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07 Nov 2013

11 Questions to Ask Before You Blog

11-questions-to-ask-before-you-blog

This is a guest post by content marketing expert and author, Joe Pulizzi, who has just released his third book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less.

One of the most frequent questions I receive while traveling is about blogging. The questions revolve around how to get started, what to talk about, and even what software to use.

My questions back to them usually startle the person, because so many start thinking about what they want to say, other than how they can impact the reader. Here are a few…

  1. Who will be the primary readers (subscribers) of your blog?
  2. What do you want to tell them? (what’s your story?)
  3. Do you understand the key informational needs of that person?  What are their pain points? 
  4. Are you hanging out online where your customers are?  Do you or can you make a target hit list of blogs or sites that your customers frequent online?
  5. Are you leaving comments that add to the online conversation on the blogs you cover?
  6. Do you have a firm grasp on the types of keywords to focus on that your customers are searching for?
  7. Do you follow those keywords using Google Alerts or watch their usage on Twitter? (to find the influencers in your market)
  8. Can you commit to blogging at least two times per week? (content consistency is key)
  9. What is your ultimate goal in starting a blog? In one year from when you start blogging, how will the business be different?
  10. How will the content execution process work within your company and how will you market the blog?
  11. How will you integrate the blog with the rest of your marketing? How can the blog make everything else you are doing better?  Can it?

These are the general starter questions (for both businesses and individuals). Yes, a bit overwhelming for first timers, but necessary.

The majority of blogs out there don’t make it. The worst thing you can do as a business is start a consistent dialogue with your customers and then stop. Better not to do one at all. According to IBM research, 85% of corporate blogs have five or less posts.  That means we (brands) are really good at starting content projects but not really good at continuing the process.

Remember, blogging is just a tool. That said, it can be a very powerful tool to consistently communicate valuable, compelling content on a consistent basis. If you are ready to get started, here are six steps to successful blogging.

Epic Content Marketing by Joe PulizziJoe_PulizziJoe Pulizzi’s third book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less, was just released. Epic Content Marketing takes business owners and marketers A-to-Z toward creating a content marketing strategy that works to grow the business.  Joe is also founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World.  You can find Joe on Twitter @JoePulizzi. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange.