in today’s world of social media inundation, many business owners are feeling the pressure to jump into the social computing space by starting their own blog.  with 58% of the united state’s internet population (128,000,000 people) expected to be reading blogs on a regular basis by 2013 (source: emarketer), it’s easy to understand the motivation.  before going on, let’s get a sense of how many of those reading this post currently have a business blog:  

from a marketing perspective, particularly from the pov of attracting inbound traffic and leads, starting a blog for your business is a wise move.  most businesses’ digital footprint is primarily comprised of their website.  organizations that are more “digitally inclined” supplement their online presence via blogs, social networking and social media (blog, twitter, facebook, youtube, etc.).  blogs in particular, have taken on an increasingly important role in businesses marketing and communication efforts.  not only do they offer a useful communication channel for companies, they also serve as an important tool for marketers by making sites more discoverable (aka findable) online.  how do they do that you might ask?  well, search engines like google, look favorably on sites that offer new and fresh content vs. those sites that sit static for months/years on end.   by creating a blog and actively posting new blog content, you can favorably influence your company’s ranking in organic search results.

so, the beauty and benefit of a business blog, given the above, is pretty evident.  that said, developing and maintaining a blog takes a lot of work.  before cavalierly jumping into the world of blogging because it’s the latest thing, it’s important to evaluate whether you have both (a) time and (b) people to start and maintain your blogging efforts.  there’s nothing more off-putting than visiting a blog only to find out that it hasn’t been updated in months.  if you can’t commit to ongoing nurturing and feeding of your blog, you’re better off not starting in the first place.   however, if you’re committed to dedicating the time, effort and resources necessary, a blog can be an invaluable business and marketing resource.  below are a few areas to ponder as you consider your blogging next steps:

  • who’ll be writing blog posts? do you have more than one person that can write blog content?  if there is only one person with the insights, experience and ability to develop content for your blog think about how you can carve out time for they to develop blog content on a regular basis.  if you’ll be leveraging several people to contribute content to the blog, identify someone who can work with these individuals to ensure they develop content aligned to your target audience’s interest(s).  consider developing a publishing scheduled with assigned topics and authors.
  • where will your blog live? there are several blog platforms available … some free, some that cost.  as you research your options, think about the following; how many people will be writing blogs?  how easy/intuitive does the platform need to be?  do you want the blog to live on your domain?   some platforms to consider: wordpress, blogger, hubspot.
  • what will you write about? your goal should be to create blog content that will appeal to your target audience(s).  it’s best if the subject-matter of the content is something you, or your blog contributors are passionate about because that passion will come across, engage readers and be easier to write.  blogs are a 2-way communication tool, so any topics that spark conversation, questions or opinions are great blog fodder.  as discussed in bullet #1 above, consider developing a publishing calendar and outlining topics to be covered to ensure subjects of interest to your audience are covered.

for more information on starting a business blog, check out this inbound marketing university webinar,  how to blog effectively for business.