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Igniting the business of creative on the web.

The key to being recognized as an authority in your industry and becoming a “go-to” resource, is to create a successful blog for your business.

Are you wondering how to start a blog?

Then you are in the right place!

Here’s the deal:

Valuable blog content helps gain trust and loyalty for your brand.

With the right blog article content, you can stand out from the competition as a knowledgeable expert in your niche.

Timely and relevant content helps develops a relationship with your target customer. Eventually, they will come looking to purchase something or hire you for services.

Even better: content marketing gets three times the leads over paid search advertising.

In fact, 70% of people would rather learn about a company through blog articles rather than an ad.

How To Start A Successful Blog For Your Business in 2018
Source: Demand Metric

And here’s more validation, according to the graphic above:

  • 20% of internet users’ online time is spent on content
  • 68% of people spend time reading about brands that interest them
  • 57% read content marketing titles at least once a month
  • 80% of people appreciate learning about a company through custom content

So what is content marketing, exactly?

In a nutshell, content marketing is about telling a story that connects with a consumer. It’s less about selling and more about relationship building through sharing information which solves a pain point.

A blog is the perfect way to do this!

Now, blogging for beginners can be a daunting activity given the commitment needed.

But not to worry; you can prepare for success.

In this article, I’ll help answer the question of how to create a blog, by asking YOU seven important questions to get started.

Let’s get to it.

How to Create a Blog With The Right Goals

The face of marketing changes quickly, especially as technology takes over our everyday lives. Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their business relationships without human interaction.

It’s no surprise that communicating sans this traditional interaction requires consistent online content publishing to convey your message—and market your brand.

The solution is to start blogging for business growth—but with intention.

Blogging for the sake of blogging is not a good use of resources or time.

Unfortunately, you will not just magically end up with a successful blog that drives tons of traffic and new customers.

You need to create clear goals for blogging in 2018 that will give you vision, purpose, and a way to measure results.

Answering these seven questions will get you there.


1. Why are you blogging?

Before you even begin writing anything, ask that question of the hour: “Why?”

Why is it important for you to have a blog?

It’s not just because professional marketers say that blogs are the most valuable type of content marketing…is it?

It’s not just because you are looking at monetizing a blog…right?

If you are only wondering how to make money blogging, do a gut check.

Blogging for business will result in sales. But to start a blog, you need a clear purpose that focuses mainly on the consumer.

A few things you can consider when establishing the “why” behind your business blog:

  • Are you trying to help solve problems or pain points with your blog?
  • Is the blog meant to illustrate your skills or expertise in a particular niche?
  • Are you using your blog to improve your SEO for a certain topic?
  • Is the blog meant to improve your bottom line, or generate brand awareness?
Are you blogging for a specific purpose? Find your 'why' for writing.Click To Tweet

Once you understand the purpose of your business blog, you can better organize and share your content in a way that meets both your business needs and the needs of your readers.


2. Who is your target audience?

Remember the first season of the show Mad Men? The advertising company tries to sell bras from a man’s perspective.

They forgot their audience. Men don’t buy bras. Women buy bras. Their ad campaign had to work for women, not men.

Your blog’s audience holds equal importance.

61% of consumers use the internet to learn more about products and services | How To Start A Successful Blog For Your Business in 2018

61% of consumers use the Internet to learn more about products and services.

To reach them, you need to know them.

And, your audience is not just a two-dimensional man vs. woman. A successful blog is written with a clearly defined reader persona in mind.

To determine your target audience, find out answers to the following questions:

  • What is the sex, age and income of my perfect audience?
  • Where does my ideal audience member work, and what do they do for fun?
  • In what area does my audience want to grow and improve? Do they face challenges and have pain points?
  • Where does my audience get information, and where do they spend a lot of time (online and offline)?

When you determine who your target audience exactly is, learn how to write a blog post specifically for them.

61% of consumers use the Internet to learn more about products and services.Click To Tweet

3. What value does your blog offer?

What you offer your readers goes back to why you’re writing your blog in the first place.

82% feel more positive about a business after reading custom content | How To Start A Successful Blog For Your Business in 2018

82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.

Readers and consumers are not going to flock to your blog unless you have something of value to provide.

For success in digital marketing, you have to give first if you want to receive. This means that traditional, “Buy this!” advertising doesn’t work for blogs.

When writing content for your blog, offer readers something other than self-promotion.

Are you giving them insight that they can’t find anywhere else? Are you solving a problem?

Understand that even if all your blog offers is something intangible like great advice or thought leadership, you’re still giving something. And chances are it’s valuable, not to mention free!

Adding to the online knowledge database is a great step toward building a successful blog. Determine what unique value you can contribute.

82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.Click To Tweet

4. What voice and tone does your blog use?

When you seek the answer for, “how to create a successful blog”, voice and tone play a big role.

How you articulate your brand and ideas is crucial.

Consumers prefer getting to know a business via content marketing rather than ads | How To Start A Successful Blog For Your Business in 2018

As mentioned previously, 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via content marketing rather than ads.

Blogging for business is your opportunity to virtually shake hands and introduce yourself.

If your blog uses confusing language, a boring tone, and an arrogant voice, then that’s the image you’ll portray to your readers.

Choose a tone and voice that matches your brand building and target audience.

