As a freelance copywriter who specialises in online content, it goes without saying that I’m a huge advocate of company blogs. But with around 2 million blog posts published every day, I’m also a huge advocate of quality over quantity.
If you want your content to resonate with readers (and convert them into buying customers), then it needs to be well-written, engaging, and informative. And most of all, it needs to add value.
Blogging is an opportunity to provide your customers with valuable information, for free. It’s about fostering trust, building brand loyalty, and starting a conversation. Your content doesn’t need to be deep and meaningful – but it does need to be authentic and relatable.
Creating exceptional content takes time. While I’m a big believer that ‘done is better than perfect’, I also believe that ‘you get out what you put in’. If you want your blog posts to have an impact, you need to spend some time thinking about what kind of content your customers want to read and come up with an appropriate content strategy.
With this in mind, I believe there is one thing everyone should do before starting a company blog.
‘Do the thinking’
I came across the phrase ‘do the thinking’ from an Australian entrepreneur I admire called Jack Delosa. As Jack says, “often, productivity is simply a function of having done the thinking to know what’s most important.”
I firmly believe that this advice can be applied to blogging. The thought process that goes into writing a blog post is almost as important as the blog post itself. You must ‘do the thinking’.
When a client approaches me about their company blog, I explain that it’s my job to ‘do the writing’. But the thinking is something we have to do together. I can help guide the process by identifying what type of thinking is required, asking the right questions, and teaching you about blogging and content creation, but I can’t do all of the thinking on your behalf.
The good news is, it’s your unique thinking that will make your blog posts stand out from the crowd. No other business owner thinks exactly the same way you do, so it’s my job to tap into your unique thought process and put it into words. Your ‘unique thinking’ is your biggest blogging advantage.
Below are some ‘thinking’ questions to get you started. I invite you to brainstorm your answers (perhaps in a journal or on a big piece of paper). Your answers will serve as the foundation for your blogging content strategy.
Why do I want to start a company blog?
Many people start blogging “because everyone else is”, but it’s hard to create exceptional content if you’re primarily motivated by “keeping up with the Joneses”. I encourage you to do some thinking around why you want to start blogging and whether this marketing strategy will serve your business goals.
Your company blog should be an extension of your business’s overall purpose. Why does your business exist? What problem(s) does it solve? When your ‘blogging why’ aligns with your ‘business why’ you will be motivated to put in the effort required.
What is the purpose of my blog?
Aside from generating more sales, what purpose will your blog serve? According to content marketing genius Neil Patel, blogs tend to have one of four purposes: to entertain, to problem-solve, to teach, or to facilitate discussion. Your blog might be a combination of all four, or it might have one specific purpose. This will likely depend on your target audience – see next question!
Who is my target audience?
Write down everything you know about your customers. You will probably already have this information handy, but below are some questions to guide your brainstorm if you’re starting from scratch.
What is the average age of your customer?
Where do they shop?
What are their pain points?
What do they need?
What makes them happy?
What blogs do they currently read?
Which social media channels do they use?
The better you understand your audience, the better you’ll be able to craft compelling content that speaks to their interests.
Where will I promote my blog posts?
After putting in the effort to create an exceptional blog, you want people to read it! My advice is to develop a social media strategy to support your blogging efforts. Identify the two social media channels where your target audience is most active and engaged. For many businesses, this is Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
If possible, start to build a following on these platforms before you start publishing blog posts. Try to develop a community of engaged followers, so that when you do publish content, people pay attention.
Alternatively, if you have the budget, you can pay to promote or ‘boost’ your posts so they reach a wider audience. I’m not a social media expert, but I do know of some brilliant social media freelancers. I can point you in the right direction if you need help getting your social strategy off the ground.
Another great way to promote your blog posts is via targeted email newsletter campaigns. Again, these need to be executed carefully to ensure they are opened and enjoyed by your customers, not immediately discarded to the trash folder.
The key takeaway to remember is that your blog should be integrated into your wider digital marketing strategy, not viewed in isolation.
How often will I update the blog?
Not so long ago, Google rewarded websites for frequency and keyword density. Today, this is no longer the case. Instead, Google rewards websites for quality and engagement. So my advice to you is this: blog at a pace you can maintain without compromising the quality of your posts. For you, this may mean once a week, once a fortnight, or once a month. Try to stick to a consistent schedule so your readers know when to expect fresh content.
Setting realistic blogging goals will help you avoid burnout and keep your creativity flowing. Remember, you can always increase the frequency of your posts once you’ve found your groove.
Do I want to write the posts myself or outsource to a copywriter?
The million dollar question! Try to identify the best use of your time. Do you have the hours in your schedule to dedicate to writing? Is it cost-effective to write the posts yourself or would your time be better spent focusing on other areas of your business? Would you enjoy the process or does the idea of writing feel daunting?
If you are interested in outsourcing your blog posts, there are several options. You can outsource the entire process - everything from the research to the actual writing and even the uploading of the post to your website - or you can engage a copywriter to help you with a certain aspect of the blogging process, such as proofreading or topic ideas.
Many of my clients send me a ‘brain dump’ of thoughts and I work some magic and turn their ideas into a coherent blog post, complete with a focus keyword and some SEO research. This is a great compromise for budget-conscious business owners who enjoy the creative process but dislike the editing and polishing part.
Or, you can flex your blogging muscles and do everything from start to finish. It’s up to you! I’m here to help if and when you need me - whether it’s for a one-off project or a long-term content strategy.
Just remember: ‘do the thinking’ and the rest will follow.