Blogging is in vogue: Be it for self-publishing or corporate PR, blogging opens the conduit for multiple engagement opportunities in terms of customer engagement, lead generation, content marketing, customer interaction, information dispensing, and even ecommerce.
If it’s professional blogging, free blogs are out of the question. What works then? How do you manage to plan on building a blog that gets you what you want? What works and what will not? Is it possible to have a mini-guide that tells you exactly what you need to do to grow your blog from a fledgling to an authority resource?
Let’s explore how smart blogging looks like. Rip this plan off and use it for your success:
Planning to Pivot Later
Everyone talks about planning. I recommend planning ahead too but with a twist: plan to pivot.
While you make standard plans for starting out and charting a course for your blog’s growth, have some space within your plan to spin the other way or to change direction.
Just like large businesses seek new markets to enter and as startups morph when their original ideas aren’t sustainable, blogging plans need to have a plan to change plans later.
To give a technical example, let’s take hosting. Most bloggers and little sites with blogs start with shared hosting. You’d ideally do your research on hosting by sifting through reviews or comparing hosts. – this is one of the most important investments you make for your blog.
Believe me, “A stitch in time saves nine” doesn’t apply better to anything else in blogging. As time passes, your blog grows in terms of traffic and engagement.
At some point in future, shared hosting won’t make sense anymore and you might want to move to a VPS hosting solution or even a dedicated server.
Likewise, you’d start with blogging on a niche or micro-niche but you might want to change the topic of blogging. You might even want to re-launch your blog with a new strategy.
If Gary Vaynerchuck, author of Thank You Economy, CEO of VaynerMedia, and one of the most famous bloggers of all time, can rethink his approach to blogging, so can you.
Accommodating Tools of the Trade
Blogging comes with its own set of tools for you to use.
Blogging itself requires a project management approach and you might want to use web-based project management tools. You’ll need a way to reach out to bloggers if you’re going the guest blogging way, and thankfully you have marketplaces such as MyGuestBlog and BloggerLinkup for finding like-minded bloggers who play host and/or guest.
Guest blogging goes a long way towards your traffic generation efforts. You can manage your outreach efforts with a CRM and contact tool such as BuzzStream.
If you plan to charge for advertising on your blog (sooner or later), you’ll need invoicing tools.
SEO/SEM automatically becomes an ongoing endeavor and you have a host of free tools (at least to try) to use to manage your search optimization efforts.
Accounting for Growth
Blogging might start off as an individual attempt but can eventually grow into a daily marathon effort if you insist on being a one-person show.
Growth calls for scale and that’s when you’ll look to build a team of contractors (ideally) and collaborate with them to continue blogging. You might hire ghostwriters or have experts contribute. How do you plan to account for this growth? Will you outsource to freelancers or will you hire help that you can directly oversee?
By this time, your blog also gets to a stage where you need better management for content creation, graphics, comment management, social media management, technical assistance/support, and team management. How do you plan to tackle all that?
Monetizing & Strategic Expansion
A blog can make only so much money through regular means of monetization. If you’ve come this far into your blogging sojourn, it’s time to expand strategically. Blogs make money when you monetize and we all know that, so we aren’t getting there.
Monetization through Google AdWords, Amazon, Bidvertiser, and other such programs, affiliate, partner, and referral programs.
There are several other ways to make money directly or indirectly off your blog:
- Blogs – essentially a collection of your ideas (or content you own rights to) – can roll into a book to launch your new career as an author.
- Your blogging efforts (along with your guest blogging efforts) can pile up leading you take up lucrative speaking gigs, conduct workshops, get invited to conferences, etc.
- Blogs make for a great way to promote your digital products: create new products, curate and sell others’ products, or even go for digital rendition of your knowledge and expertise by doing webinars.
Unrelenting Creativity, Continuity & Consistency
At a certain stage in your blog’s growth, there’ll be a time when you risk stagnating. You’ll peak and there’s usually a fall just beyond unless you do something about it.
Here’s where creativity, continuity, consistency, and parallel growth comes in its own. While you will feed great content continuously for your blog, you can plan to launch other blogs and build an empire of blogs to achieve scale. You can also plan to focus on a single blog and scale on available resources such as number of writers.
None of this would mean that you’d have to depart into topics you don’t want to get into or niches that you have no authority on. Brent Weaver, for instance, is an Adobe Business Catalyst Guru who started CreationChambers.com.
To provide value to the community, he started BCGurus.com, where he provides free training for new, hopeful Business Catalyst partners.
BCGurus grew tremendously in prominence and popularity, prompting Brent to launch UGurus.com, an exclusive home for web designers who’ve launched (or hope to launch) their own design businesses.
He holds on to his niche. He expounds on what he knows. He leverages his knowledge but builds parallel knowledge resources within the same domain for different target markets.
What are you planning to do?