blogging 101Businesses just starting out with their blogs often have one (maybe two) chances to woo readers. Blogging is a lot different than interacting with your audience through social media. While it may be acceptable to blurt out a thought or idea on Facebook or Twitter, blog posts need to be more focused and provide useful information. Most importantly, your post should be tailored to meet the needs of your audience and keep them coming back for more.

Make the most out of your blog post by answering these four essential questions before writing your first blog post.

What is my goal with this post?

Every project should start out with clearly defined goals. Blogging is no different. Your business didn’t start itself and surely it did not become established without a great deal of planning and preparation. In the long run, it pays to take a few minutes and establish your business’ blogging goals. At this point, you might say, “That’s easy, to connect with my readers!” While this is undeniably true, do you want to provide your readers with information? Introduce a new product? Talk about the benefits of a service? The goal of your post should be clearly established before proceeding.

Who am I talking to?

It’s important to keep in mind your ideal reader. Is it another business or a customer? Is it someone new to your brand or knowledgeable about your industry? Are they male or female? What type of concerns does your ideal reader have? At what stage of the sales funnel are they? Establishing some specifics about your ideal reader can help set the tone of your blog and tailor the post to your ideal audience.

What problem can I resolve?

People don’t read blog posts to find out information they already know. It’s important that a business blog stays relevant and useful to keep readers coming back. When thinking about your blog post, it is important to identify a problem that can be resolved or a question that needs to be answered. By publishing helpful blog posts that solve problems, businesses gain a reputation for being trustworthy and knowledgeable, which builds loyalty with readers.

What do I want the reader to do after reading my post?

Finally, be careful not to waste a good blog post by failing to add a call to action. What is it that you want the reader to do after reading your post? Should they “like” you on Facebook? Follow you on Twitter? Leave a comment? Schedule a consultation? The biggest compliment for a business blog occurs when the reader takes action after reading the post. Make sure to ask your readers to take that next step by including a call to action.

Are you remembering the reader when you write blog posts? What questions did I leave out?