Starting my blog has been the singular most enjoyable “new” business tool I used in 2012. I have been able to express my viewpoints on a variety of topics directly related to my field of background checks and have also enjoyed covering Small Business and Women in Business issues.
I have to confess....I sort of “jumped right in” when I began blogging. I had started my business Facebook page and was intently working on sharing interesting and relevant content. I found myself constantly including my “take” and opinion with each post. It was suggested to me that since I was already sharing my voice, blogging would be perfect for me.
I became intrigued with the idea, but had never actually read a blog or thought of writing one until then. So one day, as part of my daughter’s Master’s course in Social Media, she set up my blog.
Now I had to no excuse not to start writing! I began with writing an article strictly in my field, but soon found that was too narrow a scope. I chose to extend my reach to Small Business and Women in Business issues, and it has made all the difference.
By expanding my subject matter, I have been able to diversify my client base and attract a whole new market. The focus of my blog evolved beyond just writing the best blog I was capable of writing but became centered on writing a blog that was great for my readers.
So, once You decide that you want to give blogging a try, where do you begin? There are some great free platforms out there you can use to publish your blog (I chose Blogger).
But where do you go beyond that? You Need to Ask Yourself Some Basic Question to Get You Started:
- Who is Your Audience?
Are you trying to reach existing clients or trying to reach new ones?Are you planning to promote your blog solely within your industry or is it going to have a broader reach?
Asking and answering these questions early in the process will really help you with your focus. I decided early on that it was important to me to go beyond the borders of my existing market. This has really freed me to be more creative with my content and expand my potential client base.
- What Do You Want to Share with Your Audience?
This is an important step in your blogging journey. Being focused at this juncture is crucial in creating your “voice” or niche in the market.
You need to determine if you are in it to promote your business, educate your readers, or to make money. It is not that you can’t do all three, it is just that the PRIMARY focus is what you want to shine through.
Deciding this will help you choose your blog topics and really make your blog part of your “brand."
- What Do You Want to Name Your Blog?
The name should reflect your “brand” and/or your company. It should blend in seamlessly with your website, Facebook page, and any other forms of Social Media you use.
I chose to name my blog using my URL (www.accessprofiles.com). I believe that creates an undeniable link to all my social media and avoids confusion.
I also like to use a “tag line” (mine is right under my Blog name) that gives readers a glimpse into the focus of your blog. Choosing these words carefully can help your “search optimization."
- Do Your Readers Have a Way to Contact You Within Your Blog?
Providing an email contact (even one you create solely for your blog) is important. Of course comments left on your blog are appreciated, but your readers will appreciate being able to contact you directly also.
You should also include links to your website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, etc. on your blog “Home” page. Conversely, a link to your blog should appear on each.
You want all your Social Media platforms to work together and make it easy for your clients and readers to find you!
- Do You Have a Plan for Dealing with Comments?
Just like on any Social Media platform, you need to decide how you will handle any “less than flattering” or dissenting comments. My suggestion, don’t wait until something happens to decide on your course of action.
In my blog, I have taken to replying to comments directly on my blog. I wanted that sense of “community” and interaction that I find on Facebook and LinkedIn. This includes those comments that may not agree with my thoughts. Replying is key.
- Finally, Are You Willing to Put the Time and Effort into Your Blog?
The truth is that blogging is not always easy. There will be times that you are “uninspired” and are having trouble coming up with a topic or content. My advice is to plan for those times.
My method is to keep a running list of blog ideas (I use my the “notes” option on my MacBook). Whenever I come across an article or read a comment that gives me pause, I jot down my thoughts. I include a link to the article or paraphrase the original comment.
This gives me “ready made” ideas to combat the times when I am feeling less than inspired. Doing this has made all the difference!
I believe blogging is a wonderful way to reach people. Don’t get all wrapped up in how many comments or views you get. It takes time to build a blogging presence.
Be patient and I think you will find it to be extremely rewarding and, most of all, FUN! Good luck, and feel free to message me with a link to your new blog....I would love to take a look!