Blogging is incredibly popular. WordPress alone hosts some 75 million blogs, and accounts for 27% of all webpages. That doesn’t begin to account for business blogs—companies as diverse as Twitter, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola all run their own. Writing a blog is very much the norm, but that doesn’t mean it will automatically be useful to your business. Before you take the plunge, here are some points you need to consider.
Do you have the time to blog?
The first consideration before committing is time. Posts don’t have to be incredibly long, although research shows that longer posts are increasingly outperforming the 500-1000 word posts that used to be considered the ideal length.Producing even short posts on a regular basis can quickly become a drain on your time that might be better spent elsewhere. Writing a couple of thousand words about a subject you’re interested in is relatively easy—hence the popularity of personal blogs—but expect to devote a couple of hours to producing the same amount of material for a business blog where research, sources, and keywords matter.
Do you have anything to say?
Different businesses use their blog in different ways. Coca-Cola’s blog provides company and product updates, as well as quirky news, and customer stories. These different topics mean it’s an active, vibrant part of the site, and encourages the brand’s customers to read and participate.
Most small businesses are going to struggle to create something that dynamic. When you’re just starting out, your customer base is small and probably not very interactive. The company isn’t branching out over multiple countries and continents, so updates might be considerably sparser. Finding something to say that’s engaging and is going to attract and keep an audience, while remaining relevant to your business, might be more difficult than you imagine.
Who is going to read it?
A blog is written to be read. Unless you have an audience, there’s really no point in investing your time in writing. Obviously at the beginning you won’t have anyone, but your topic should be interesting enough to attract people (with a little help from SEO!). Most importantly, it should be people who could potentially become customers. That means keeping it niche. If you sell custom dog clothes, running a generic animal lovers blog might not be in your best interest, because the audience you’ll attract with a post about caring for reptiles probably isn’t going to have much overlap with people who would actually buy your product. Certainly not as much overlap as a post about Crufts or the best dog parks in your city would have.
What purpose does a blog serve?
Purpose is everything when you’re writing for an audience. When you’re writing for a business, the end purpose will probably be to attract potential customers to your website. The blog is part of your marketing campaign.
Not only should it set the field of your business—be that pet products or soft drinks or international freight shipping—the blog also has to set the tone. An accounting firm is probably making a mistake if their blog is incredibly informal. Likewise a blog by a kids’ toy company is getting it wrong if they don’t use words with less than three syllables.
Consider carefully not only what you’ll write, but how you’ll present the blog, and what you want its end goal to be.
Get the SEO right and your blog will often be the first online contact new customers have with your brand. Ensuring they have a good experience will keep them coming back again and again. Not having one at all is a better business decision than getting blogging wrong.