how to build a successful blog

If you own a small business then chances are, at some point you have considered starting a blog for your business. Maybe you hesitated, wondering if it was really worth all the effort. Perhaps you’ve even wondered whether blogging is still viable now that video has entered the marketing scene.

In my experience, blogging is still one of the best ways to add to your inbound marketing efforts and drive more traffic to your website. It’s also amazing for building your reputation as a trusted expert and forming stronger relationships with your current customers.

But while starting a blog is easier than ever, making it a success is a bit trickier. Here are five ways you can build a successful blog in 2018:

Nail Down the Purpose of Your Blog

You probably understand why blogging is useful in a general sense but how will starting a blog benefit your business? Are you trying to establish yourself as a thought leader? If so, then new ideas and high-level overviews are important in your content. Are you wanting to improve your SEO or convert more visitors into paying customers? If this is your goal, keyword research, data and calls-to-action are most important.

You likely want some combination of all of the above. The point is, make sure you understand what the purpose of your blog is and allow that to guide your decision-making going forward. It’s all too easy to throw down some words without any proper goal-planning, and this will get you nowhere.

Be Consistent

One of the most common questions is, “How often should I blog?” And depending on who you ask, you’ll get a wide variety of answers.

Some people will insist that quantity is important and that you should blog at least five times a week. Other people will say that quality trumps quantity and you should focus on making exceptional content less often.

I think ultimately, consistency is the most important thing. Decide on a realistic blogging schedule and stick with it no matter what.

If you can post a new blog every Wednesday at 10 AM, do that and never miss a week. Over time, your readers will begin to anticipate your blog posts and they’ll tune in to see what you have to say. If you have less time, then go for a monthly blog post, but make it stellar with in-depth research and lots of data when appropriate.

Create an Editorial Calendar

Okay, now it’s time to create your editorial calendar. Creating an editorial calendar will feel like a lot of work upfront, and this is why so many people fail to do it. But I promise it will save you time down the road when you aren’t sitting at your laptop wondering what you should write about this week.

To get started, brainstorm about 30-40 topics you think your readers would find interesting. If you aren’t sure, your website and social media analytics can help you narrow this down.You can also use tools like Buzzsumo to find content that had done well elsewhere.

There are tons of different tools you can use to plan your content calendar but my personal favorites are Google Sheets and Trello. Trello is especially helpful if you have a team of writers helping you with your blog. (However, don’t hire writers until you’ve written plenty of posts yourself and developed a voice for your blog.)

I recommend planning your content out for at least three months. And this approach will allow you to batch your content ahead of time. I often dedicate an entire 2-3 days to writing outlines for the upcoming quarter’s content.

Decide How You Will Promote Your Blog

Okay, so by now you’ve started your blog, created an editorial calendar, and created some amazing content. Sadly, your work is far from over at this point.

If you want anyone to actually appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into your blog, then you have to actively promote it. And I don’t mean sharing it on Facebook once and then forgetting about it. You need to come up with a solid plan for promoting your content on a regular basis so that your older content never dies.

It’s best to choose a multi-faceted approach to promoting your blog. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are probably the best social media channels for blog promotion. You can schedule content promotion in your editorial calendar too or try an automation tool like MeetEdgar.. Regularly guest blogging is also a great way to bring more traffic to your blog as well.

Stick With It

This is probably the most important blogging advice of all. Blogging is about the long game and overnight success is pretty rare. Plan to stick with it consistently for at least a year and don’t get discouraged or quit just because it doesn’t seem like anyone is reading. I also run a Medicare blog, and it took me about two years of consistent content production and promotion before I could really see the results in traffic and social media shares.

Stay focused on your vision, producing helpful content for your readers, and keep finding the best tactics to promote your blog. In time, the results will come!

Are you considering starting a blog for your business in 2018? What strategies and tactics are you planning on trying?