How to Create a Business Blogging Plan

social media how to Do you have a business blog?

Are you ready to start publishing blog posts, but don’t know where to start?

Before you start a blog to support your business, you need a comprehensive plan.

In this article I’ll show you how to create a business blogging plan in six easy steps.

Why Create a Business Blogging Plan?

People who “wing it” when they blog are only setting themselves up for failure. If you are going to put the time and effort into writing a business blog, you may as well make it the best it can be.

istock 014594623 blog keyboard

Follow a blogging plan to ensure success. Image source: iStockPhoto.com.

That means do your research, build a solid foundation and blog on a regular basis. A blog can take some time to build momentum, so stick to it and enjoy your blogging success!

Let’s get started.

#1: Get Inspiration from Other Blogs

This first step is especially important for those starting a blog for the first time. Before you start blogging, find a blog role model. See what a blog you like does well, and conversely, what a blog you don’t like does poorly. This will help you figure out the best way to present yourself.

If you’re going to model your blog on someone else’s approach, be sure they’re blogging consistently and that they’ve been publishing for at least six months. (A year is even better.)

To find a good blog to use as a role model, check out the websites of other companies and search for their blogs. You can seek out the blog of a company in your industry or a complimentary field. Or just go with a company or blog you respect.

coca-cola's unbottled blog

Blogs aren’t always filed under that name on a company’s site. For example Coca-Cola’s blog is titled, “Unbottled.”

Note: Sometimes this area will be called something other than “Blog.” You may find it under “News,” “Articles,” “Tips” or in the case of Coca-Cola, “Unbottled.”

As you explore blogs, find 3-5 blogs to analyze.

Ask yourself why you like them and jot down notes. Be precise in your observations, and highlight things they’re doing that you could improve upon or customize for your own business blog.

#2: Create Your Mission Statement

Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute has a simple, three-part process to define the mission statement for your content marketing, which obviously includes your blog. “The why must come before the what,” he says.

To help you focus, answer these three questions for your blog and business:

  • Who is the core target audience?
  • What will be delivered to that audience; for example, tips, recipes, success stories, new ideas for common problems?
  • What will be the outcome for the audience; for instance, how will their lives or businesses be improved as a result of reading this information?

People can tell when a company’s motive is to help rather than just to sell. Find ways to help your audience through your blog and they’ll keep coming back.

moz blog entries

On their blog, Moz shares resources that help customers and draw in new leads.

For example, Moz sells products that help people “do better inbound marketing.” If you visit their blogs, you’ll see they focus on helping their customers and prospects do things on their own.

Approach your blog as a way to support your mission statement. You’ll want to keep it focused on benefits you deliver to your readers, whether they are current or potential customers.

When you strive to help your audience first, you’ll find yourself living your company’s mission.

#3: Match Your Marketing and Blogging Goals

What are your marketing goals? What are your blogging goals? Did you know that blogging can strengthen or even replace some of your marketing activities?

Overwhelmed business owners and marketing professionals can’t imagine adding one more thing—in this case blogging—to what they’re already doing to market and grow their business. But you can have your blog content do double duty.

For example, use blog content to populate your social media pages. You can also send blog articles to prospective customers as a way to follow up after meetings.

For your marketing plan, it’s essential to find a balance between paid visibility (like advertisements) and earned visibility (such as blog posts that people choose to read and share).

Blogging can help you achieve these common marketing goals:

  • Demonstrate your expertise and/or thought leadership in a specific industry or specialty.
  • Educate/motivate/inform your audience.
  • Gain wider exposure for your business.
  • Build trusting, long-term relationships with customers, prospective customers and your business community.

Determine which marketing goals are most important to your company, and see how you can use blogging to achieve them. Add the above goals (and any others) to your hybrid marketing/blogging plan.

#4: Choose Your Blog Categories

At this point, you should be clear about why your blog exists, whom it will help, what it will do for your readers and what it will do for your business.

