Blogging can form the backbone of a highly effective content marketing and lead generation initiative. It’s great for SEO, a valuable resource for salespeople, and can establish and maintain your position as an industry authority.
But too often, blogs fail to deliver on their promise.
I’ve been blogging for businesses since the early 2000s, before anyone really understood what it could do. My first business blog netted my client a few cool hundred thousands. In the nearly 20 years since, I’ve learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t, and how to get results worth investing in at any scale.
In this six-part series, I’ll share with you the key things you need to know to make your blog everything you want it to be. To get us started, let’s discuss the two primary cornerstones on which you will build your entire blogging strategy:
- Understanding Your Audience
- Defining Your Purpose
1. Understand Your Audience
If you’ve ever sung to yourself in the shower, you know how gratifying it can be. Somehow, everyone is a rock star in the shower.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from having kids, it’s that not everyone appreciates rousing renditions of 1980s pop songs.
Wrong audience. And maybe the wrong voice, but I digress…
Too many blogs speak into the air, pontificating on topics nobody asked for… and in a voice nobody cares to hear.
To get the blog right, start by knowing who you want to speak to so you can actually speak to them.
If you’re not sure, take a close look at your strategic marketing goals. Are you wanting to increase partner activation? Generate leads with a particular market segment? Raise your standing as an industry leader?
Answering that question will help you define who you need your blog to communicate with. You may have more than one audience. Just be aware that the narrower you can be, the easier it will be to break through the noise.
Your audiences might be:
- End users
- Small business owners
- General contractors
- Retail owners
- VPs of sales
- Directors of product
- Or any other definable segment of people
For each audience you want to target, create a persona or audience profile. At minimum, these should tell you:
- What keeps this person up at night?
- What do they want out of life?
- What do they want out of ME?
- How do they speak (i.e., practical and down-to-earth, academic terminology, industry jargon, executive speak, etc.)?
- How much time do they have?
- How much time do they spend reading blogs?
Once you’ve completed this exercise, revisit your list of audiences and determine whether you can effectively serve all of them with the same content. If not, consider targeting one at a time or, if you have the resources, creating more than one blog.
Post your audience personas where everyone on the content strategy and production team can access them, and update them as you learn more about your audience.
Define Your Purpose
If you don’t know what you want out of your blog, you’re unlikely to get it.
A blog can serve many purposes simultaneously, as long as you’re clear about what they are. Here are a few of the most common purposes our clients identify:
- To establish or maintain their position of authority in the industry
- To improve SEO
- To spark social engagement
- To generate leads
- To build a content asset library for sales enablement
- To activate and inspire partners
- To drive traffic to specific actions and/or deeper content
Once you have defined the purpose(s) you want your blog to serve, document them and make the information available to everyone on your marketing and blogging team.
Next up, I’ll introduce you to the 5 types of blog entries you need to understand, and discuss how to align your blog types with your purpose and audience.
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