Today on the North of Eight blog we're going to talk about blogging. We're going to blog about blogging.
[That's a funny word, no?]
We blogs. Honestly we use them all the time - not just here, in this space, but we often reference them when we're trying to learn new things. They're spaces on the big ol' interweb where folks can establish themselves as experts or thought leaders, where ideas can be exchanged, and where audiences can learn a little more about the person or organization behind the blog.
But most importantly, when used properly, blogs can be the single most important driver of traffic to your website. And we love love love website traffic.
If you're thinking of starting a blog, I've assembled this helpful list of things to consider. As with everything we recommend at North of Eight Design & Marketing, DON'T DO IT UNLESS YOU CAN DO IT WELL. Really. Take the time to thoughtfully consider the pros and cons, the amount of time and energy you can dedicate to a blog and honestly examine your writing skills. Writing with personality is encouraged, but if you don't know the difference between "their," "they're" and "there" - be sure to consider the cost of hiring a company to blog for you ( hello).
WHAT ARE YOUR BUSINESS GOALS?
and can a blog help you achieve them?
Some stranger on the internet tells you that you have to have a blog, so you add one to your website and start writing away. A few weeks in you realize you've spent hours developing and crafting content, but you're not sure if it's worth it - because you haven't considered your blog within the larger scope of your business goals.
Are you an ecommerce store looking to make more sales? Increase interest in your new products by writing blogs that speak to current trends, offering your readers insight into the industry you serve and then *gently* plugging your own offerings.
Do you need to increase traffic to your website? Be sure to write blogs that are social media friendly; shareable content that is easily and quickly consumed - promote the heck out of it via your social channels and watch that website user count tick up.
Do you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field? Craft thought-provoking posts that solve problems, extrapolate on current events and offer your readers your valuable insight on your industry or topic.
Starting a blog without your business goals in mind is like hopping in your car and driving around with no destination in mind - it's time consuming and costly...and frankly just not smart.
DO I HAVE THE TIME/SKILLS?
a good blog is tough work.
You need to dedicate time and energy to craft a truly engaging blog, and if you can't give those two things, you're going to have to invest some money.
The WORST THING is when you pop into a website's blog to see the latest article is from 6 months or more ago (#firstworldproblems) - it looks lazy and unprofessional. And I can say this because I'm guilty of doing this too. All the best laid plans are often ruined because life happens. Before you start your trek down the blogging path, be realistic about how much time you're able to commit. Can you only post once per month? Totally fine! Just stick to it. Can you only post once per year? Probably time to look at focusing your efforts elsewhere (or you can hire a wicked awesome marketing agency to help you out...🙋♀️<-- me again).
Also, be very aware that what you write on the internet stays on the internet forever. Seriously. So if you're idea for a blog involves hate speech, bigotry or a string of desperate pleas for an 'Nsync reunion, best keep that to yo self.
HOW WILL I REACH PEOPLE WITH MY BLOG?
a blog with no visitors is like me holding a power tool....useless.
You've set your goals, made a plan and are killing it with amazing content. And then you hear it, softly in the distance...crickets.
Did you know that there are SEO techniques to follow when building your blog content? Have you thought about keywords, readability, page structure, calls to action, social-friendly graphics and the other assorted must-dos?
Are you active on social media and able to share your content to your followers across all your social channels? Have you thought about tossing a few dollars behind some advertising?
It seems overwhelming, we know - but once you get the hang of it, we promise it's not such tough work. At North of Eight Design & Marketing, we really do love blogs. We use them as a way to assert ourselves as experts in our field. We use them to entertain our audiences and create relationships. We use them to drive traffic to this website...the one you're currently on.
If you'd like some one-on-one coaching on blog writing or setting up a blog roll on your website do reach out! We'd love to help!
Emily Gall is the owner/proprietor/head honcho at North of Eight Design & Marketing. With over a decade of experience, she's a strategic communications and marketing professional.