Now, choose 7-10 categories that address relevant topics of discussion in your business. Keep your mission statement in mind when you do this. Remember, you want your content to solve the most pressing problems of your customers and prospective customers.

Your blog is like a trade publication for your industry. If you are stumped on categories, think of topics people would read about in a magazine for your business. Use that as a starting point. Also, be sure that each category is something you and your team have the knowledge and experience to blog about for a long time.

disney blog categories

Disney is strategic—and sparing—when it comes to their blog categories.

The Disney Parks Blog has carefully curated its categories to help readers find exactly what they want without offering too many options.

Try to stick with this list for at least the short-term (6-9 months).

Down the line, when you’re tempted to assign a new category to a post, carefully consider whether both the post and category fit with your mission statement and marketing goals. Also figure out if you’ll have enough fresh ideas to keep that category populated in the long-term before committing to an additional category.

#5: Set Your Blogging Schedule

When you determine how often you should publish, refer back to your model blogs. See how often they post new content. Does their schedule seem manageable to you?

There’s no one frequency that’s right for every company. Set a reasonable schedule that you can follow at least to start with. You can always increase the number of times you publish when you’re up and running.

Once you have a posting frequency in mind (every week on Tuesday, or the second and fourth Wednesday of the month), put together an editorial calendar. This document should incorporate all of your categories, seasonal/holiday content and any important events that relate to your business.

Assign a topic and title to each post that benefit your reader and are designed to support one or more of your business goals.

How to Write a Blog Post

Brainstorm ideas based on the topic and/or title in the editorial calendar or a new idea that’s come up for one of your existing themes (categories). Sketch out a rough outline of the post, including possible subheadings and main points.

Fill in your outline. Make sure you get all of your ideas down on paper so you don’t forget anything.

Research your topic online to add relevant links, facts, stats and photos to your post.

Polish and finish the draft of your post, including the photo(s), as well as all of the promotional text it needs (i.e., the post excerpt/summary) and teaser messages you’ll use on each social media platform.

Proofread your post for typos, grammatical errors and readability.

Load your article text, links and photos to your blog platform. Include keywords from the article in the image “alt” text, optimize the post for search engines and schedule the post to publish on the right day at the right time.

Promote your post on social media and notify anyone you mentioned in the post. Generate engagement as you monitor and reply to responses, comments and shares.

Ideally you want to set up your blogging schedule 3-6 months in advance. Note: It’s okay to just have a 4- to 6-week schedule, especially when you are just starting out.

At the beginning of each month, you can review that month’s content and then add the next month into your schedule. Before you know it, you’ll be adding blog content to your schedule like it’s second nature.

#6: Monitor and Evaluate Your Results

The only way to know if your blogging is working is to monitor whether you’re meeting your business goals.

Here’s something to think about in determining which measurements are most meaningful:

  • If your goal is to demonstrate your expertise and/or thought leadership, you should be receiving requests for media and speaking opportunities.
  • If your goal is to build trusting, long-term relationships, you should see a rise in subscriptions.
  • If your goal is to generate new leads, you should be booking new clients or selling products.
  • If your goal is to gain wider exposure, you should see an increase in blog comments, as well as shares, likes and comments on social media.
blog analytics

Track the metrics that relate to your goals.

You may not be able to directly attribute these increases to one specific post or even blogging in general, but there are ways to quantify the benefits of blogging. Track important blog metrics like visitors, page views and social shares.

As part of your blogging plan, schedule time to collect and analyze these measurements, and figure out how you might tweak your blogging strategy accordingly.

Over to You

Starting a blog for your business can feel like an overwhelming prospect. But the benefits clearly outweigh the challenges.

Follow these six steps, and you’ll find that it’s easy to move from planning to publishing. You’ll be blogging before you know it!

Do you have a plan for your blog? What kinds of things did you plan before you started your blog? Did you over-plan? Under-plan? Alter your plan? Please share any tips you have for setting up a business blogging plan in the comments.

