Blogging for Profit with the Blog Development Life Cycle
BPM isn’t just about automation – it’s about transforming and improving the way that your organization operates. ~ Anonymous
Maybe you’re sold on the idea of blogging for business. But you don’t just pour out whatever’s playing around in your head. Writing business blogs requires special effort! To achieve a specific objective, you need a well-defined plan. And to consistently perform, you need an established process. Following a process helps you move in the right direction and tells you where you stand on the way to getting your blog post published.
Let us look at the steps you must take to stay focused and keep generating content for your business. Although the actual content will be different each week or day, you must still go through these steps to reach your blogging goals. But I will not bore you with the theoretical arguments or needs and benefits of defining a process.
Blog Development Life Cycle
No matter what industry you look at, the common thread that binds them is following some form of project life cycle to complete tasks and achieve their goals. Considering blogging as a project, we will have these basic phases: Analyze, Design, Execute, Test, and Publish. Similarly, the writing process itself is not very different, and the basic phases in writing include pre-writing, writing, and post writing activities.
Combine these two processes and you get the Blog Development Life Cycle – a repeatable process that you can use to generate profitable content. The picture above explains this simple process, and a brief description is given below -
As outlined in the earlier post, corporate or business blogging is very different than personal blogging. A corporate blog aims to attain certain specific objectives and readers expect to get a certain type of information from these blogs.
Identify your objectives. For example, if you are creating a blog to recruit people, the blog should talk about the organization’s human resource policies and new positions. This could include information about its work culture to encourage potential employees to engage with you. If you wish to use it as a product development channel, the blog should seek feedback about existing products. You could also hold competitions for product betterment and new product ideas from the users.
Analyze your audience. In the above recruitment blog example, your audience needs information about your policies. But you also need to know your audience. If you are targeting fresh graduates, your writing style should be somewhat casual and engaging. This, of course, will be a one time exercise. You will only need to keep looking for new topics later on.
The design phase includes the visual design of the blog as well as the information design. Based on your audience requirements and preferences, you need to decide the placement of information, navigation aids, and engagement tools. The look-and-feel of the blog will again be a one time activity. However, you also need to keep track of what users are doing on your website and check if that aligns with your objective.
This is the most active phase of any project. Here’s where you write and publish. Not only write, but also decide what to write. You already have the objective and have the audience analyzed, and know what is required at a high-level.
But you still need to come up with topics. A monthly and a weekly plan will help surmount this mammoth task. Prepare a blogging calendar or a simple list in a spreadsheet and keep updating this when you think of a new topic. Start each week with a list of topics that you are going to write for that week.
You might be able to write a few posts based only on your work experience. However, multiple forces affect the way people do business every day. To provide value to your readers, you must research for your blog post’s theme and other related ideas.
Reviewing and revising content is the hallmark of a good writer. You could be a very good writer, but multitasking and working on different interfaces and devices can lead to a few typos here and there. And nothing discourages a reader more than spelling mistakes and typos. I too am guilty of missing a couple now and then. So make sure that you read and re-read everything you have written. My experience is you can catch most of these when you zoom the view to 120% or 130%. Be specifically aware of soft keys – there are always some keys that need to be banged!
Publish. Yay! The day has finally come. There’s your art, ready for the gallery – no less. Once again, check that you have assigned the right categories, added tags, and used appropriate images.
The chances of someone discovering your blog accidentally are very slim, unless you have hired a SEO consultant to get traffic. Some of the basic ways of making others know about your blog is adding links to your social media profiles and adding updates to them for every post. You could also add your blog to directories like Technorati. This is more applicable to personal or affiliate blogs who want to earn money from their blogging activity. Corporate blogs mostly don’t have this objective and getting visitors is not much of a problem for established brands.
Gather data from Google Analytics or any other similar service to understand who is reading your blog. Direct feedback through comments and Twitter dialogue can give you some idea about what people like or want from your blog. Why do this? Because all this analysis can help you check if you are achieving what you hope to from your blog. The feedback can then help you make design changes and reorient in the right direction.
Following the Blog Development Life Cycle
Once you deconstruct the term, you will see that this process makes sense.We would like to hear from all bloggers – wannabe, newbie, established – and know what kind of process you follow while writing your blog posts. Does having a repeatable process with a feedback loop sound intuitive to you?
A well defined and repeatable process is your North Star in the ocean of ad-hoc blogging practices.
A definite path and defined steps can help you achieve your content marketing goals, and move closer to profit, the objective of every business. We would love to hear from all fellow bloggers and small business owners to swap stories and ideas.
Meet other bloggers and business owners when you join our blogging group on Linkedin.
In our next post, we will delve deeper into the profit you will achieve by using the Blog Development Life Cycle.
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