So you want to start a blog?

start-a-blog-featured-image

First of all, there are a few things you want to establish before you launch into anything.

  • What is the overall theme of the blog?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What do you hope to achieve with the blog?

Image credit to Kristina B http://www.flickr.com/photos/barnett/

1.       Choose a focus

Once you have the primary theme(s) in mind, it should be easy to pick a topic and write the first post. Within each post, you’ll lose the reader’s attention by covering too many topics at once.  Narrowing the focus on the blog is important for reader retention and establishing credibility on your subject matter. Remember: try to focus on one key idea – if you want to write about a variety of things, that’s great; use those as future blog ideas.

2.       Decide on goals

You may have clear goals already in mind.  If not, consider asking other bloggers what sorts of goals they are setting.   Some of those goals may include:  Positioning as a thought leader in a particular subject matter.  Increasing speaking engagements. Booking appointments with potential new clients.  Get more social media engagement and exposure.

Make sure the goals are specific.  If the primary goal is to book more appointments, but there is no link to the online appointment calendar in your post or on your blog page, well then, appointments are not going to be set.

Remember that there are many resources available, especially via various social media channels. For example, find ways to drive traffic to your website via LinkedIn here; a refreshing approach to getting new clients to find you can be found in this blog post; and don’t forget that blogging can be like many other social media channels – the more you connect, the more exposure you have. So make sure that you’re reading other peoples’ blogs, commenting, linking to them if they’re relevant to your material, etc.

3.       Remember, you are a thought leader

You know more about your field of expertise than the average person. That’s why you do what you do. Some of your potential followers may have an idea of what you’re talking about; some may say it might as well be Greek. If you start with an overview then become gradually more specific, it’ll be easier for your audience to follow than if you launch into tech-speak from the get go. You don’t want to lose your audience before they get through the opening remarks!

4.       Decide what platform you want to use to host your blog   

For some great choices, check out this website comparing 10 different hosting sites and what benefits each offers – so you can choose the best fit.  Choose a platform that is easy for you to learn, use , customize and consistently update.

5.       Make it visually interesting  

Sometimes, no matter what words you choose, the message won’t be received. But adding a picture or embedding a video (if it’s relevant) can keep the audience’s attention. These can be something simple taken at your office using your smartphone, or something you saw posted online that bears relevance to what you’re discussing. Also, if you’re discussing something like a brand or a business, link their website, Facebook page, Google+, or other relevant page to it.

Once you have the basics established, remember that you have the ability to make your blog anything you want it to be. Have as much fun as you’d like – your readers will likely appreciate a little personality being added into the mix!

What challenges do you or did you face in starting a blog?