Firas Kittaneh is the CEO of One Mall Group.
Most entrepreneurs commit to starting a blog then sporadically produce content about their respective industry or niche. Months later, their aimless content campaigns are quickly abandoned in favor of a new, trendy marketing tactic.
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To avoid throwing money into a bottomless pit (and receiving nothing in return), here is how you may launch, grow and monetize your business’ blog.
Decide on goals
Creating quality content is expensive, so before you make a large investment in a brand blog, set revenue goals with the aim of quickly offsetting costs and eventually driving long-term ROI.
Do not simply chase page views. Your business runs off of revenue, not unique visitors. Build a real community with your customers and win them from the value you offer, not what’s clickable.
Identify customer personas
For B2C brands, thoughtful industry analysis and insight might not win customers. In order for branded content to succeed, it must speak to a consumer’s personal interests. To understand your users’ needs, build personas and discover who your buyers truly are.
Then, craft meaningful content that will grab their attention and delight them. Need some ideas? Check out Belle Beth Cooper’s blog on where to find inspiration.
Develop an editorial calendar
Consistency is key; it helps create predictable patterns and reinforces positive habits for you and for your readers. With an editorial calendar, you may plan posts in advance and schedule them at strategic times to maximize audience engagement.
A 2008 survey by Technorati reported that roughly 95 percent of blogs were last updated more than 120 days ago. Without an editorial calendar keeping you accountable, your company blog may sit stagnant for months on end too.
Build a team
To produce killer content you may want to hire a dedicated copywriter or outsource your blog posts to talented freelancers. According to jobs portal Indeed.com, the average annual salary of jobs matching the description “Blogger” is $51,000. For the risk-averse, a full-time blogger might not be the best way to go.
If you are on a tight budget, platforms such as Scripted and TextBroker may deliver posts for under $100 each. Premium networks such as Contently, Coworks and Skyword offer higher quality talent who may budget $250 – $750 per article.
Of course, as with anything you get what you pay for. You can always try your hand at blogging yourself if you’ve got the time!
Grow your newsletter
With your audience’s permission, you may regularly promote your content to them and consistently stay top-of-mind while offering value so they may be happier, smarter or even better at their jobs.
Track and vigilantly analyze performance
You may be able to justify the cost of building and maintaining a company blog if you can attribute profit and sales to its existence. Beyond that, you can use data to uncover hidden growth opportunities.
Start by identifying which posts drive the highest value leads, then carefully craft more content around that same topic. For posts that generate lots of traffic but do not convert sales very well, test different call-to-actions and marketing copy. Soon enough, your blog may become your business’ number one marketing asset. (Editor’s note: The Next Web started out as a blog to complement our annual TNW Conference events!)
Reflect and repeat
After hitting your blog’s first milestone, regroup and plan ways to reach the next one. Leverage that momentum to allocate more budget towards content, recruit better writers and make blogging a top marketing priority. Fortunately, once you build a profitable business blog, the possibilities are endless. Good luck!