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Linda Dessau

Bio: Linda Dessau is the author of Write Your Way to More Clients Online and the founder of Content Mastery Guide. Her hands-free blogging service helps small businesses attract ideal customers. Other posts by »




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  • Deanna Abita

    Thumbs up. I do try to focus on my blog, I think there’s some good simple ideas in this post that I’m going to try out. Thanks

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Thanks, Deanna – let me know how it works for you!

  • http://www.jagerfoods.com/ Nicholas Jager

    Good on point instructions. Having the right content reach the desired audience seems to be a big hurtle. Is there a way to find the people your trying to speak to or do you wait for them to find you?

  • Dhana

    Thanks for share. I’m new blogger and make sure don’t about writing skills too.

    After read this article really get some confident.

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  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Great question, Nicholas! Here’s one way to find the people you’re trying to speak to: Look for related communities that already exist in the various social media networks – in some cases that could be the followers of a particular company or expert, or members of a particular interest group. Then find meaningful, relevant and helpful ways to have a voice in those communities. When it’s appropriate, answer a question or share content that adds to the current conversation in a way that fits the culture of the group.

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Thanks for your comment, Dhana. Good luck with your blogging!

  • http://jeffkorhan.com Jeff Korhan

    Hi Linda – Nicely done. Comprehensive and easy to follow.

    I believe the content marketing mission statement is vital. Wish I had know about it when I got started!

  • http://www.alittlebranding.com/ Bob Strassel Jr.

    Great tips for any business Linda. Especially practical and easy to follow for a small business owner, will share with a few. Thanks.

  • Ruth Barnard

    Excellent post and perfect for any business owner, large or small :)

  • Andrea

    This is great advice. Clear and comprehensive. Thank you Linda.

  • http://www.studionec.com Peter Mitchell

    This is extremely helpful. I’ve found that not having a plan starts off with having loads of enthusiasm and ideas, but if you don’t organise yourself or at least keep a strategy of what you’re going to write about and stick to a schedule then you will fail.

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Hi Jeff, thanks for the comment and kind words. Always wonderful to see you :)

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Hi Bob, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate you passing the post along.

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Thank you, Ruth!

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Thanks, Andrea, I’m so glad you liked it :)

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Hi Peter, that’s so true! And sometimes the opposite is true as well. People may not automatically have the enthusiasm for blogging or awareness of how it could help their business – a plan can help light that fire :)

  • Dhana

    Thank you Linda.

  • Dan Lunt

    I’m in the process of creating a WordPress website and blog for a new company that happens to be in an old industry. In a previous life, I had a fair amount of marketing experience, but I’m a little beyond my 30’s and have struggled a bit with the whole social media / blogging approach. I do, however, understand the importance of using the best tools to reach and serve our customers. I read your post with interest and will use it as a guide to create my plan. I’m looking forward to a new adventure.

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Thanks, Dan. Congratulations on jumping in and embracing these new tools. Best of luck with your new website and blog – please let me know how things are going as you progress!

  • http://www.likebulbs.com/ Eugene Than

    Hi Linda, thanks for sharing.

    Any idea the average time for business blogging generate leads and convert to sales?
    Base on your experience, how long is the cycle?

  • http://www.bloggingfromparadise.com/ Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Linda,

    Getting inspiration puts all into motion. Get clear on who you want to reach and look at industry blogs which rock. They’ll move you in the right direction.

    Thanks!

  • Cynthia V. Anderson

    Your message of “Your blog is like a trade publication for your (my) industry.” was the WOW moment for me. Writing that on a post-it and sticking it to the monitor.

  • Nikko

    Thanks for sharing this Linda! I used to blog for personal use and now I realise that I could have done more about it. I’m planning to start a new blog with a fresh perspective (thanks to your definitive tips).

