So You Want to Blog - Part 1 - Getting Started and Getting On-Track

Date: Monday, December 04, 2017

Yearning to be the next Fred Astaire on paper, with all of those typed words dancing about on the page to hopefully convey a powerful message that will build a mass following of readers?

We find that there are five key pieces to effectively developing your blog strategy:

  1. How to Get Started

  2. Planning for a Series

  3. Integrating a Blog & Newsletter

  4. Makings of an Engaging Blog

  5. Promotion and Syndication

1. Let’s start with… getting started…
A business blog has many benefits, ranging from an improved search engine ranking to increasing customer engagement and satisfaction with your brand. More importantly, integrated with a strong social strategy, your blog can generate insightful data about how your customers interact with you when they’re not engaged in a transaction online or in-store (if you happen to be brick-and-mortar).

A critical issue we see with many business blogs is the lack of consistency and/or a misunderstanding of the value that a blog can bring. As you get started, an important question to ask is: Why is your business creating a blog, and how can you more narrowly define who the blog is written for?

Other things to consider as you’re getting started:
  • Does your business’ current website support blog capability, or can it easily add a blog function?
  • If not, will you use a third-party service?
  • If your blog will use media (images, video, etc.), will the chosen platform support this and make it easy?
Does your blog platform have strong built-in sharing mechanics, or will you use third-party add-ins? 

2. Planning for Your Blog Series

Putting together a blog calendar and series strategy will help make the content generation process much easier. This will allow you to spend more time researching the topics and developing the content to be catered to your audience.

We find the most successful blogs consistently call out who their posts are for and how they will benefit them. Some companies use blogs to better expand on frequently asked questions, policies or common issues they experience in their business, while others use blogs to extend how-to writeups, as well as tips-and-tricks that they have learned within their industry.

If you’re catering your blog to the frequently-asked-questions crowd, a quick moment jotting down the most frequently but complex-to-answer questions can often be a great start to help you plan out several posts in advance.

For example, if you own a local grocery store and you find your customers frequently asking your butcher for preparation tips, setting up a series on meat prep is an easy and great start.

It also allows you to quickly expand the topic into facets such as special kitchen tools and utilities that can provide subtle guidance for your readers to purchase the equipment in-store.

In this example, the content almost writes itself for you! So long as you have solid planning in place, of course.

3. Integrating a Blog & Newsletter
We’ve covered some of the critical aspects of this in our what customers want in a website blogand to that extent, a clear approach in delivering content through your website and social channels is critical.

When your blog is well planned, it makes an email newsletter that much easier to develop. You can include snippets and recommendations within your newsletter that link to your blog. If your blog posts also include any special offers for readers, then you can use the newsletter to promote and increase click-thru rates by encouraging readers to click through and view blog entries that may entice them.

More importantly, your click-thru data will indicate what types of content are of interest to your newsletter subscribers. This will allow you to segment and create targeted lists for your email subscribers, thus generating future offers which are more specific and attractive to those readers. Your readers will appreciate this because specific and targeted content ensures a reader feels like less of their time is wasted when receiving material from businesses they follow.

Include additional links in your newsletter that allow readers to share specific articles or blog posts you mentioned. This allows you to identify popularity and helps guide your content strategy moving forward. More importantly, if you include social sharing options through your newsletter and blog, search engines will pick up on the reference traffic and pay closer attention to your web activity.

One question we often receive is: “Doesn’t that just make my newsletter an email copy of my blog?” Short answer? Not if you’re doing it right. To avoid this redundancy, make sure that your email newsletter includes special incentives or offers different from those featured in the blog, and vice-versa. For instance, if you were planning to offer 15% off a product, try using two coupons or coupon codes split up with 10% in the email newsletter and an additional 5% for blog readers.

Flowerpot has lots of advice and guidance if you're ready to begin making the most of your blog and/or newsletter options. Just contact usfor expert help with your blog, social strategy, or newsletter.

And keep an eye out for the next installment of this series for more tips on blogging!


About Abigail Diskin, Content Manager

With a B.A. in Journalism and a strong background in both communications and creative writing, Abby is the lead writer at Flowerpot. Her passion for words comes through wholeheartedly, as she researches and crafts high-quality content for client websites, blogs, and email campaigns across a variety of industries. In her spare time, you can find her getting her hiking boots muddy in the Columbia River Gorge, blues dancing at the Bossanova Ballroom, or taming imaginary dragons with her niece and nephew.

About Arthur Lapies, Co-Founder

With over 15 years of experience in behavioral science and consumer marketing, Arthur has applied his education and skills to technology, sales operations and project management teams in multiple Fortune 100 organizations. His ability to tap into the consumer mindset and translate behavior into meaningful marketing actions for business owners makes him a key asset to Flowerpot clients. As Flowerpot’s Data Scientist, Arthur leads all aspects of technology, development and analytics. A Pacific Northwest native, Arthur now enjoys the company of the Bay Area’s Karl the Fog and arduous SF city hill climbs with his Great Dane.

About Laura Bakken, CEO & Co-Founder

With over 20 years of enterprise-level leadership in the high-tech industry, Laura’s knowledge of business optimization, sales excellence, change management and marketing savvy greatly benefits small and mid-size business owners navigating their path to success. As Flowerpot’s Chief Marketing Strategist, Laura leads all aspects of client consulting, content strategy and business development. Outside of the office, Laura enjoys gardening with her husband and their chocolate lab, menu hopping through Portland’s foodie scene, and traveling to sunny locales with friends to get a break from the rainy days of the Pacific Northwest.

Tags: Business / SEO / Blog / Blogging / Writing

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