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October 17, 2013

Blog tips: What do I write about?

In answering this question, we'll take you through a blog strategy in five phases:

  1. Goals
    Base these on your businesses goals to make sure all digital marketing assets are aligned
  2. Strategy
    Positioning, management, permissions and rights
  3. Technology
    Options available to publish your blog
  4. Content
    How to determine what to write about
  5. Implement
    Get ready to launch

Phase 1 - Setting goals for your blog
Ask yourself, what is the essence of the business? What is the businesses purpose? Write that down.

Example below: Year one's goals broken down and detailed

Blog goals infographic - setting goals for your company's blog

Phase 2 - Have a strategy in place for producing content

Successful blog hierarchy infographic, in other words, how to set up your company's blog infrasctructure

Have an editorial hierarchy as to who owns the blog so that the editorial decisions are consistent in inline with the overall company policies.

Phase 3 - Pick the right platform for your blog

Do you use an existing framework and technology like Blogger, Wordpress or Drupal? Or do you build a custom blog platform for your business?

The answer to this question depends largely on resources and the objectives for your blog. A custom built blog would mean complete flexibility and control over the user experience. However, this comes with a price tag.

Using blogger for example is free and will suit most company needs. These existing blog sites come with tools to help you customize the look and feel of the blog template to match your company's brand.

Phase 4 - What do you write about?

I usually break this down into steps and start by asking these questions:

  • What are we aiming to do with the blog?
  • How are we doing this on the web?
  • Who's in charge?
  • How do we measure success?

From these answers I'll go into 3 steps.

Step 1: Define your company's niche

  1. Define niche and define key topics to cover and assign these topics to contributors.
  2. Start by figuring out where your company's expertise is? This will determine what the niche focus of the blog should be.

Step 2: What is your competition blogging about?

  1. Research competition.
  2. Do they have a blog?
  3. What are they talking about?
  4. What are they not talking about?
  5. Define a strategy.
  6. Go out and find out if anyone else is already blogging on this niche.

Step 3: Define key topics

  1. Pick 6 topics or categories to be addressed.
  2. Refine these topics by using tools like Google Adwords' Keyword Planner to find what keywords or phrases your target audience is searching for. This will help you find what specific topics to write about. What you audience wants to know.
  3. Another useful topic generator is Google's "Suggestion" feature. Start by typing a question in a google search box on Google will automatically fill in the question with the most popular searched for topics.
  4. Write these topics down and assign them to the content manager.

Seeds of inspiration for blog articles
Figure out what you know, and how you can share it with others.

  • Answer questions.
    • What have prospects or clients asked? Those are great blog articles.
  • Ask questions.
    • Send out a survey asking clients and contacts what they want to know more about in the field of your expertise. Sweeten the pitch by offering to mention their name and business in the article.
  • Write tips, tricks, and tutorials.
    • Good spot to create a webcast video.
  • Comment on hot news items.
    • Jump on these immediately.
    • Offer perspective, thoughts, opinions, and facts that align with your company's goals.
  • Quote others and then contribute your own view.

Phase 5 - Implementation

This is when you'll brand the blog to align with the company's brand standards. Prepare to publish the blog.

  • Create 50 posts.
  • Post 25 of the posts 3-6 months before launching the blog.
  • Have a bank of 15 draft posts.
  • Launch the blog in the middle of the night.

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