I enjoyed this piece on how to approach a start-up. A simple but effective checklist of thought process to follow when having an entrepreneurial inspiration.
Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Well no you’re not, but if you are considering blogging then the idea has been conceived and that seed is growing, developing and changing all the time. Just as in the birth of a child, the birth of a Blog has a gestation period; an endless list of preparations and general getting-your-head-around-it before it emerges into the loving arms of your adoring public. Here I explore the checklist of considerations to have before writing your first word. Consider it a guide to identifying your target and producing the right content for your audience, every time:
- Why am I doing this? What am I hoping to achieve? Are you a business hoping to build relationships with clients or customers? Are you a budding entrepreneur with a great business idea? Do you just want to share your family news with friends your loved ones or a budding writer who wants to air their thoughts and ideas with the world? You need to know because that will guide you to ensure that you are consistent with the type of content and the tone of writing that will achieve your goals.
- Who do I want to reach? The answer to the first question should be a pretty good guide to the second. If you are intending to impress and woo financial advisors, for example, then a quirky piece about flirting over the meat selection in the local deli might not only miss the mark but undermine your credibility. Focus on one or two audience types. By trying to be too many things to too many people you will dilute the message and confuse your followers.
Joe Pulizzi – content guru of http://www.joepulizzi.com says “If you’re targeting everyone, you’re targeting no-one”
- What are they searching for? Generally speaking people search the internet for specific reasons; to find information, to solve a problem, to learn, to remain current with news and events and to be entertained. An understanding which of these are the likely reasons for your audience searching, will help shape the piece – does it satisfy the criteria? It also begins to suggest the type of keywords you should use in the title and opening paragraph.
A Mum, for example, might be struggling to remove grass stains from the knees of Harry’s jeans – there is the problem. What word will she enter in the search engine? Grass Stains? Stain removal? How to clean? Then these are the words to use in your title and text.
Leslie Samuel, blogging genius of http://www.becomeablogger.com says “You help by creating that content to help them to reach their goals, to help them to deal with the struggles, and answer their questions and address their concerns.”
- Can I commit to it? Just like a baby, a blog requires plenty of time, care and attention. Of course there are many tools to help, and I will be exploring those over time. But one blog a year will quickly lose followers, to keep them engaged and interested you need consistency. Later you can experiment with frequency to see what does and does not work for you and your audience.
- Domain name. The domain name can also help in searches. You may want to use the name of your business, or if a new blogger, something that gives an indication of what the blog is about. “Socialtrialbyfire.com” touches on the main subject – “social”. “Trial by fire” refers to my project and that I am throwing myself in at the deep end. I knew that I wanted to utilise as many social platforms as I could so needed a name that was available with all of them. But knowing that I intend to use Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube and Instagram I tried many options in their registration fields before finding something that was available in all of them. As soon as I had it, I registered with each platform to ensure no one else snapped it up.
So now you are ready – you know why you are doing this, who you want to reach, what sort of tone of voice to use when you speak to them and why they are looking for you. Remember they are looking for things that solve THEIR problems or satisfy THEIR needs – this isn’t about you. Each time you write do a mental check – is it useful? Does it meet their needs? Is it talking the right language? Have I got key words that are likely to match the ones they will enter in their search?
I hope the labour is quick and painless …..and congratulations on the birth of your blog.
Next blog: Content, content, content. What to write?
Email subscribe to receive notifications of my blogs as they hit down…..there is a WHOLE lot more where this came from.
Love April Dee’s style – fab infographics and bursting with great info….expect me to share plenty more of her fabulous work.
Do you feel the urge to write and share? Thinking about how to start a blog? How do I choose a blog platform? Let me help…..
And so the Social Trial by Fire project begins – transparently sharing my free lessons and tips for small businesses; strategy, branding, product and service portfolio, communications and social media, as I grow from zero to guru in Social Media over the course of 1 year.
“Why should I follow you?” I hear you cry….because…
• You win – by getting small business advice for free – no strings attached
• I win – because I put into practice all of my social media theory to discover what works and what does not…
• ..and then you win again as I share it all on-line.
Step 1 – The first question when considering starting a blog is which platform to use….I am a big fan of the “keep it simple, stupid” method and so, having gained my theoretical Social Media wisdom from the experts in the field at the Social Media Success Summit 2014, I decided to trust the experts. (www.socialmediaexaminer.com)
Great Bloggers seemed almost united in their recommendation of WordPress
Syed Balkhi (www.balkhis.com) said “I think most every blog should be using WordPress….All of my sites are built on WordPress, and about 25% of the internet is powered by WordPress.”
Stan Smith (www.pushingsocial.com) said “I do love WordPress because number one, it’s very easy to get started. Number two, there are a lot of plug-ins that extend the functionality of your blog within the WordPress ecosystem or community.”
Leslie Samuel (www.becomeablogger.com) said “I you want to start blogging the first thing you are going to have to do is get a domain name. Then you are going to have to get your hosting. You are going to have to install WordPress. You are going to have to get a WordPress theme, and you’re going to build your email list.”
Many thanks to them for their fabulous insights and guidance….WordPress it is.
You may have many questions about details and functions of WordPress….I am still working through them, but I have no interest in reinventing the wheel. If the big boys and girls love it, that’s good enough for me.
So step 1: Choose a platform. Check
Next Blog – how to what to write, how to write it and who to write it for….oh yes and also how choose a domain name that will impact your numbers. Subscribe to my email to receive notifications of my new blogs
@WordPress, you are welcome!