A few days ago, one of my clients mentioned that his blog didn’t feel “bloggy” to him. Since I write most of his blog, I started asking questions, trying to find out if it was a good thing to not be bloggy, or if being bloggy was the goal.
Most of the time, when my clients come to me, they only know that they need to be publishing a blog or they need to be on Facebook or they need to be sending out newsletters. They don’t really have any specific plans or goals for ROI, they only know they don’t have time to do them or that they need to be doing them more consistently.
The first few newsletters or posts or whatever are pretty easy because the overwhelmed business owner has a backlog of ideas. After a couple of months, though, it often becomes a little harder for them to figure out what they want me to write about. Then, with some content in existence and some feedback from readers, it is time to create a strategy.
Most of the experts say the strategy should come first. For bigger companies that already have several advertising avenues or that have been publishing content for awhile that is good advice. Most of my clients don’t fit that description. My clients usually don’t have much, if any, content already developed, and when I ask questions about strategy, they get overwhelmed.
Back to the non-bloggy-feeling blog. I asked my client what he meant. He said he didn’t know. So we talked about what he wants his blog to do – drive more traffic? generate comments and reader engagement? drive conversion? be a resource for customers? – and how we could measure those things. We talked about goal setting and direction and how to tie his blog to his other business goals. In short, we talked about creating a strategy to guide the future content of his blog.
For a blog to be successful, it has to have both content and strategy. It is okay if you create some of the content before you start building a strategy, because there is some content you know will be part of whatever strategy you end up with. At least one of my clients hired me to write several posts before he decided if he was even going to have a blog. He knew he wanted some information available on his site, whether it ended up being a part of a resources page or part of a blog.
Of course, having high quality content is completely useless if you don’t eventually make some decisions about how to use it, so the strategy part of the equation must be addressed at some point. It just doesn’t necessarily have to be the starting point.