Even though it doesn’t come wrapped in a bow and put under a tree, your blog can be one of the best Christmas (or overall holiday) gifts for both your clientele and you! Not only can you give your audience some of the best information available and thereby helping to improve their life, but you are (consequently) afforded the opportunity to gain business and enhance your authority as an industry professional. To help those of you just beginning or wanting a refresher course in how to create a successful blog for your business, here are the twelve beginner blog tips for Christmas:
Start With Identifying Goals
(Everyone in their sing-song voice)
“On the first day of your blogging, IMPACT gives to you…setting identifiable goals.”
As the gift that keeps on giving, if you enter into the business blog-o-sphere with goals you have the continued opportunity to gauge where your blog success is currently, where it has been in the past, and the potential of its future. As you start to establish these goals, make sure you do the following:
- Write Them Down — Research has shown that companies that write their goals have a significantly higher percentage of attaining them than businesses that fail to write them down.
- Measurable — Establishing measurable goals allows you and your company to better analyze where the blog stands with regard to moving closer (or further) from your target.
- Short-Term — As much as you want to look at your blog as a 1 year, 2 year, or 5 year marketing effort, your company would be better served with shorter goals that span the length of 1 month to 6 months when you just start out. This will allow you to adjust the goals as needed on a more regular basis as well as create “mini-goals” for you to focus on along the way.
Complete Your Competitive Analysis
(Singing for the second time)
“On the second day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…competitive analysis for my blogging.”
After you establish your goals, it’s important to take a look at what your competitors are doing with their websites and online marketing. Not only does it give you the opportunity to see what is already going out to your audience, but it also affords you the opportunity to see what is not being broadcast to your audience as well. In that same thought, and to further the benefit of completing a competitive analysis, the research also gives you the tools and information needed to become the undisputed leader within your industry – you just have to create content that is second to none.
Research Your Audience
(Yet again, let’s hear it)
“On the third day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…research tips for the audience.”
As important as it is to complete a competitive analysis, it is equally important to understand the perspective of your target audience. Some things to consider when looking into your target audience:
- Age and Gender — Determining your opportune age and gender for your specific products and services will give you a fantastic insight into the language needed to entice further action (subscribing, contacting, or buying from you).
- Location — While location doesn’t impact the language you use to influence behavior, it does significantly help you with local search engine optimization as you will be able to include geographic keyword phrases to help improve search engine rankings for local search queries.
- Behaviors — Granted you will receive a great deal of information from the age and gender of your target audience, you will be better served with research on their behaviors. In other words, you want to find out what makes your audience interested in your products/services so that you can take advantage of that through the language you use within your blog content.
Create A Strategic Plan
(Sing it loud and proud)
“On the fourth day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…a strategic plan for my blog.”
Because you now have a blog for your business, it is not time to jump in just yet with content and updates. Instead, design a strategic plan that includes:
- Running List of Blog Topics — Blog ideas come to you at very odd times (grocery shopping, talking on the phone with a client, chamber of commerce events, etc). It’s extraordinarily important that you take the time to record those ideas as frequently as possible. This will keep fresh, unique, and inspiring content flowing from your fingertips as you write.
- Marketing and PR — Yes, your blog will act as a huge source of online marketing and PR for your company. However, you also have to plan out how you will spread the good word about your new blog throughout your current clientele as well as the mass public.
- Update Schedule — A recurring theme is the idea of writing down tasks, goals, schedules, etc. If you take the opportunity – at the beginning of your blog experience – to schedule out your updates you will enable your company to be on the fast track to blogging success.
Visibility is King
(This is the long verse)
“On the fifth day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…Being Visible.”
Micro-blogging, social networking websites, and forums have greatly enhanced and influenced the ability of companies to become a visible entity with other industry professionals as well as their target audience. The idea behind all of these forms of visibility rests solely with the philosophy that the more related and quality places you frequent online the more related and quality traffic you will receive. Of course, this requires you to not just make a profile and watch life happen, but to take advantage of the interactions within these websites. If you are able to accomplish this task, you will be able to generate concentrated interest throughout a previously untapped target audience.
Persistent In Blogging
(Get out the microphone now)
“On the sixth day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…the ability of persistency.”
