part by many. A blog needs to be well designed, simple yet effective.
A blog needs to have an interface that makes it easy for the customers to interact among themselves and with you.
However simple doesn’t mean get an out dated design. Make sure that your website is easily accessible from a mobile device. Most of the internet users in Zimbabwe are on mobile devices.
6. Implement conversion systems
Your blog must be able to turn visitors into prospective customers of some sort. Establish the key selling points of your business and make sure they are accessible to the reader on the site.
7. Mailing list and Social platforms
Sign up with some free mailing system like mailchimp which will help you capture email addresses and manage them.
If you don’t have profiles or pages on social platforms then it’s about time you worked on it. Get your blog linked to all your social networks and also add widgets that make it easy for users to share your content.
8. Plan your blog posts
Blog posts are not written on the day they are published. Very few are good at this. You need to plan your posts and align them with what you want to achieve.
What helps is coming up with an editorial calendar so that you can have a visual representation of what happens and when its supposed to happen.
9. Search Engine Optimization
This is a process whereby you write your posts paying attention to the way you place certain words around the articles. That being said you need to do a bit of research on which word you are going to target.
10. Write your posts with amazing headlines
Yes please actually do get round to writing them! Find a tone that will work well with what business you are into. A little humor here and there won’t hurt.
Try by all means to let the human aspect be reflected in your posts, people buy people and not brands.
Remember to add a call to action. Ask yourself, after the person reads this whats next? E.g add a line like this at the end of a laptop review “Call John on +123 456 789 for more info on this laptop”.
Headlines are the most important thing after your mother! People will click on a link depending on how interesting the headlines are. Here is a summary of writing an effective post.
11. Publish and Interact
Publish your posts on the social networks that your target customers frequent. It would also be a good idea to research on how best to capture their attention on different social networks
Interact with your audience by responding to comments on your blog as well as any comments on the social networks.
No matter how negative the comment maybe always be positive, remember other customers are watching on. (Oh! by the way criticism is guaranteed so keep calm)
12. RINSE AND REPEAT!!
After all is said and done, don’t forget to enjoy yourself as you blog and provide solutions to your customers. Happy blogging!!
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