Business Blogging, Part 2: Your Content Has Issues
If you’re like a lot of bloggers, you may have started blogging before you’d thought beyond a couple of posts. If it’s a choice between starting before you know what you’re doing or never getting started because you haven’t figured everything out, I’d encourage the former. But for a blog to benefit your business, it needs to focus on what your customers want to know or would find interesting. Google rewards more focused content. If you’ve got lots of posts about solar panel installation and maintenance, for instance, your blog will appear higher in search results for those items than if you have only a few posts about them.
One sign of lack of focus is a frequently changing tagline, trying to find a line that pulls together disparate, unfocused posts. Or, if you have enough self-awareness to know that your posts are going to be all over the place, you might plan ahead and make the tagline something like, "Global Warming and Other Stuff I Find Interesting." If so, you have plenty of company: lots of us have been there.
The thing to keep in mind is this: business blogs are not about personal exploration. You’re trying to provide content that your customers will find when they search for your products and services. And once they find it, you want them to decide there’s enough value in what you have to say that they want to subscribe and come back to read more.
So, how do you find the focus for your business blog? Before you begin blogging, sit down (with someone else who knows your customers, if possible) and make the following lists, as they relate to your products or services.
- common problems your customers face
- common areas of confusion for your customers
- interesting developments in your industry that customers will care about
- areas where your business provides the greatest value
The things that appear on those lists are what you should be blogging about, almost exclusively. After you’ve made the lists, try to determine what search keywords and phrases might be associated with each list item, and make sure you use those words in your posts. Review the lists and modify them as necessary over time. Things change, and you want to keep up. But more importantly, reviewing them (at least weekly) helps you stay focused and helps you develop new ideas for posts that will speak to your market. And if 95% of your posts are on track, an occasional offbeat post isn’t going to be a problem.
You might think this kind of discipline sounds like "no fun," and that your creativity will be stifled. But in fact, this approach does not preclude fun or creativity. It simply channels your creativity into something your customers will want to read: something "on topic."