This is a valid point, and definitely not one to gloss over. It’s crucial to have a solid blogging plan that will carry you through the start-up of a business blog, especially through those first three months when so many blogs are abandoned.
On your blog just like anywhere else, the customer (and prospective customer) comes first, so let’s start with five ways to keep your readers with you and then we’ll look at ways for your company bloggers to stay on track.
Five ways to keep your blog readers with you
- Identify the key topics your ideal customers are interested in. Consider frequently asked questions. Think about where people are in their business or life when they might be considering products or services like yours. Scan similar blogs or other industry publications for recurring topics or themes you can personalize for your own business.
- Use that information to create a clear, focused category list and stick to your categories. Avoid the confusion and clutter that’s caused by creating new categories on the fly as you’re publishing your latest post.
- Pay attention to positive responses. Set up Google Analytics or other monitoring tools to see which topics are being read, opened, shared and “liked,” as well as any direct comments received on the blog or through email. Notice which posts tend to encourage people to spend more time reading other content on your site. Use these insights to create similar posts that give readers more of what they’re already enjoying.
- Respond quickly to any public or private comments. This shows people you’re listening and that you care about their insights, questions and opinions. Try an email-based tracking service like Nutshell Mail or mention to monitor responses.
- Survey your readers, informally or formally, about questions they have or topics they’d like to read about on your blog. You can use Survey Monkey or a similar service, run a poll on a social media page, create a contact form/page on your site specifically for questions (a “Dear Abbie” approach like the Socially Stephanie column), or simply ask people directly.
Five ways for company bloggers to keep on track
- Use your natural energy. Notice when you’re more jazzed for writing tasks versus when you might get a boost from web research like finding photos, ideas or statistics.
- Give yourself the gift of time. Work backwards from your publication date so you’re not trying to start, finish, publish and promote a blog post all in one sitting. Plan for all steps of the process (brainstorming, drafting, writing, editing, formatting, publishing and promoting).
- Read more. Find inspiration from other experts by following them on social media. Reading their ideas will expand your mind and lead your blog in new directions.
- Get out and about. Look for opportunities to mingle with your contacts in person as well. Presentations at events and conferences can stimulate topics for future posts, and so can informal chats in the hallway. Even when you’re not at a business-related event or meeting, if you wear your blogging antennae you can still pick up plenty of blog-worthy ideas.
- Be patient for the long haul. Trust that over time, as you build a goldmine of useful content people can discover when they arrive at your website, blogging will help ideal customers find you, learn more about you, and decide your company is the right choice to solve their problem.
How have you kept on track through a blogging slump? How do you retain blog readers? I’d love to hear your comments!