If you think about it, a blog is like a conversation. You can share your insights, experiences and describe how you have overcome challenges with people who understand where you are coming from. The key is that you stick to topics that concern your business audience. Leave out the story about the Cheerios getting knocked all over the floor.
Each and every post should provide some value for your target market. Whenever possible, give your readers some succinct take-away information that they can apply immediately. If you are stumped for something to write about, read your industry publications for ideas or anonymously share a personal experience you or one of your clients have had. If it is related to the success of your business, it’s a good topic.
How much is too much or too little? It’s a delicate balance. We recommend that you publish a new blog post at least twice a week. Some companies get away with once a week but more frequent conversations mean they will think of you more often. You could even do more frequent. One highly-rated blog on social media puts out posts 6 days a week. If you are trying to establish yourself as an authority in your field, this level of production may be appropriate.
In general, blog posts should not be less than 300 words and they should not exceed 800 words. Plenty of blogs break these rules but the reasoning behind it has to do with how busy people are and how likely they are to scroll down to continue reading. In this and all writing, ‘keep it simple’ is a good rule to live by.
I know, you are thinking, “When do I have time to write a decent blog post?” Well it doesn’t take very long really if you plan ahead. You can build an editorial calendar that specifies what you are going to write about for each week. You can start by planning out 3 months and go from there. If you have a Word Press blog, you can even add an editorial calendar plug-in that will allow you to write your posts well in advance and then have each one published on specified dates.
Be very careful not to get too careless with your grammar, spelling, and writing style. Your blog is still marketing material. For some businesses, like Copyblogger, it is their bread and butter. Have a friend or colleague read over your posts before they go public. All of us miss small mistakes because our brains read what we mean to say instead of the words on the page.
Just launching a blog isn’t enough. You have to attract readers. You can share links to your posts on any and all social media channels, driving traffic to your blog. You can comment on other people’s blogs regularly so their audiences start to become familiar with you and your point-of-view. There are many other ways that you can drop hints about your blog, even in your electronic email signature.
Overall, publishing a blog is one of the most effective ways you can build an audience. When you consistently share valuable information, people will keep coming back. They will soon consider you to be an authority in your field and, of course, when they have a need for your product or service, they will come to you. Your job is to plan topics that help your audience get where they want to go and quash their pain. If you can do that, and get the word out, you will witness how this tool can expand your network.