To stay top-of-mind in the competitive race for developing new business and maintaining fruitful relationships, many businesses and individuals are turning to blogging. Blogging is one of the best tools available for building your reputation as a knowledgeable resource in a specific area. Blogs are the ‘on the go’ marketing tool that can be published by anyone, at any time.
Arguably, the hardest thing about launching a blog is getting started in a way that allows you to maintain momentum over the long term. Here are five starter tips for blogging.
- Be specific. Blogs are essentially a journal reporting on a singular theme. To be effective at positioning your blog as a go-to resource, it must be specific and consistent.
- Build A Habit. One of the most common concerns with blogging is finding time to post information often enough. Don’t let this hold you back. Consider collaborating with others. It is more important to post on a regular schedule than to post several times a week. Start posting content once a week, but on the same day each week. Then, add additional posts when the opportunity arises. Remember, content doesn’t need to be lengthy, it only needs to be timely, easy to read and on topic.
- Be Relevant. When selecting the focus of your blog, it is critical to choose an area that relates directly to your work and that you are genuinely interested in. Write on the industries’ must-read topics and display the depth of your knowledge, relevant experience and pertinent interests.
- Be Yourself. When writing blog posts, use a personal touch that mirrors the way you conduct yourself in a business environment. Don’t be afraid to give perspective and analysis on a topic. Let your readers know that you think about the same issues they worry about and that you have solutions for them.
- Get Readers. Simply writing your blog won’t bring you followers. Actively publicize your blog. Start by inviting your existing contacts to subscribe, include a hyperlink to your blog in your email signature and use social media outlets such as Linked In, Facebook and Twitter to announce recent posts.
Blogging is a great way to use the most current tools to build credibility, communicate with an industry and position yourself as a thought leader. Blogging can be simple, but it does take time and attention to do well. There are many more considerations to blogging, but these five points will get you thinking in the right direction.
Businesses with written marketing strategies always outperform those approaching marketing with an ad hoc spirit. But how often do you use a formal strategy? How do you know when it is time tweak it? I always tell my clients that marketing is a long-term business investment that shouldn’t be dramatically changed too frequently. However, I also believe that being flexible is smart business. There are certainly appropriate times to shift marketing strategies. Sometimes determining the right time to pivot the strategy may be difficult to ascertain. Here are a few pointers for getting started:
- Take inventory of your marketing plan. Identify what you have accomplished and how you have done. Determine which marketing endeavors are delivering results and which are falling short. If you haven’t had a formal measurement system, start by looking at snapshots of financial records and the rate of incoming business. Compare those figures to the same timeframe of website traffic and other external marketing communication programs that have measurable results. Look for patterns and compare to the economic scenarios of the time. If your overall growth has been flat, or declining over the years, it may be time for a shift in your strategy.
- Review existing marketing goals. These goals need to reflect your current service offerings. If your services, target customers and the market are not aligned, it is time to adjust.
- How is your team? Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your team and match their skills to the marketing goals. This will allow you to match people to the initiatives appropriately.
- Get real feedback from your customers. Understand what the industry is looking for and see if your clients’ demands are the same. Find out who uses your services and why, as well as what specifically keeps them coming back to you.
- Once you have done this homework, it is time to look at what is specifically missing in your marketing plan. Remember, it probably isn’t necessary to start over from scratch, but rather re-adjust according to the current market demands. Consider what components you may repackage for your target markets, as well as any new initiatives that can be added, such as social media.
Pivoting a marketing strategy can sound scary and costly, but it doesn’t need to be. Carefully analyzing current marketing practices will uncover new ways to present your business. Be thoughtful in your process, use measurable methods and think long-term. At the same time, remain flexible and review your results several times a year.