Mel Kettle is a communications and social media consultant, speaker, blogger, educator, coach, bookworm, obsessive foodie and eatie, and a budding photographer. She blogs on marketing and social media at www.melkettle.com.au. Mel is passionate about working with organisations to show them how to communicate effectively so they can develop communities, share their stories and raise awareness. She particularly enjoys working with people who want to make a difference to other people’s lives. In her spare time Mel writes a food blog, The cook’s notebook.
I’m often asked by business owners and communication managers whether they should be starting a blog, or encouraging their organisation to start one. My answer is almost always a resounding yes, as a business blog is one of the best ways to engage with customers in a way that can add value to them.
However, while blogging for business is a great way to help grow your business, it is a lot of work and a big commitment. Especially for a small business or a business of one. Like mine!
These blogging tips are appropriate for anyone writing for a business blog – whether you are a soloist, a small business, the communications person coordinating the company blog, or the CEO who wants to share some regular thoughts:
- Have a very clear idea of what you want your blog to achieve – do you want it to raise awareness of your brand or a specific product? Are you promoting an idea or sharing outcomes of research? Do you want to encourage a behaviour change? Do you want to use it to help to get to know your community and to strengthen your organisation’s relationship with your community?
- Write a plan for your blog – set some blogging goals and set a rhythm – by this I mean work out how often you will blog. Every day, once a week, twice a month. The frequency isn’t important, but consistency is.
- Work out who is going to write the posts and what your approval process is. If you have a team of writers, set some editorial guidelines around what is acceptable (for example, in terms of language used). Establish a schedule and work out who is going to write about what and when. Make a decision regarding approvals – who has the final say? Who responds to comments?
- Prepare an editorial calendar – this will help you with consistency, help you work out what you are going to blog about, and identify who is blogging when. It doesn’t need to be fancy – mine is just a simple spreadsheet with blog ideas for at least the next month, but usually up to three months.
- Ask your readers (via Twitter, Facebook, newsletter etc.) what they would like to read about. I get GREAT ideas from mine – this blog post stems from a reader suggestion (thank you!)
- Keep your ideas in a central place. I have used a paper file to keep blog ideas in – this might include newspaper or magazine articles, Post-It notes I’ve scrawled thoughts on, flyers or programs for events that look interesting or that I have been to, recipe ideas. I also use the notes app on my phone to jot ideas when I’m out or when they strike. Usually just before I fall asleep… However more recently I’ve been trialling Evernote and I love it. No more lost scraps of paper!
- Read a lot of blogs. I must confess I read far more food blogs than marketing blogs, but they all help stimulate ideas, often in unexpected ways.
- I try to link my two blogs by writing crossover posts, such as my recent posts on bloggers and brands working together that are here and here. I am very aware that not all my marketing readers care as much about food as I do, so I don’t do this a lot. Even though I don’t understand WHY you don’t all care about food as much as me…
- Block out a regular time each week and write. I try to dedicate two half-days a week to power through a few posts. I don’t always succeed, but I do have this time in my diary so I’m committed to it. This way I can have a bit of a stockpile for when I want a break.
- Promote your blog widely using social media and your other networks – consider Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, newsletter, Instagram and more. But that’s another post!
- Have fun! There is no point blogging if you don’t enjoy it.
Do you write a business blog? Or for a business blog? How do you make it easier for yourself? Feel free to share your blog name and URL in the comment section.
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