Blog Strategy for Beginners

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by Sarah Warlick, content director

blog strategy for beginnersPublishing a blog is one of the building blocks of a solid content marketing strategy. For professionals who deal in specialized knowledge, this is a key foundational step to building recognition and respect in the niches you serve. Some firms that understand the need, however, are still hesitant to begin – often because they simply don’t know how to start.

The best approach is to assess potential topics and lay out an editorial calendar right at the outset. That doesn’t mean you’re locked in – subject matter and publication dates can be adjusted as necessary or appropriate. For example, new developments might mean you address an unanticipated subject quickly to provide crucial information and reap the SEO benefits of a hot topic, bumping planned articles until another time. Even so, having a plan in place will make it easier to stay on track. Sharing a few posts and then letting the blog sit idle for months defeats its purpose. Begin with a plan for how to follow through and keep the blog active.

First, figure out what you’ll write about and brainstorm blog post topics relevant to your audience. What questions and concerns do you hear from clients most frequently? What potential changes in legislation or industry may affect them? Jot down ideas as they come to you but don’t worry about specifics for this master list; you can refine concepts and narrow topics at a later stage.

Next, put together a simple calendar, matching topics to dates. It’s best to publish as frequently as you can without detracting from client work. However, it’s important to be realistic so that you don’t feel overly pressured or fall behind. Start at a rate you’re confident about and when that’s successful, revise the schedule to publish more often. Choose a day of the week or point in the month that works with your firm’s workflow and commit to publishing on the schedule you’ve selected.

Another thing to consider in scheduling topics is balancing articles that benefit all clients with those that address a particular segment. This often has the added benefit of distributing writing responsibility between several team members at periodic intervals. Figure out your pattern and start making writing assignments from the list of topics you’ve created. Who should tackle each topic? Consider writing ability, subject matter expertise and availability. Keep in mind that the author can set up interviews or written questions to get information from someone else at the firm who has the knowledge but lacks the time or is uncomfortable with writing. This strategy lets you share the load as well as educate internal staff in the process.

Here are a few pointers to remember as you go about making your blog a reality:

  • Quality is key. Don’t try to stuff keywords or sell the firm in these articles. Blogging is about giving readers information they can actually use, and your SEO results will largely be based on how valuable your information is. If articles read awkwardly or are blatant sales pitches, they won’t be very effective for readers or search rankings.
  • Limit length. Blogs are meant to be snack-sized bits of information, not deep dives. Aim at giving a broad understanding of a somewhat narrow issue, and those who want to learn more can conduct further research. Something between 300 and 700 words is about right. You can always break topics into more narrow ones – or write a white paper or even a book if the subject matter requires more detailed treatment.
  • Don’t forget to proofread! Every single post should be proofread and edited by at least one person besides the author, to avoid inevitable typos and make it as good as it can be. Even the best writers make mistakes, and proofing your own work is virtually impossible.

Your blog is going to be great, so stop hesitating and start publishing. Just make sure to follow the steps above and you’ll be on track to win readers and respect as you demonstrate your knowledge. Go team!

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