I started scratching out blog posts almost five years ago, and I’ll admit I’m excited to hit post #1000 at some point next year. Along the way it’s been fun to build great relationships, learn, share information, earn some new clients, get speaking gigs and gain attention from local and national media. There are surely many ways I can improve, but I am proud to say I’ve had staying power thus far, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two about running a successful blog for business.
The truth is so many blogs start out strong, but then drop off the face of the earth for one reason or another. Yes, there is a season for everything, so inevitably some blogs will die. That’s okay. Yet if you want to have stamina and find success for your blog, I might suggest considering a focus on the following core issues. These are things I believe are key ingredients for a successful blog. Enjoy.
5 Essentials for Running a Successful Blog for Business
1) Be original: Take the time to craft your own thoughts. Who are you and what do you know that will help or entertain your audience? Let readers get a sense of your personality and expertise. Share photos, video or words. Do what works best for you and your readers, and be sure to not copy and paste other people’s articles and consider them posts.
2) Know your audience: Who are you writing for? What types of people and business do you want to attract? This is your target audience, and each post should keep this group of people in mind. You are not doing hardcore sales, but rather focusing on providing helpful information (be a resource). What questions are your clients and potential clients asking? Share information like this by posing an issue and then simply providing the answer. In fact, check your sent email folder for post ideas because you’ve probably already answered some questions recently that can turn into fantastic posts. Remember, each post doesn’t have to be home run, but if you get on base here and there, eventually you’ll score runs over time (connections and business). If you cannot quickly say who you are writing for, it’s time to give that some thought. My audience? I write for real estate agents, home owners and the real estate community in general.
3) Be consistent: Having a regular blogging rhythm is important so readers can know when your posts are going to show up. I write two to three posts a week, so my subscribers know what to expect from me. I know multiple posts each week would be exhausting for some, so I might suggest starting out with once a month, bumping it up to twice a month and then maybe once a week. If you want to be dominant in your niche online, you simply have to find the time to create new content and do that with some sort of frequency – even when you feel too busy. Remember that regular posts keep you in front of your target audience, they build your expertise and search engines like to see fresh content.
4) Get organized: I would not be able to write regularly if I woke up each day and thought, “hmm, what should I write today?” This is why I created a blog fodder sheet that helps keep 10-20 post ideas in front of me at any given moment. This single-page as shown below hangs in my office on a cork board behind my computer screen, and I use it to jot down post ideas whenever I have them. I also keep a few folders on my desktop called “Things I’ve seen lately” and “Market Trends” to help keep a running group of photos and stats that might work at some point for future posts. When you get into the rhythm of blogging, you’ll start to think, “oh, that’s going to be a great post”, and you can simply save a photo or thought for a future time when you’ll actually write it. This system is simple and it’s worked extremely well for me to be more organized, save time and stay focused on my target audience. Download blog fodder sheet on Slideshare.
5) Get Face Time: Part of being successful online is finding ways to connect your business offline. Blog posts, tweets and Facebook statuses can be great for connections, but it’s also important to be intentional about getting in front of clients regularly. Yes, I mean in person. Go to lunch, join a committee, serve on a board, give a presentation or drop off coffee and scones. Just do something. As an example, this year I made it a goal to teach classes and speak in at least one real estate office per month (I ended up doing two per month), and I’ll say it was very good for business. Why? Because I was able to share helpful information in person, answer questions and build connections. In all cases strangers became acquaintances at the least, but in some cases they also became blog subscribers and then clients.
Did I mention anything revolutionary? I’ll be the first to say no. That’s good though because it means virtually anyone with a little focus and intention can be a successful blogger. Yes, it is a time commitment, and I won’t water that down. But putting in the time to become a dominant trusted force online can be profoundly rewarding (and fun).
Thank you: By the way, thank you to all who have subscribed and followed the conversation on my little corner of the web. I’m humbled by that and I greatly appreciate it. If you’ve been tinkering with blogging yourself, send me an email or share the link below. I’d love to see what you are doing.
Questions: Any other blogging essentials or tips to share? What have you learned along the way? Also, do you have any creative ideas for me on post #1000?