By Steve Lazuka, Zerys for Agencies
You know you need to have fresh content on your website. A blog is an excellent way to meet that goal. But, you need to have a blog strategy in place before you begin. Your blog is one of the tools you will use to attract the right buyer to your website, and this means planning what you want to say—not just for one post, but to determine a direction for the long term.
Strategy vs. Tactics
Strategy and tactics are two different but interrelated concepts. Without a strategy, you won’t know the right tactics to employ. Without tactics your strategy will not be fulfilled. Stanford Smith of Pushing Social defines strategy as:
“…A plan for achieving your objective by leveraging your strengths and exploiting the weakness of your competitors.”
Notice that the first words are “a plan.” This means taking the time to research and develop the concept and objective of the blog; you need to decide exactly what you want it to do for your business.
Parts of a Strategy
Strategies have three parts:
What do you want your blog to do for your business? Attract new customers? Build a community? Be a handy place to editorialize? You decide. If you don’t know your objective it’s like getting in the car and driving without a destination in mind.
You need to know your strengths. You also need to know the strengths of your competition. It’s extremely rare to be the only one in the market with what you’ve got. How is your competitor using their blog/website/social network? What are they really good at? What is their objective and how are they accomplishing it?
Ditto on the weaknesses. Know yours and your competitor’s. You need to know yours so you can improve or work around it. You need to know theirs so you can exploit it. Does that sound kind of mean and nasty? Maybe. But this is business and no matter how civilized we pretend to be, business is a game of winners and losers. Exploiting a weakness will not put you on the side of evil. It makes you strategic.
Things to Think About
Once you have your objective and a list of strengths and weaknesses you need to ponder the following points:
- Audience: who, precisely, are you writing to? Who do you want to attract to your business? Don’t make it too big and general but don’t make it so small you limit your readership.
- Time: Make the time to produce the posts. Don’t leave it for whenever you have spare time because there isn’t any for a business owner.
- Resources: You need to know how to handle your blog on the technical side. This used to mean worrying about the graphic design, email, hosting, and HTML. But there are plenty of free and low cost blog applications available, such as Wordpress and Google’s Blogger, which make creating a blog much more turnkey.
- Support: Can you delegate enough responsibilities to take on the task of blogging?
- Expectations: How long will you give yourself to build an audience and see positive results?
Planning Ahead: The Editorial Calendar
Now that you know what your blog should do for you, it’s time to create an editorial calendar. This keeps you on track with your strategy and keeps your blog churning out posts and ideas. Rather than sit down the morning a post is due and throwing it together, plan ahead.
What do you want to say? Are there holidays coming you want to address? Is there research to be done? How about campaigns in the pipeline? All of those things will affect what you choose to put in your blog, so keep them in mind for your blog strategy.
Another thing an editorial calendar does for you is it combats writer’s block. When you already have an idea what you need and want to write about you more easily open yourself to picking up on ideas and concepts to help you populate that idea and turn it into something worthwhile and timely.
Now that you have your strategy in place, feel free to find tactics to fit. Remember, your blog strategy is the big picture that tells you what the blog needs to do. Only after your blog strategy is nailed down will you know the best way to achieve it.
Steve Lazuka is the founder of Interact Media, creators of the Zerys Content Marketplace and Zerys for Agencies content marketing platforms. Follow Steve @SteveLazuka
Zerys is a powerful content project management tool and writer marketplace that makes it simple to manage any content project from start (strategy planning) to finish (auto-publishing). Zerys for Agencies is a custom, private-labeled solution that allows agencies to manage all their clients’ content projects from one, simple dashboard. Zerys was founded in 2008, and is now used by thousands of businesses and hundreds of marketing agencies.
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