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So You Think You Can Blog

April 22, 2010

Everybody’s doing it. With loads of free platform-providers to choose from (WordPress, Typepad, LiveJournal, Blogger — just to name a few), anybody can do it. But not everybody (read: company) should.

Before setting up your blog you need to answer these questions:

1. What’s your schtick?

Clearly define what your blog is about and what it is not. Think of topics and subtopics. Do you have enough material to keep it going?

2. Have you done your research?

Who else is doing a blog on the same thing? What can you learn from them? How can you differentiate yourself?

3. Who do you want to read it?

You need a primary audience and a secondary audience. Of course there will always be unexpected guests. If you’re worried about those unintended targets reading your material, you need to rethink your blog.

4. What’s your goal?

It could be to educate, create awareness, increase sales/volunteers/participation/consideration, receive feedback or build community. It can have a combination of objectives, but I would limit it to not more than three. And make sure they are clearly defined.

5. Who will manage it?

You’ll need writers and an Editor(s) at a minimum. The more writers you have, the easier it’ll be to populate your blog. Your Editor should be passionate about the blog enough to keep it going. She’ll manage the content calendar, secure writers and posts, brainstorm article ideas, edit and write posts when necessary.

6. How often will you post?

If you want to attract readers and keep them coming back you need good content, but you also need consistent content. Set a cadence and maintain it or exceed it, but try not to fall below that. Once you lose a reader, chances are, you won’t get them back.

7. How will you get the word out?

Once you have a blog, you need to get readers. Use your existing social media profiles if your fans/followers are part of your target. If they are not, consider setting up new profiles that tie to your blog. Note that you’ll need to manage these new profiles just as you would your blog, though. They take attention and content strategy as well. Of course, these are just a few ways to build awareness and clicks. There are many other ways worth considering.

Once you answer these questions, you’ll be on your way to a better blog.

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