How (and Why) to Start a Blog
After I found myself recommending to the third acquaintance in a row that she start a blog, I decided it was time to start taking my own advice, the closest thing to eating my own dogfood. I am an avid reader of blogs – I download RSS feeds to my Kindle and catch up in the evenings – and had already created a blog for my previous employer that became a central element in our content marketing strategy (I’ll explain more about that in another post). Before I get into how I started this blog, let’s first explore why you (and everyone else) need a blog.
Why start a blog?
Companies need blogs because they are a great way to share content that is related to the company, but not necessarily product-centric. It can also be a less formal window into the people behind the company if you allow multiple contributors, or multiple blogs for different people in the company. The chronological and thematic structure of blogs make them ideal for gathering lots of different types of content into one place, and showcasing information that typically wouldn’t fit into a traditional Web site structure. This content can draw potential customers and the media to your company when they do relevant Web searches for products/technologies they are looking for. It also develops your company’s brand, and thought leadership in your industry.
Private individuals may or may not need a blog, but having your own blog can help you stand out in your chosen field. It can turn you into a go-to resource for people in your industry. If you freelance (or moonlight) it is a way to showcase your talents, bring in new customers or provide the necessary edge when your prospect is deciding to use your services.
How to start a blog – the strategic part
Before I dove into actually beginning the blog, I did a lot of thinking, and got to the point where I interviewed myself. The interview in my head went something like this:
Q. Who will my blog target? A. Other marketers like myself, colleagues at other companies, CEOs at companies I may want to work at one day, business owners who can learn from the information I share here and improve their marketing on their own.
Q. Do I hope to make money from this blog? (i.e. by displaying advertising) A. No on advertising. However if the blog leads to a consulting gig I won’t complain. I am not expecting the blog to generate leads, but I DO want the blog to appear professional enough so that if someone receives my “Lean Marketer” business card and looks up the Web site, they will know they’re in the right place.
Q. How long do I think I can keep up with blogging? There is nothing sadder than an abandoned blog. A. In order to assure myself that there is a wealth of subjects on which I could write about TODAY (and who knows what tomorrow will bring), I sat down and wrote a list of 25 potential blog post subjects. This was a very helpful exercise since it proved to myself that there is an endless supply of things I could write about, all related to marketing (and if I branch out into more personal subjects the list is truly infinite… raising children anyone? dieting? good books & movies?).
Q. This digression brings me to a strategic/tactical question – what to name the blog? Since I already decided that this is going to be a marketing-oriented blog, the fact that I had already purchased the domain rebeccaherson.com became somewhat irrelevant. This isn’t a personal blog about my life. I needed a marketing-oriented name. But when you’re naming a Web site, blog, business or even a product, there is a crucial tactical question that must be dealt with – is the domain available? I was extremely psyched that I hadn’t missed the opportunity to purchase rebeccaherson.com, and one day I may even do something with that domain – e.g. write the story of my parents’ aliya in their 70s. But for now, I needed a domain that sounded good, had a marketing connection, and had an available domain. I have no idea how theleanmarketer.com was somehow available, but I guess I will consider myself lucky, since that’s what I wanted to name it, and the name was just sitting there, waiting for me to put in my credit card details.
How to start a blog – the tactical part
There is so much to this that it deserves a post all on its own. So, until next time…