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Hi Eugene, great question! I don’t have a blanket answer for you. I typically advise people to blog consistently for at least six months to get a true sense of the impact – and also to get into a good rhythm with the task.

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Thanks, Ryan!

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Thanks, Cynthia – glad it spoke to you!

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Great, Nikko! Good luck with your fresh start :)

  • http://www.nicebloggingtips.com/ Rohit Singh

    Great blog post and I completely agree about your views and yes making blog with stands out matters

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Thanks for your comment, Rohit.

  • http://www.kamkartway.com/ KAM Motorsports

    I work with my husband and daughters in our family business
    that has 4 separate, yet equal divisions.
    It reflects the industry – Motorsports – and grassroots racing such as
    at our level of Dirt Kart Racing has a very unique and diverse audience. I
    think that our situation totally benefits our audience (ie: karting customers,
    youth sports families, Moms, Dads, B2B (our advertisers, sponsors & other
    like businesses), race enthusiasts, fans, Crew Chiefs – race teams in general –
    and Drivers). We have different blogs to
    match each person’s persona and degree of expertise. The Dirt Life with Kaley Engstrom Racing is
    our youngest daughter’s and my husband’s is Shop Talk and I write under our
    track’s blog site but also have my personal one in the starting stages “Attention
    in the pits…”

    Since our business is family run and family focused is it
    okay to link all of our blogs on our business site? And if so, how to I inspire
    my “associates” to commit to a blog schedule?

    Your post was very helpful and I found it beneficial for my
    needs. Thank you for writing and sharing
    it!

  • http://www.kamkartway.com/ KAM Motorsports

    This is new to me too as is WordPress, which I basically taught myself how to do over the last year. Dan you and I were doing them back then, they were just called Press Releases and inter-office memos. ;)

    Best of luck!
    ~Kelley

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Thanks for your comment! I’m so glad the post was helpful. It certainly sounds appropriate to link to all four related blogs from your main website. Perhaps you could create a graphic for each blog with the title and a tagline that conveys the specific focus or perspective.

    As for getting your other bloggers on a schedule, I suggest they each read this post and that you have a blogging plan and calendar for each blog. Then you could set up weekly or monthly blog meetings to touch base, brainstorm topics together, and be accountable to meet the due dates in each calendar.

    Here are a couple of posts about blogging consistently – these may be helpful as well:

    http://www.steamfeed.com/5-ways-avoid-dreaded-blog-fade/

    http://www.contentmasteryguide.com/2012/09/the-secret-to-blogging-consistently.html

    Good luck! Please keep me posted on how it’s going.

  • http://www.likebulbs.com/ Eugene Than

    Thanks, 6 months sounds good : )

  • Dan Lunt

    Thanks Kelley for the insight. I’m sure you’re right. I just need to adjust my thinking to a slightly more conversational tone…

  • Lisa

    Really useful post, thanks so much! One question I’d like to ask is if there are any examples of how to present the analytics in a clear and concise manner? I’d like to make sure we’re properly measuring the ROI.

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Hi Lisa, thanks for your comment and question. Google Analytics offers many useful and free reporting options – you can customize them in a wide variety of ways that match your particular business and marketing goals. You may also want to check out this service from Visual.ly that emails a weekly report of very basic website analytics: https://create.visual.ly/graphic/google-analytics.

  • http://www.beamoneyblogger.com/ Muba Mi

    There is a big difference between a plan of a personal blog and a business blog. In personal blog you fully exploit your strength to overcome your weakness and to achieve success. But in business blogging you just aim to promote your business with your blog so you pick the audience that actually is audience of your business and promote your products at your blog.
    Thanks for sharing a wonderful post on developing a business blog plan.

  • http://www.contentmasteryguide.com Linda Dessau

    Thank you for your comment, Muba. It’s true that many personal blogs are devoted to personal growth and development. Others are to explore a hobby or just share their work with the world. All are very different than the goals we set for business blogging.

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