SEE ALSO: 11 Simple Steps For A Successful Brand Building Process

If your audience is composed of millennials, then your blog may need to be direct, fun, and personal.

If your brand is an up-and-coming tech company, your blog could be witty, educational, and cutting edge.

Keep in mind that every successful blog is unique.

If the subject of your blog is serious in nature, but your website is lighthearted, it’s appropriate to change your voice to match the topic.

When blogging for branding, always be consistent in writing articles that match your brand in subject, tone, or voice.

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5. How will you measure success?

Building a successful blog can only be deemed a success if you can show ROI.

For some companies, ROI comes back to customer acquisition.

Metrics that illustrate success come back to why you are writing your particular blog, and what you are offering the reader.

SEE ALSO: 19 Important Metrics for Measuring Digital Marketing Success

If you write your business blog to improve your SEO rankings on Google, then the following metrics are important to measure:

  • Blog readership
  • Page rank based on your SEO focus keyword(s)
  • Organic website traffic to the blog page
  • Outbound and inbound link clicks

However, if your goal is to increase purchases of a specific product or service, your key metrics could include:

  • Sales calls to a direct phone number
  • Link clicks on a blog URL
  • Email opt-in sign ups
  • Product conversions

Whatever focus you choose to measure, always create S.M.A.R.T goals. These are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and timely.

It’s helpful to break up goals into tiered time frames: such as yearly, quarterly and monthly. This way, you can meet milestones as you go along and feel accomplished enough to continue.

Assign specific details and numbers to your goals.

Instead of thinking:

I’m going to post content every month to my blog”,

try this:

“I’m going to post one keyword-optimized, 1,500-word evergreen blog article per week for 52 weeks”.

Break up blog goals into tiered time frames: yearly, quarterly and monthly.Click To Tweet

Remember that each blog can and should have different measurements for success, but you should also strive for consistency.

Only by measuring the same key metrics for every blog, can you determine which topics, goals, and offers are the most successful.


6. What action do you want your readers to take?

Every business blogging effort can benefit from a single, often simple, call-to-action.

The action your readers perform is the easiest measure of how to build a successful blog.

Small businesses with a blog get more visitors and leads | How To Start A Successful Blog For Your Business in 2018

When trying to come up with your call-to-action, think about the fact that small businesses with a blog get:

  • 55% more website visitors
  • 102% more Twitter followers
  • 126% more client leads

Your call-to-action can be anything, but it should roll back to “why” you blogged, your target audience, and what you offer your readers.

See how all these pieces always work together?

The action your readers perform is the easiest measure of how to build a successful blog.Click To Tweet

Potential calls to action ideas include:

  • Download a free report
  • Sign up for an email list
  • Register for a webinar
  • Follow on Twitter (or insert other social network)
  • Visit the services page
  • Buy a product
  • Leave a comment

The exact language which make up these CTAs can vary, but the idea is to tell your users exactly what to do when you have their attention.

Going without a clear call to action on your website’s blog design would be a big mistake. Think about it carefully!

SEE ALSO: 5 Most Common Web Design Mistakes to Avoid Right Now

Small business websites with a blog get 55% more web visitors and 126% more leads.Click To Tweet

7. How will your blog gain exposure?

The final secret for how to start a successful blog in 2018, is to remember that your work doesn’t stop after you’ve written your blog.

A successful blog is not one that no one has read. Instead, the goal of every blog should be to gain exposure.

Of course, this requires even more marketing and promotion.

According to Hubspot, companies that blog have 97% more inbound links, but these links don’t happen by accident. Every blog requires:

  • A focus keyword to drive organic exposure from search engines
  • URL backlinking to illustrate your relevance
  • Research and thought leader quotes to demonstrate your knowledge

And after you write your blog, you need to promote it on social media, other blogs, and your website.

Each post will need consistent and persistent promotion over time.

Follow a queued schedule of messages posted to your active social networks.

Promoting your blog on social media | How To Start A Successful Blog For Your Business in 2018

Create more than one social media post message using variations in the headline, image and hashtags.

SEE ALSO: 7 Effective Social Media Best Practices for Business

To make your promotion successful, your blog articles need:

  • a compelling headline/title
  • a focus keyword
  • the right meta description and URL tag
  • shareable content (text quotes and/or images)
  • social sharing buttons

The best exposure occurs when all the pieces fall seamlessly together.

SEE ALSO: Blogging for Beginners: 40 Tips to Grow Blog Traffic

Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links.Click To Tweet

Conclusion

Don’t just throw your blog content against the wall and hope it sticks!

Instead, learn how to start a successful blog for your business after answering the seven questions in this article.

  1. Why are you blogging?
  2. Who is your target audience?
  3. What value does your blog offer?
  4. What voice and tone does your blog use?
  5. How will you measure success?
  6. What action do you want readers to take?
  7. How will your blog gain exposure?

By putting in the time and effort to outline goals and a plan for business blogging, you’ll find a far greater return on your investment. What this simply means for you is more credibility, leads and ultimately sales!

Setting blog goals will give you vision, purpose, and a way to measure results.Click To Tweet

What else are you wondering about how to start a successful blog?

Share your questions or comments below!

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FreshSparks is a creative studio specializing in brand strategy, website design and digital marketing solutions. We can help you start a blog that brings in traffic to your website. Get a free consultation for your next project.

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