What You Should Do Before Publishing Your First Blog Post
So here goes – you have finally decided to create your blog and jump into the weird and wonderful world of content marketing. But, are you ready for publishing your first blog post?
Now, before hitting that publish button for the first time ever and clicking refresh over and over again to watch your readership stats, do these essential routines.
Create Your Blog Business Plan
A blog business plan is a detailed roadmap to help you achieve your goals – leads, sales, revenue, brand awareness – and keep your focus sharp on them.
A blog business plan will also help you accomplish the following important steps:
- Articulate your brand and brand voice more efficiently.
- Offer you a clear picture of how to promote your blog and business.
- Hone your vision and help you focus on the essential goals with steps on how to achieve them.
- Reduce the feeling of overwhelm at the initial stages.
- Help you take better business related decisions
- Provide you with a benchmark to track your progress and analyze growth.
Considering that it’s clear with the why’s, let’s move on to the whats and hows. Your blog business plan should include the next key information:
Your Mission Statement
This short paragraph should summarize why you are blogging in the first place and how it will help you achieve your further business growth. Additionally, you should mention here what kind of value do you plan to deliver and what are your responsibilities to your readers.
Ideal Reader/Buyer Profile
To achieve the maximum impact, you should style your writing as if you are writing for one very specific person e.g. your friend Jill. You know Jill’s age, interests, education and personal background. You deeply understand her problems, fears, and aspirations and talk in a comforting relevant manner.
A detailed buyer persona will provide you with important insights on how to adapt your content and marketing message; develop your product further and personalize your approach to pitching a sale.
Define Your Brand
If you blog/business were a person, how would you describe them? As someone whimsically funny and helpful or as a professional, confident and somewhat bossy speaker. People may not remember what you’ve said, but they will remember how it made them feel, so having a memorable brand voice and appearance is incredibly important for a blogger. Incorporating your overall brand style guide won’t mind either.
State Your Objectives
Jot down at least 5 measurable objectives you’d like to achieve with the next 6-12 month e.g. hit 500 email subscribers; grow to 5,000 visitors/month etc. Be very specific in this case.
Outline How Your Will Make This Happen
Now, keeping those goals in mind outline the exact ways of how you plan to achieve your goals. For example, publish 2 guest posts per month; work on social media marketing for 2 hours per day and so on.
Your Marketing Strategy
This section should cover in details how you plan to achieve your objectives. It’s worth splitting it into 3 subsections – social media marketing, SEO and email list building. Outline various strategies you plan to try, the tools you will use and the networks you will focus on.
Outline Your Expenses
Content marketing and blogging are “technically” free, yet there are certain costs involved in running your blog. Web hosting for a start. Then don’t forget to add premium tools and software you may need to use, custom design, paid content promotion and so on. List those diligently every month and compare with your income.
Your Publishing Schedule and Content Calendar
Blogging is a serious commitment and may require more hours in your day than you think. Producing quality content takes heaps of time (think 20-30 hours for one post), so keep things real and don’t saturate your schedule with short “filler” posts just to keep up with the calendar.
Publish less often, yet focus on delivering extra deep and detailed content. After all, “you need to publish a lot of content” is one of the pesky online marketing myths that have to go away.
After you are done with all of the above, you should have a very detailed and clear roadmap to success.
Give Your Blog Design a Reality Check
You should launch your blog only when you are fully set-up and have all the important pages in place. The important aspect of creating your blog, according to Jessica Knapp, is to make sure your design aligns with your personality and the image you want to project to your readership.
Additionally, your blog should be simple to navigate in terms of content (even if you have just 5 blog posts, which is a good number to get started with). Apart from those, you’ll also need to create the next important pages:
- Contact page listing a few ways of how to reach you.
- Squeeze page with a juicy insensitive to hop onto your email list.
- About/Start Here page for a quick intro of what you do and how you can help your readers.
- Guest posting guidelines if you plan to publish those.
Additionally, make sure that all the social media sharing buttons are in place and working; all of your visuals are optimized in size and have relevant ALT tags; your email subscription form is working and your content doesn’t have any typos or weird formatting.
Polish Up Your First Set of Blog Posts
As mentioned earlier it’s best to launch your blog with at least 3-5 posts, not just one. So, make sure all of them are ready and all polished up. Here’s how:
Format Each Post for Maximum Visibility
- Use short catchy sentences in the intro.
- Break longer paragraphs to shorter ones (2-4 sentences)
- Craft enticing subheadings and bullet points.
- Create a set of relevant images to go with the post (including those optimized for social media sharing)
- Sum up one key takeaway you’ll add at the bottom of the post.
- Consider offering a relevant content upgrade to attract those email list subscribers.
Research and Optimize Your Post For Relevant Keywords
- Browse Google Keyword Tool to see what’s trending in your niche and what’s the competition.
- Include your target keyword into your post permalink structure blog.com/target-keyword
- Use it strategically at the beginning of the post and in at least one subtitle. Variations are more than appropriate in this case.
- Interlink your posts organically.
- Don’t forget to optimize those images!
The strategy outlined above should help you strengthen your blog posts and put your blog and business on the right track from day one!
Elena has been working in the digital marketing industry for the past 5 years, first as a cubicle dweller and now as an independent marketing consultant and copywriter. She has a knack for elegant traffic growth hacks, requiring little (if any) investment and creative content marketing.Read Full Bio