As the new year rolls forward, many small companies and organizations will focus attention on the creation of a business blog. For some businesses, this process will entail returning to an existing blog that has been allowed to wither or go stale from lack of attention. With this blog post, I aim to offer guidance on how to get a business blog on track for success in 2012.
1. Have a plan and write it down
It’s a generally accepted fact that small business owners are busy. Between the tasks of selling the company’s products or services and handling the administration of the business itself, small business owners are pushed for time. When time is a premium, advanced planning will always be a beneficial step. Professional and personal life coach Brian Tracy regularly states in his many books and seminars that every minute of planning saves at least 10 minutes of work time.
In planning for the next twelve months of this new year, let’s set down a detailed, step-by-step plan for using our business blog as an online marketing tool. Consider and set forth what actions we need to take, how much time we need to take those steps and when we will actually take those steps. Be specific. And let’s be sure to write our plans down. On paper. (I keep a printed copy my online marketing plan in a special folder on my desk, always within arm’s reach.)
2. Commit to a realistic time frame
Online marketing and, in particular, inbound marketing, requires concerted effort over a number of months. Business blogging must be an ongoing task for the company if there is to be a notable return on the investment of time and energy that small business owners will spend on creating valuable content. According to Mike Volpe, the Chief Marketing Officer at HubSpot, an inbound marketing campaign can take from a couple of weeks to least four months to gain benefits.
For the new year, let’s commit to blogging for a minimum of three months and ideally at least for six months. Let’s follow our written plan with vigor and zest. Be dedicated to our online marketing efforts.
3. Measure web activity and traffic
As the months of the new year roll by, monitoring the traffic levels and activity on a business blog is an important task. More than simply checking to see if overall numbers are trending upwards, let’s make an effort to ascertain if our intended keywords are bringing in the traffic and making the connections that we’re working towards. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the number of comments and inbound links as well. Those are key indicators of the value that our audience places on our business blog.
4. Note wins in an easily updated + shareable way
While web traffic and numbers of comments are easy to note, other online marketing wins prove more difficult to record and therefore often go undocumented. Wins can include an email from a key customer about one of blog posts or a door that we were able to open because we shared a link to another of our posts with a potential client. How are those little gains noted?
For the new year, let’s create a document, spreadsheet or other approach for sharing these little wins in an accessible and easily updated fashion. At lbdesign, we use an intranet blog to detail the specifics of these successes. I keep the intranet posts short and sweet — just detailed enough to be of use to my colleagues. An alternative method would be to use Google Docs.
5. Treat online marketing as a priority
Online marketing and business blogging must take priority on the ‘to do’ list if small business owners are to be successful in their new year campaigns. Just like traditional networking or sales, blogging for business takes time and energy over a dedicated period of time. The only way to ensure a positive return on inbound marketing efforts is to treat blogging as one of the most important steps in growing the business.
As this new year starts then, let’s remind ourselves that business blogging is a top priority for our small business.