Many individuals and businesses underestimate the importance of having a blog. Some decide to either not publish content at all, while others don’t invest enough money and time into content creation and distribution.
That’s a huge mistake, though. And your brand and revenue will suffer from it. You might not realize how much you’re losing by not having a blog, but it’s worth creating one to see how powerful it is for building connections and authority and turning visitors and readers into customers and users.
So, let’s see what it takes to start and run a successful blog these days:
1. Select your niche.
You might already have a company or personal website, so adding a blog will mean to just start writing and publishing articles.
But before that, you should define your overall strategy, set some goals, see what others are doing, be realistic as to how much and what type of content you can create exactly (or what your budget is for hiring a team to do that).
Why choose one niche? It’s much better to start with a particular topic and grow from there over time.
The thing is, there are too many blogs that cover all topics at once. Some of them are pretty popular and with tons of articles in their archives, so you can’t aim to beat that from day one.
The smarter approach to getting your blog off the ground is to be strategic about it. The topic you start writing about will be what people will soon connect your name and brand with. So make sure it’s something you know enough about, which you’re passionate and care about, and that’s evergreen and an issue enough people want to learn more about.
2. Make it informative and valuable.
Short blog posts with no actual advice aren’t something that will catch your readers’ attention. In fact, so many sites try this and just create content like crazy but put no time or real meaning in it, that you can consider these spammy. And Google would never rank them high because it wants to put on top only quality pages with enough words and a good link structure.
This means that you should build the right mindset starting today. Accept content marketing as a lifelong strategy and journey, which will benefit your business and authority in more ways than you can imagine.
So don’t go for the quick results.
Even if you pay for traffic, you won’t get the type of audience that you’re targeting. These aren’t the people who’ll pay for your products or services, or who even know what they need.
Also, don’t do it for the money. Irrelevant affiliate links, putting ads in the sidebar, or linking to a product of yours many times in one post is just too much. You’ll make people leave your site and never come back again.
The surest and most genuine way to get the right eyeballs is to write valuable, long-form posts on the topic, and inspire and give practical tips and steps with each.
3. Know who you’re writing for.
There are people out there whose lives will be much better if they find, buy and use your products. They just don’t know about it.
Some haven’t even thought that the solution is what you’re offering, so you need to find them, define their problem clearly and say how you can help.
To get to them, however, you need to know who these people are exactly.
That’s when you should create a reader’s and buyer’s persona.
Who’s your ideal customer? What’s his daily life, career, age, financial status, etc.?
What are his dreams, fears, goals, relationships? Where does he live and what does he want to change about his life? Where does he spend time online and what type of content is he consuming?
Take some time to figure all that out in the beginning, and start writing articles, creating information products (that you’ll give for free), publishing insightful posts on social media, and even paying for audio and video content production at some point.
Marketing research matters and, as you see, you should consider both the demographics and the psychological profile of your ideal customer.
4. Using your blog as a tool to improve your brand.
Make sure your website looks professional, but don’t overdo it. When it comes to a blog, people are there to read, and nothing else.
It’s not a coincidence that publishing platforms like Medium have no sidebars. One of the main elements of great reader experience is a full-width page template, where text is in the center of the screen, and there are no distractions around it.
Take your time when finding and choosing images too. They speak to people on a deeper level than words most of the times.
Formatting plays a big role too. Make the article skim-friendly (short paragraphs, headings and subheadings, bold and italics for key parts, etc.) as most people go through so many posts every day that there’s just no time to read them thoroughly. So they just skim the page to get the main idea. Make it easy for them to do that and they’ll check other pages on your site too.
The language you use when writing must be the right one. Don’t be pushy when talking about your business or mentioning products. Instead, simply include suggestions and links in the right places. After you’ve built trust with free stuff and great advice, people will be more likely to click on these and check out what else you’re offering.
So that’s how you start and run a blog successfully and use it to build a name for yourself.