8 Questions Business Bloggers Need to Ask
If effort = success in blogging, we’d all be rockstars. That’s how I feel, anyway.
The fact is, effort doesn’t mean success if you’re doing the wrong things. If your underlying purpose isn’t clear, then all the tips and tricks in the universe won’t help your blog to grow.
Sometimes it can be good to step back from writing post after post or interview after interview and look at the fundamentals of why you’re doing it, who you’re talking to and how you’re going about it.
I had that opportunity a few weeks ago when I attended a webinar presented by consultant and author Jay Baer, President of Convince&Convert. Jay runs the blog of the same name, which he grew from zero to be ranked No 1 by the Content Marketing Institute in four years. He has also just published his first book, The NOW Revolution, with Amber Naslund.
I wanted other bloggers in our community to have that opportunity too, so I asked Jay if he would do a Q and A for us. And here it is.
You have a highly successful blog at Convince and Convert. What main lessons did you learn on your way up?
It’s a good blog that a very small audience seems to enjoy. In the big scheme of things, it’s not exactly USA Today, but thank you.
The key is to realize that there are 150 million+ blogs. If you try to be all things to all people, you’ll be nothing to nobody. Your blog has to be the FAVORITE blog of at least some people.
If you can keep a tight focus, and really understand for whom you’re creating content, it makes it a lot easier. That’s the main lesson I learned, although I documented 11 others in this presentation.
How long did it take you to become successful – and what is success for you?
I’ve been blogging regularly for four years. It took at least a full year to build any sort of an audience. As a consultant and author, I define blog success as a circumstance whereby the blog serves as the primary inbound marketing vehicle for my company. Other people probably define blogging success differently, and they should.
When you teach new or would-be business bloggers, you give them a blogging blueprint made up of 8 questions (below). Why is it so important to answer these before they write a word?
Blogging requires a tremendous amount of time and energy, and just showing up to the party and starting a blog can be a colossal waste of effort. You really need to clearly understand what you’re trying to accomplish strategically, operationally, and tactically with the blog, and answering those questions helps you do that. I should make a poster of them!
- Why do you need a blog?
- Who will read it?
- How will they know about it?
- What do we want them to do?
- Who will write it?
- What will we write?
- How will we extend it?
- How will we measure it?
What common mistakes do you see newer – or even established – business bloggers making? How can people avoid them?
Caring too much about the wrong metrics is a pretty typical error. Also, falling into the trap of writing too many posts that are exceedingly similar in approach and framework. Not being smart about SEO is still pretty common, even though people are getting better at it.
Can you give us your best, simplest ideas for being productive in blogging?
Be consistent. Don’t wait until you “have something to say”. You always have something to say, you just may not realize it.
If time and money are limited, what is most important to focus on?
Best place to start – as is often said by my friend Marcus Sheridan – is to find the top 20 questions your prospective customers have about your business, and blog the answers.
How is business blogging changing? What are the most important trends?
There are so many blogs now, and you see a lot more company blogs today than you used to see. The big trends are toward multi-author blogs; an emphasis on multimedia (infographics, video, and Pinterest as a sharing tool); and greater awareness of core SEO principles.
Is it essential to have a larger team to run a business blog? Can small businesses manage it too with one or two people?
Absolutely. In fact, from a pure content perspective, fewer authors is better because is produces more consistency of tone, and a better connection between content creators and the audience. That said, you still need enough people to create regular content. If you’re serious about blogging for your business, and you can’t do 2-3 posts per week, you probably should give it up and try something else.
Do you touch on blogging in The Now Revolution? If so what aspects?
We talk about getting multiple employees in your company involved in social, including blogging. We also touch on blogging in the metrics section of the book. However, The NOW Revolution is really a social business book more than a tactical social media book. Much more about organizational change and the culture that makes social success possible.
Which bloggers should we learn from?
Those that don’t parrot the news. Those that don’t waste your time. And those that are unafraid.
What have you done to solve your business blogging problems? What advice can you give to other business bloggers? Share in the comments below.