I meet with a lot of businesses and individuals that want to start a blog.
Even though blogging has been around for about 20 years while becoming really popular about 10 years ago, I would say that now we’re getting into the maturation stage.
This is when blogging becomes almost expected for businesses. There are a few reasons to have a blog beginning with the fact that if you have a website it will often just sit there without anybody seeing it. A blog, over time, helps bring people to your site. It gives them a reason to visit your site.
But anyway, you probably know the reasons to start a blog. That’s why you’re here looking for how to get started.
And I think the first 10 posts are important. Why? Most businesses have about five ideas for blog posts. And after that it gets more challenging. And most businesses can write about five blog posts. Then it gets more challenging.
If you can make it to 10 you can make it to 20. If you can make it to 20 you can make it to 50. If you can make it to 50 you can make it to 100. And by that time you’re in a habit and you’re setting yourself up for long-term success with organic traffic.
Here is the process I use for myself and for our clients to setup the first 10 posts.
Step #1. Forget About Selling
This is the biggest hurdle that we have with businesses that want to blog. It’s definitely not all businesses, but a good number.
And I get it…
Blogging is a marketing effort. The end goal is to attract an audience and sell to that audience. So the inclination is to talk about what you’re selling in the blog posts.
That’s jumping the gun with your sales process, though.
Blog readers likely don’t know that your company exists. That’s the big realization to understand with your blogging strategy. And if you’re looking for traffic from sources like Google or social media or whatever people aren’t going to click on sales content.
They’re looking for answers to their general questions.
For example, a plumber might be enticed to write a post like How My Service Fixes Your Toilet Leak. That’s an appealing title, but someone that doesn’t know who the plumber is may not be interested.
Instead, the plumber could write a post like 10 Ways To Fix Your Toilet Leak or How To Identify What’s Causing Your Toilet Leak or 5 Things That Cause Toilet Leaks.
Sales content is for your sales pages. Helpful content is for your blog.
Step #2. Identify The Questions
That’s why we’re big on identify the questions your target audience is asking and then providing the best answers possible with your blog posts.
Remember, your blog readers don’t know that you exist. You have to identify the questions they have so that you can attract their attention.
I like to use Quora to identify some questions. I like to use social media including Twitter search. I’ll dive into LinkedIn Groups to see what people are asking. I’ll look at other blogs to see what their popular topics are. I’ll also look at the comments on those posts to see if readers have additional questions.
You can even look at your own customers and see what they’re looking for in relation to their job or their life. Chances are if they have a question that others like them will have the same question.
Step #3. Brainstorm 20+ Ideas, Then Prioritize
Here is the biggest secret we have at Ghost Blog Writers. And I don’t really think it’s a secret.
Separate your title brainstorming from the writing.
Every month or two set aside time to brainstorm ideas. Brainstorm more than you need.
To start, brainstorm about 20 ideas. Don’t limit yourself to only the good ideas. Just create your list using the question method above.
Then select the best 10. The ones you think are the most important questions for your readers while also being something you feel comfortable creating.
Save the other 10 for later. You can reconsider them next time while you’re also coming up with an additional 20.
Content creators do this in all areas of content creation. Songwriters usually have a journal or a Notes app on their phone where they are constantly saving song title ideas. Then when they sit down to write they already have a start on what to write about.
The same thing works well with business blogging.
Step #4. Specific or General?
A specific post for a plumber might be How To Correctly Refill Your Toilet Tank.
A general post for a plumber might be 5 Things People Overlook When Building A House.
The second one might not seem relevant to a plumber, but they likely work on a lot of new homes and have knowledge. And the potential reader is still a potential target customer.
There might be enough content ideas for you to stick with specific, but don’t be afraid of general. You’re looking to earn the attention of your audience and they’re not always looking for items specific to what you do…right now.
For your first 10 there are probably enough specific topics, but I’d mix in one or two general ones to get in the habit and to see how they perform.
Step #5. Responsibility
A final thought is about the responsibility for all the processes involved with blogging.
If it’s just you then you have to set aside the time to brainstorm ideas, research and write the post, edit the post, upload and publish the post and also distribute and promote the post.
A lot of businesses get into trouble because they underestimate the responsibility involved or they overestimate their own interest in some or all of the work involved.
That’s why you see so many business blogs with about five blog posts and then nothing. They had the wrong expectations.
The first 10 blog posts for your blog are important. But don’t put too much expectation on them. It’s a long-term effort that you’re looking to build. Really the first 10 are the first step and you’re looking to get off to a good start that will allow you to get into good habits.