Thoughts on Starting a New Blog
How do you introduce a new blog in 2015? With over 74 million WordPress installs the web is filled with content, and getting your own website noticed feels like an impossible pipe dream…
In preparation for writing this blog post I have been thinking a lot recently about the best strategies for building a readership on a new blog. Below is a list of three key elements I feel are paramount to successfully getting your content noticed.
Understanding your Target Audience
The most important lesson by far is to understand who you are writing for — and that might not always be obvious. To ascertain your audience, you must first pinpoint the reasons that your are starting this blog. Common reasons include:
- To boost the traffic and SEO benefit to your business’ website
- To generate more sales of your product ( digital or physical) and/or the service your provide
- To generate income from the content directly, through advertising or sponsorship for example.
Whether your case applies to one, none or all of the above, there is one detail that is common to all — that is the need for interesting content that engages and encourages readers to return.
Targeting the influencers of your potential customers generates more traffic, better exposure and trust in the product.
Let’s look at an interesting, but fictitious example; James is a photographer who runs his own small business, and he wants to attract more customers while boosting his SEO presence.
In James’ case, by targeting just his potential customers he is limiting the potential readership simply because on any given week there are many more people who are interested in photography (and all over the world too), than are looking to purchase his services at that time and in his location.
By targeting all lovers of photography, James can gain a much bigger readership, and there is every possibility that those readers will introduce others to his blog that ARE potential customers. So long as the content is great.
Choosing a Topic
The next, but most difficult step is to choose what you are going to write about. I find the search for original ideas a constant struggle, but the first step is always the hardest.
Value / Reading Time = Success
It is important to remember here the value of any article to a reader must be outweighed by the time it will take them to read it. In general readers would much rather read a relevant opinion piece than another ‘we won this awesome new client and look how smug we are’ post.
That’s not to say that by winning a new client, award or swimming certificate that you shouldn’t shout about it (OK, maybe not the latter). Those posts should be shorter — perhaps even just 140 characters. That way you can save a link and drop it in a tweet!
A common choice for a first blog post is ‘About Me’. This is a tempting way to get those literary juices flowing, but try to resist. Once readers are interested in the things you have to say, that is the time to tell them about you — before then, they really won’t have the time or incentive to care.
The Power of Social Media
Finally. You have established your audience and written a killer article. All that’s left to do is release it into the wild. Just hitting publish when you’re finished won’t cut it though — your new blog won’t have any passing traffic yet and without publicity it’s unlikely to build any traction.
Social Media is a must. Twitter and LinkedIn are both great social networks for posting content, however while Facebook can work for some content (read LOL cats and news parodies), for the more professional audience it is likely to do little use. While Twitter and LinkedIn span both business and personal use, despite best efforts Facebook has struggled.
Remember that Social Media works both ways. As well as sharing content yourself, ensure that readers have the tools they need to share the page directly with their own networks. This is where Facebook can come into it’s own — people sharing content directly with friends is a more personal endorsement that sharing with followers or contacts.
There are more things to think about too. Sponsored content can guarantee a certain level of publicity for your post, while for those without the budget researching the best time of day to share your content can sway the impact of a tweet massively.
It is easy for the term content strategy to be down-played as a meaningless buzzword – as jargon even. The truth though is that when everybody on the web is shouting for attention, there is no guarantee that the loudest will prove the most successful. A well considered article, posted on the right platform and at just the right point in time can reach a larger audience than any of the loud-hailing ‘marketeers’ of the digital age can claim.