What are you trying to achieve with your blog? It seems like a basic
question, but unless you have specific aims and goals for your blog,
then you’re limiting its potential. Even if you have a clear strategy
for your blog, it’s worth revisiting this question from time to time to
see how your views and goals have changed, and what progress you’ve
Although you may be able to answer the question ‘What are you trying to achieve with your blog?’ in one or two words (‘Sales’ or ‘Increased reputation’ being a couple that spring to mind), it’s worth brainstorming all the potential purposes and goals, for example:
• Increasing visitors
• Increasing visitor engagement
• Extending your web presence
• Enhancing your reputation/authority
• Providing a personal view of your business
• Informing your visitors (e.g. about company/industry news)
• Attracting potential customers
Once you’ve made your list, order it in terms of importance, and decide on one or two as primary goals, keeping the others as secondary. If you prefer, you can break it down further into ‘Essential’, ‘Important’, ‘Desirable’ and so on.
If your blog’s been running for a while, then try to work out what you’ve already achieved in these areas – it could be as specific as a percentage increase in visitors, or as vague as strongly positive comments. If you haven’t got any achievements for an area, just leave it blank. The next step is to consider how you achieved those successes – perhaps you got a lot of feedback on a particularly controversial blog entry, or maybe you benefited from increased sales on a persuasive or informative entry. If you begin to see a pattern with successful blog entries themed or styled in a particular way, then think about incorporating them more in the future.
If you have a new blog, or have blank spaces next to some of your goals, then have a think about methods you could employ. For example, if you’re having trouble getting visitors to interact with your blog, then set up an entry with a poll – it often generates more interest and takes less effort to vote than thinking of something to say and filling out a comment form. You could even take the opportunity to ask people what they do or don’t like about your blog entries via a couple of simple questions. It may be best to concentrate on just one or two goals from your list at the same time to get a clearer picture.
Even if you’re happy with your achievements, it’s better to keep things fresh and continue to generate ideas and test out new types of content. Whilst many people are fans of the ‘Don’t mess with what works’ strategy, a fresh approach can breathe new life into a tired blog, and you’ll never know if your new idea will do even better than the old one until you try.
Many bloggers hit writer’s block at some point, but armed with your list of aims and objectives, you can work out what types of content you need and then work towards specific titles. For example, if your blog has SEO as its primary purpose, then look at which keywords you’re focusing on and brainstorm ideas around those. If you’re providing a personal view of your business, then think about past events and revisit them with a new slant, and think about how to present upcoming news and events. For older blogs with thousands of entries, this is easier said than done. You might want to do a yearly summary of the most popular/valuable blog entries, and keep track of monthly stats to see which entries have been the most successful.
This exercise also has a secondary benefit – increasing your motivation to write blog entries. Company blogs are often abandoned, so being the exception to the rule can make you stand out in a competitive market. It’s important to set aside specific time to write blog entries rather than trying to slot them in randomly. Some people find it easier to write several at once and then schedule them to be automatically published when desired. One of the easiest ways to abandon your blog for weeks or months is to become disheartened by not having anything to write about, so always keep a list of ideas to hand and update them on a regular basis.
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