Yes, I just made up that word “persistency”, but it is one that worked with the song and truly fits with the idea of this “tip of Christmas” because I am being extraordinarily persistent with the fact that I want you to sing those quoted lines. Now, take that example and apply it to each and every one of your updates; be persistent in how you address a topic – drive home the main idea and reinforce it with calls to action as well as reader feedback. Remember that the old say “The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Oil” applies here as your persistent behavior will seduce more buying behaviors from the audience.
Just Keep Writing
(That time, again)
“On the seventh day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…writing, writing, and more writing.”
I am going to keep this short and sweet, but the fact of the matter is: the more you write the better your writing will become. Further, the better your writing becomes, the more readers you will gain. And to take it a bit more in depth, the more readers you have the better your reputation spreads which consequently means more sales. It is that simple; just keep writing no matter if it is a blog post or a journal entry…just keep writing.
Open & Inviting Content
(Almost done, but until then make sure your coworkers hear you!)
“On the eighth day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…content that is inviting.”
Your blog, though business related, needs to be interactive. However, the only way that you can accomplish this interaction between your blog and your readers is to be inviting for feedback and comments on your updates. You can achieve this by asking short (closed-ended) questions, literally asking for their questions and/or concerns, or applying a poll or survey into the article. Overall, the main focus is to increase (or start) the conversations between you and the readers as well as between all of the readers as well. That interaction will influence more of an audience and establish a loyal following.
(Now that the office knows how you sing, ramp it up and get louder)
“On the ninth day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…content that focuses on you.”
Let’s get this straight right from the start; you are not blogging for yourself, right? Right! Instead, you are blogging to improve the lives of your readers. Remember to keep that in perspective as you move forward with some of the more advanced topics, and think about how that content is going to influence/benefit them as well as help their clientele. If you are able to emphasize the benefits and how they can enhance someone’s life you have a leg up on your competition and a start to a great working relationship with lots of interaction.
Catchy Headlines & Intro Paragraphs
(Sing it up with your bad self)
“On the tenth day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…great headlines and intro statements.”
As we start getting to the end of our twelve Christmas days and tips, we venture into the two most important pieces of your blog articles – headlines and intro paragraphs. While I spend a good deal of time writing and editing the content for blog updates, I spend a much larger amount of time (relatively speaking) on the headline and intro paragraph. The headlines you use are the words that form a first impression, and the intro paragraph is the content that hooks the reader to read the rest (and sing!!). Either way, make sure that your headline is catchy and has some form of target audience sales language to add some urgency to the mix. Also, construct your intro paragraph with an analogy, simile, or metaphor to improve the readership and bounce rate from your site.
Break Up The Content
(Only two more lines of song)
“On the eleventh day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…bullet points and short paragraphs.”
Readers, whether your target audience or not, have the innate habit of skimming through blog updates and (really) whatever else they read. In order to combat that and overcome the obstacle of these readers’ ability of skim-reading, it’s important that you break up the content with bullet points, short paragraphs, sub-headlines, pictures, videos, and anything else that will stagger their skimming. The general idea, though, is to keep clumps of information scarce throughout the articles you compose to enable more in-depth reading from the audience.
(Last one…make it amazing!)
“On the twelfth day of Christmas, IMPACT gave to me…ENTHUSIASTIC WRITING.”
No, you don’t have to write in caps, in fact I discourage writing content that is all in caps because it makes the content feel as though I am shouting at your audience. Instead, use bold faced text, italics, underlines, alternative colors which compliment your brand’s color scheme, etc. Along with the decorative features, your content needs to show that you are emphatic about spreading the news and helping the reader as well as excited to be writing overall. The more enthusiasm you can demonstrate through content writing, the more you will gain followers and clients.
Now that we have finished our twelve tips of Christmas for the beginning blogger, hopefully you’ll go out and implement a few of these ideas to help improve your online reputation for the upcoming new year. With that said, please feel free to leave your comments or questions about blogging so that we can help you even more!
*Don’t have the time to establish a blog, but want to get one up and running? IMPACT may be able to help! Contact us today to talk about your blogging needs.
If blogging is something that you are interested in but don’t know how to get started, contact us today to schedule your free marketing analysis.