When reporters write a story, they use the “5 W’s” (Who, What, Where, When and Why) to make sure they cover all of the important information.
Coincidentally, the same 5 W’s should be considered when setting up a blog!
What does it take to set up a blog? Assuming you already have a website, you may want to discuss the logistics of adding the blog to your existing webpage with your webmaster. However, before you sit down at the keyboard, let’s get the 5 W’s of your blog straight.
THE WHO: Who will write the blog? If you decide to have a blog, someone must write the posts. The answer to this question will depend upon your resources and your ultimate goal. You yourself could do the writing, you could assign it to an employee or you can outsource it to a freelance content writer. I myself provide blog posts for several clients upon request or on a regular basis. Sometimes they provide me technical information which I fashion into an “audience friendly” post or I concoct a piece from an interview source provided by the client. Sometimes, clients write some of their own blog posts and have me craft more complex ones. Since blogs should be done consistently to develop a relationship with the audience, it is important to have a plan for continuity of posts.
THE WHAT: Purpose of the Blog What will your blog look like? What is its number one objective? Do you want to promote upcoming sales and promotions or educate your readers about your products? Will you position yourself as a thought leader on a particular topic? Will you express your viewpoints about developments in the industry? Whatever your purpose, keep it consistent so your readers know what to expect every time they log on.
THE WHEN: Frequency of Posts Some companies start out with the best intentions. I’m going to post a blog every week, they say, and it turns out to be every month. It’s important to set the bar high for yourself, especially at the beginning. Write it down and try to stick to your goal. Just like setting a goal for dieting or exercise, you may fail along the way, but at least you have a metric for success.
THE WHERE: Editorial Calendar The “where” of your blog refers to the platform where it will “live”, either your website or a hosted site like blogspot or wordpress. It also refers to your editorial calendar, which determines where your blog will take your reader. Wherever the destination, having an editorial calendar is like a roadmap to get you there. Create a chart with the desired posting dates for the calendar year, then take some time to develop ideas. The calendar does not have to be set in stone. For example, if there is a development in your industry that warrants a post, the topic can supersede the originally scheduled piece. The purpose of the calendar will tell you where you are in your blog plans and where you will post throughout the month.
WHY Why Do I Need a Blog? When I tell clients they need to add a blog to their website, often they want to know “why?” After all, blogs are a lot of work and to be honest, the ROI can be difficult to calculate. Yet, there are many reasons like these below that can make having a blog on your website a very important part of your overall marketing strategy. I actually came up with 10 great reasons to have a blog.
- #1 Reason to Have a Blog: To Drive Website Traffic!! This is perhaps the most important reason to have a business blog. Hubspot reports that businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than those that don’t! This is how it works: if you are clever enough to write on an edgy, very desirable topic, those searching for information on the subject will stumble upon the keywords as they google for information, and be brought right to your blog post on your website to learn more. That’s why it’s also a good idea to include keywords in your blog that will take readers to your relevant interior web pages.
- To increase search engine optimization. Adding a blog actually improves the quality of your site in Google’s eyes. In the rankings, Google favors websites that post fresh content on a regular basis, as well as those that are visited more often.
- To position yourself as a thought leader. The words “as I say in my blog,” say a lot about your expertise and your commitment to your industry. Your blog posts become intellectual property that can be used to educate and motivate others.
- To leverage the information. Sometimes, blogs become the basis or informational outline for something greater—a book, a presentation, a white paper or downloadable report. Writing a book, rather than simply a blogpost, is the next step to becoming a “thought leader” on a particular topic or building awareness of the business you operate.
- To answer your customer’s questions. One trick to coming up with blog topics is to answer those questions you get continually from your customers. These answers demonstrate what information customers may be searching for on the internet. If you provide them in the blog, the result will be increased website traffic and potential new business.
- To share on Social Media. Always announce your blog posts on your social media, even if it is just on Linkedin. Include a link to the post and watch your website traffic stats rise.
- To use in your newsletter. Many customers use their blog post as the lead story in their corporate newsletter. A snippet, included with a “read more” link to the website, will bring the subscriber onto the website for further interaction with your company.
- To use as an emotional release. As long as the emotional tirade is appropriate, a blog can serve as an emotional outlet for the writer (and/or the reader!) about a certain, industry-related topic. It’s completely ok to espouse a strong corporate opinion in a blog, especially if your position is controversial. Just be ready to reply diplomatically to all the dissenting comments that are sure to follow!
- To invest your employees in the company. Depending on your situation, allowing employees to participate in the blog can give them a feeling of “investment” in the company. Provide a small bonus to the worker for each post and you will have a more willing participant!
- To build your brand. If you’ve determined what your company stands for, the blog is a great place to drive this brand awareness forward. Writing dedicated posts about the way you do business and why can bring the reader closer to your business. Try blogging about your business process or your core values as they are applied to the industry.
So there you have the 5 W’s of putting together a business blog. As a freelance content writer I regularly help companies come up with editorial calendars and stick to them by creating custom content. If I can help you with your blog, please contact me at 630-778-6182.