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Launching a new blog is hard, as anyone who has been there can tell you. Whether it be for your startup, your established company, or yourself, it takes a great deal of effort to get a blog started. It can be very difficult justify that time and effort you need to put into the blog, if you are not seeing an immediate return on this investment. It is also hard to justify spending money on tools to help you do things better in the early days, when you have little traffic to your site, and your product has just arrived. This guide is all about the first steps to take as you launch your startup’s new blog, at the right price which is near zero. Yes, you read that right, this guide will not cover any expensive tools, it is all about getting started with the budget we are all familiar with which is, well, basically nothing.
Are you ready to learn about what you should be doing as you get ready to to launch your new blog?
The Most Important Thing to Remember – Content is King
The first thing to understand when launching a new blog is content is everything. This is something that is overlooked when starting a blog, in favor of trying to drive revenue or gain page views as quickly as possible. Without the content, you will not be able to sell a single thing, nor will anyone visit your site. Driving revenue and page views takes time, patience, and hard work. The following strategy is very focused on the content you are generating versus driving page views, that part comes later.
Developing A Content Strategy
The first thing to think about is what type of content you want to have on your blog. If you are trying to market Product X, you may be tempted to blog exclusively about Product X, but how many people want to just hear about Product X? Here are some things to think about when trying to determine what to actually blog about:
- What problems does Product X solve?
- What are benefits of using Product X?
- What other topics are potential Product X customers interested in?
- What are other non-competing products potential Product X customers use?
Now, let us look at an example. Pretend we are an organization that is focused on selling an online bicycle repair training course. We should not just focus about blogs on repairing bicycles, but think about what are target demographic (people who ride bikes on a regular basis) are interested in:Bikes
- Bike Parts
- Bike Gear
- Exercise tips geared towards making people better bike riders
- Staying hydrated while biking
- What to eat before going for a long bike ride
- Picking the best bike paths
- And more!
The list goes on and on! We want to attract people who are interested in our bicycle repair online training course. By creating great content these bicyclists will love, we will attract them to our website, and hopefully they will buy our course.
Getting Started Generating Content
Virtually anyone in your organization can be coached to become a blogger. Will some people need more coaching and editing than the others? Of course they will, but it will be worth it in the end if they are interested. Try finding people in the organization who are passionate about your product, or certain aspects of it. Their passion will shine through in their blog and engage others and get them excited about it! Hopefully you will be able to find people interested in blogging for you.
If you are bigger than a one person show, here are some ideas on who to approach in your organizations about blogging:
- Documentation Writers
- Subject Matter Experts
When approaching them, always make sure you offer your coaching and support, such as editing their posts for them, and doing the actual posting of the blog yourself. Make it as easy as possible them to write for you.
If you are a solopenuer at the moment, get writing! You also have the option to look outside your organization for content. How you approach this may depend on your budget. A good idea is to look for established bloggers in your content area and see if they would be willing to write a blog for your site. Some bloggers may be able to be swayed with simply the opppurtunity to gain exposure through your company, an Amazon gift card, or a gift of the product or service you offer.
If you read anything about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you will read quite a bit about keywords. This is a concept that we could discuss for pages and pages, but right now I want to keep it simple as you are starting out. The easiest way to understand what a keyword is, is to think about what you would type into a search engine to learn about the topic you are writing about. Keywords are one component of your content that tell a search engine what the page is about. I would not stress too much about keywords at the beginning of your blogging journey. You will discover that you naturally create some of these keywords as you write, and you can optimize your content later (Niel Patel has a great tutorial about how to do that here, and we will talk more about content optimization once you have more content).
The best way to start is to start small. If you are targeting one keyword or phrase at a time when developing your content, you are off to a great start. By starting like this, you will be able to learn more about blogging and the process, and get comfortable with it before you start on heavy SEO. For example, if I am writing a blog about how to repair a bicycle I may want to use the phrase “bicycle repair” a few times in my blog, included it in my title, and include it in heading tags in my blog. I can then use a free tool like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest to get more ideas about keywords the relate to bicycle repair to include in this blog, or future blogs.
Getting People to Read Your Content – Headlines and Titles
Oh clickbait, how do we despise thee! I could have named this article “10 Ways to Launch A Blog, Number 5 Will Shock you”. In fact, Google doesn’t like these click bait titles. Did you know Google publishes Quality Guidelines? This gives you an idea of what type of content Google views favorably, and what it does not. It is a great idea to review these as you begin your blogging journey, to get a better understanding of what Google would like to see in your content to rank it favorably.
We can still write compelling headlines and titles for our content, without using click bait titles. The worst thing that could happen is a user clicks on your blog in your search result, then clicks the back button because you did not accurately convey what your content was about. Google will take note of this, and it will impact your page’s Google rank in a negative manner.
Working with headlines and titles takes practice, and and is more an art than a science. The good news is there are plenty of free resources to help your with this, such as Co-Schedule’s headline analyzer. Remember our conversation about keywords? It is important to make sure your title accurately reflects what your target demographic wants to read about, and what the article is about.
Promoting Your Content on Social Media
After you have produced content it is time to promote it on social media. First, you need to understand which platforms your target user base is the most active on. Then, you need to begin to build your social media following. You know your industry best, so it is time to do some research and poke around. Some ideas to start with are:
Your target demographic may not be active on all platforms, so it is time to chose which ones you are using wisely. There is a free version of the tool Buffer which allows you to post on these different social media pages. Besides knowing where your target demographic spends their time on, it is also important to see what hashtags they use on a regular basis.
CoSchedule has an awesome blog about how often you should post depending on which social media platforms you are using when it comes to your organization and your content.
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Take a look at this quick and easy to use infographic that lays out all the steps you need to take to launch your startup’s blog. Keep reading for bonus tips and tricks, and the best resources for your research.
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BONUS – Start Thinking About Free, Longer Content – Whitepapers or eBooks
Before launching your blog, you should be thinking about several longer form pieces of content for customers to download, such as a whitepaper or eBook. Why? Simple. First, this content will serve to build you a list of people interested in your product. This free content should require users to sign up for an e-mail list to download, so you begin to build a base of potential customers. Second, you can blog about these white papers and eBooks! Besides an initial blog on what is in the white paper or what is in the eBook, you can blog about things relating to it, such as items in the list above. This will again, drive people to download your content and sign up for your mailing list.
Starting Your Research
If you want to start doing research on the world of SEO and content marketing, I have put together a list of my absolute favorite resources, some of which I have already mentioned in this blog. My advice is to read, read, read at the beginning so you can begin to develop your personal method of producing and optimizing content. These resources are my go to on a regular basis for learning more about SEO and content marketing, and staying up with the current trends. This area is constantly evolving, and it is important to learn what the current and next trends are.
The first thing I would recommend is to read the book Content, Inc by Joe Pulizzi. This book complete changed the way I look at the content I generate, and I cannot say enough good things about it. This is the book I wish I had read years before I actually read it!
Now, for my go-to blogs that I stay up to date with. Make sure to sign up for each of these sites’ newsletters to keep those fresh content marketing tips at your fingertips.
With the exception of the book Content, Inc, every resource I have listed on this page is completely free, and is enough to get you started on your blogging journey. Stay tuned for more in-depth tutorials about topics such as content optimization, and what tools you should consider spending money on when you are ready to invest further in your content and blog.