To be an effective marketing tool, a business blog can’t jump all over the place from topic to topic. Building a loyal readership that will share your content and inspire others to jump on your bandwagon is, in part, the result of choosing a focus for your blog. Your goal should be to become an authority in your niche, and doing that requires fairly tight consistency of topic. Your readers should know that when they need information about x, you’re the go-to source, and they are confident they won’t be bombarded with pictures of y and rants about z. Yes, it’s okay to bring some of your personal life into your blog if you’re a business owner, but your business blog isn’t a diary and shouldn’t come off like one. Your goal must be to provide content that adds value to the lives of those reading what you are publishing.
Having multiple authors can also be a great benefit. If your blog is about widgets, perhaps you have a group of different writers, each with their own Google+ Authorship markup—one who writes about red widgets, one who covers green widgets, and another who’s an expert on blue widgets. By having multiple authors around the various subthemes, you will end up with different styles of writing, which makes it more likely that you will satisfy the varied personas who visit your site. If your only writer is an engineer, for example, the content might come off as dry to some readers. Keep in mind that the writing itself can be outsourced, but the writer personas must be owned by you. That way, someone else or multiple paid authors can “ghostwrite” your content and you get the Author Rank credit.
Depending on your industry, choosing a niche for your blog may be pretty easy or extremely difficult. If the focus of your business is already niche-y, then it’s likely that an overarching theme along with micro-topics will present themselves without your having to do any major brainstorming. But if your business’ focus is broad, then narrowing down your blog’s niche can take some time. The niche you choose may change over time, too, so don’t worry about it too much for now.
Why is this so important?
People who read blogs like to know what they’re getting before they visit your site. That doesn’t mean you have to write about the same things all the time, day in and day out, but you should return to the meat of your niche regularly to keep your loyal readers coming back. For example, a credit union might blog about personal finance—specifically personal finance tips related to banking and individual investing. Sometimes a post about frugality in the home or the value of the dollar worldwide might be appropriate, but generally posts stay within the niche.
Goal-setting for businesses
What kind of goals do businesses set for blogging? Here are a few examples:
- Write 100 posts and drive traffic
- Sign up 100+ subscribers
- Add a podcast and/or video to your blog
- Attract 10 potential clients with the blog
- Create a post series (e.g., “Questions from Customers”)
- Link the blog to your social media profiles
- Run monthly contests
- Get featured regularly on Reddit or collegehumor.com
- Turn a collection of posts into an ebook
- Turn a set of 50 or more posts into a printed book
Accomplishing some blog-related goals takes no time at all, while reaching others can take quite a lot of time and effort. But don’t let the work or time involved stop you from exploring even the most ambitious blog goals, like eventually turning your blog into a book. Why not? Aim high with your blog, but expect to put in the necessary work, too. Blogs are not a set-it-and-forget-it marketing tool.