Want a business blog? Answer these 3 questions first.
Having a regularly updated blog is a great business asset. But before you jump on the blog train, ask yourself these three questions.
The businesses that wouldn’t benefit from a well-maintained blog are few and far between. Seriously, we can count on one hand — with digits to spare — the times we haven’t emphatically encouraged the production of a business blog.
Blogs can do so much good. Among many other benefits, they can boost search engine optimization (SEO), they can provide opportunities to engage key audiences, they can better explain the nuances of your service or product, and they can help foster company goodwill.
But, no matter how much we encourage blogging, we equally encourage they be approached with a sound strategy in mind. And we routinely start that process with three very important questions.
Here’s an example of how we started the blogging process with our friends at Storey Trucking, a family-owned trucking company in Alabama.
Who is your blog audience?
Simply put, if you can’t answer this question, you shouldn’t proceed with the blogging process. No, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t blog. Rather, it means that without a clear understanding of who you’re writing to, you shouldn’t ever hit the “publish” button. All your blogging efforts exist downstream from the answer to this question.
At Storey Trucking, when they were conceptualizing their blog, they knew exactly who they wanted to write to: their current drivers and potential drivers. Going even further, in addition to solo drivers they wanted to appeal to team drivers since team drivers can cover more miles in less time and are typically more difficult to find.
So, when you look at the Storey blog, you’ll see helpful content that any driver would find useful, spotlights on outstanding Storey drivers, as well as features that focus on aspects related to team driving. Storey publishes the content and then distributes it through internal channels, as well as externally across social media.
The blog positions the company as a well-intentioned, helpful and caring business (which they truly are) that drivers — with additional emphasis on teams — can find a professional family with.
What do you want the blog to do?
Okay, now that we’ve covered who you’re writing to, the next big matter to consider is what you want to achieve with your blog.
As is the case with everything in your business, if your efforts don’t align with and support overarching business objectives, those efforts should be questioned. This is just as true in blogging as it is in sales or customer service. All work needs to point in the same direction.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’re aware that the trucking industry is getting more competitive by the day. And what does the industry rely on? Drivers. Good ones, especially.
Attracting and keeping high-quality drivers is at the front of most trucking minds daily. The great thing about Storey is that once drivers experience the tight-knit family culture that is the backbone of the business, they rarely seek greener pastures. That said, they could always use more drivers, and their eyes are always out for teams.
Storey knew from the get-go that while they wanted to provide universally appealing blog content, their need for great solo and team drivers would require them to generate articles that would help attract top-tier applications.
As it stands now, roughly one-third of Storey’s blog posts handle team topics specifically, and the rest is comprised of spotlights on core values and helpful advice to all drivers.
What’s a realistic publishing cadence for your blog?
It’s really easy to get overly aggressive with your blog publishing cadence.
Weekly! Twice weekly! Every day!
Though we love the enthusiasm, we typically encourage a more moderate schedule to start, especially if you’re not sure who will be creating all the content or if it’ll be handled by committee.
If you’re in a small-to-medium sized business and this is a new project that is to be championed by someone with a preexisting workload, I’d say a monthly publishing cadence to start is completely acceptable. That’s what Storey Trucking chose, and it has worked out wonderfully so far. A monthly schedule enables them to draw in the voices of their employees, while also giving the company the chance to really think about what topics need attention and when to address them.
It may sound too infrequent for some — and it may prove to be, eventually — but getting used to the process and fitting it in with additional responsibilities may take some getting used to.
Once you’ve published two or three blog posts at that cadence, increase the frequency if it makes sense. Just remember, it’s easier to start slower with the aim of building steam than it is to struggle to stay afloat by plunging into the deep end with no practice.
Once you decide on a blog publishing cadence, you can build a content calendar around it.
Of course, there are many more blogging tips to be learned, but these are the immediate items to consider. Spend some time thinking on them, and then get ready to write!
David Martin is a co-founder of Heed Public Relations. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.