As a business, you know all that goes into selling a particular product or service—offering something of real value, knowing your audience, marketing—and those are the exact same things that ought to go into your blog posts. If thinking of posts as products seems like a stretch, think again. The truth is, viewing your articles as something to sell makes so much business sense.
Whether you’re a hair salon or an accounting firm, it’s pretty obvious that to make a sale, you have to offer something of value. No one’s going to care about your company if it doesn’t relate to him or her. So look at your blog the same way—Why should someone care about your food blog or business site? What value do you provide? Just as you ask yourself how your product helps your audience, ask yourself how your blog post gives them good advice or powerful resources. Any post that doesn’t pass the value test shouldn’t get posted.
2. Vision and Goals
An old proverb says, “Without vision, the people perish,” and that’s just as true in blogging as it is in business strategy. Think of yourself as the CEO of your blog—Do you know where it’s heading? If you ran a business the way you run your site, what would profits be like? One of the key reasons treating your blog as a business makes sense goes back to vision. Setting a clear map of what you want your blog to do and expectations for performance are the best ways to make sure you’re moving towards success.
To set a clear, tangible plan for your blog, take the time to evaluate the following:
- Overall Goal: Why are you blogging? What do you hope to accomplish? What makes you successful in your own eyes? Articulate concrete, definite goals and then break those goals into subgoals achievable in shorter amounts of time.
- Audience: To whom are you writing? Think about gender, age, education level, interests. What does this demographic find helpful and interesting?
- Timeline: How much time can you reasonably invest in your blog each week—and, based on that answer, what timeline is realistic to achieve your goals and subgoals?
- Schedule: How often do you publish posts?
- Finances: How much money are you willing to invest in your site?
- Privacy: How much personal information about you or your writers are you willing to share?
3. Loyalty + Referrals
Referrals are the lifeblood of business growth, whether online or off. So just as you rely on loyal customers to promote your brand for business, you benefit from finding loyal readers to help grow your site. How do you nurture relationships with readers into strong connections? Here are two ideas:
- Offer Incentives: When it comes to blogging, incentives don’t necessarily mean discounts or bonus products. Rewarding readers might look more like calling out their helpful comments, answering their questions, or making promises about upcoming content and then delivering on them.
- Be Consistent: Nothing is better than consistently high-quality service to breed customer loyalty, and the same is true of blogging. Keep delivering good content to your readers, and they’ll be much more likely to return.
The same branding principles that apply to your company apply to your blog—The world is filled with websites nowadays, so you have to find a way to set yourself apart. Get your own domain name, invest in a quality logo, and use everything from design to content to establish what makes your brand unique.
Have you been treating your blog like a business and your posts like products? Why or why not? Could changing the way you look at your site be key to building community and seeing results?
Latest posts by Shanna (see all)
- Roundup of Cool Social Media Buttons - September 30, 2013
- This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Google Anymore - September 3, 2013
- 5 Best Practices for Making the Most of Your Facebook Fan Page - August 21, 2013