Create Your Blog Requirements and Content and Promotional Schedule
Blogging can be an effective way to build thought-leadership, increase website traffic, build brand awareness, generate leads, and improve search engine visibility.
Setting up a blog is easy, but creating an active and engaging blog is more challenging. Running a successful blog requires a strong objective, adherence to a content generation and posting schedule, an outreach program to connect with readers, promotion of blog posts, and general technical maintenance.
Select Blog Objective
Blogging has become so popular that many blogosphere reports stopped trying to count them. It’s anyone’s guess how many blogs are on the web. Recent guesstimates have the number between 100 and 200 million.
Most large companies realized the benefits of blogging years ago, and small to mid-size companies are starting to maintain blogs as well. Why?
Blogs enable anyone to:
- Build thought-leadership
- Generate leads
- Build brand awareness
- Increase website traffic
When a company adds a well-maintained blog to their corporate website, it enables the company to:
- Create relationships
- Enhance its reputation
- Build loyalty and trust
- Promote expertise
- Generate traffic
- Increase search engine visibility
Which of these business goals appeal to you?
Setting up a blog is easy, but creating an active and engaging blog is more difficult. What is the main reason business blogs fail?
Having no clear objective.
Now that you’ve identified your business goals for the blog, start thinking about the objective for the blog. The objective is akin to its purpose, your reason for creating it. What will be the theme of your blog? With so much noise on the Internet, it’s a good idea to start with a very narrow focus. People generally don’t follow discussions spanning numerous topics unless you’re already well known and have the ability to quickly generate a following.
Also consider your blog title, which should match your theme and objective. You’re giving your blog a brand, so think about your voice, tone and general purpose of your message.
Start by writing down the following:
- Business Goals
- Blog Name
- Blog Objective
- Blog Theme
Determine Blog Technical Requirements
After you’ve determined your blog objective, you’ll need to determine what blog software platform to use and where to host it. There are different types of software available. Most are easy to use, but there are different levels of difficulty with setup.
The first decision for you to consider is where to host your blog:
- On your URL
- On the blog provider’s URL
When you host your blog on your URL, you gain more traffic to your site, but you have more setup technical requirements. If you host your blog on the blog provider’s URL, setup is faster and simpler, but your blog URL might be more difficult for people to remember, and it won’t provide much traffic to your main website.
Next, determine which blog software platform to use. Here are some popular options:
- WordPress.com (This is different from WordPress, as it’s hosted on their site, not your own)
The ease of setting up your blog depends upon the platform you select, the location and your technical expertise. What resources do you need? Read through the details of the setup requirements on the website of the blog platform you’ve selected.
Now consider these factors and write them down:
- Installation Location
- Blog Platform to Use
- Technical Resources Needed
Now, consider your design. Would you like your blog completely integrated into your existing site design? Or would you prefer it to be completely different?
Also think about these items:
You can also purchase pre-designed blog themes. These can give you a professional look without any design or coding on your part. Your theme will need to be designed for your blog platform, so search for “blog themes [your platform name]” to view options.
Blog themes might work for smaller companies, but product blogs or established companies should have their blog design support existing branding.
Widgets are the small blocks of functionality that allow you to organize your sidebars. Here are some examples:
What widgets do you need? If you’re not sure, browse some popular blogs to review what others are using.
This should cover your setup. In the next task you’ll determine your writing and posting requirements.
Now, write down:
- Design Requirements
- Widgets to Use and Description
Creating content is one part of good blogging, but you should also make sure to maintain your blog. That means responding to comments, filtering spam, and upgrading your blog platform when your provider delivers new releases.
Your specific requirements will depend on the blog platform you’ve chosen and the hosting location, but here is an overview of items to manage:
|Links||It’s a good idea to use a link-checker widget if available on your platform to update any broken links in old posts. If you’re using WordPress, here’s a broken link-checker plugin.|
|Feeds||Occasionally test your feed, as it’s possible for readers to be unable to view feeds (for no reason)!|
|Blogroll||Are your links still relevant? Are your recommended bloggers still posting?|
|Comments||Unfortunately, the majority of comments are typically spam. Consider using a spam filter and check the comments that get through.|
|Responding to Comments||Are you carrying on a conversation with your readers?|
|Upgrading||Blog platforms are often the target of hackers. When your provider issues a new version, review it and determine if you need to install it. Many times the new versions have updated security features. However, the upgrade process isn’t always simple — if you have widgets installed, make sure they’re compatible with the new version.|
Write down your blog management schedule, consider these points:
- Overall Management Schedule
- Maintenance Item
Once your blog is live, it’s time to build an audience! In the early days of blogging (circa 2003-04), visitors easily found good blogs and followed them. Now, you can’t just go-live and expect followers. You should create a blog promotional campaign.
Your promotional ideas will depend upon your blog’s objective. Today, it’s common for blogs to play a role in an entire digital media promotional plan, which includes:
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Online press releases
You may wish to design an entire launch campaign focused on obtaining an initial following. Then, you can promote your blog via Twitter, Facebook, email signatures and widgets on your website.
If you need more ideas, check out Seth Godin’s 56 tips on how to get traffic to your blog.
Write down how you plan to promote your blog.
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