How to launch a business blog in 2016: A step-by-step guide

What you need to know when you’re ready launch a business blog

Maybe you aren’t starting from scratch, but let’s pretend you are. What follows is a step-by-step guide to launch a business blog in 2016. Because let’s face it: even your mom now talks about blogging. (Feel free to send her this link.)

1. Define your audience.

For whom are you writing? Age, class, gender, educational experience, professional experience? Your mom wants to get her poems into circulation; you want visibility. But it’s a particular kind of visibility you want, and you know it. Just as when you wrote your business plan, you needed to differentiate yourself from the rest, as a blogger you must do the same. This starts with defining your audience.

2. Define your purpose.

To what ends are you writing? You want hits on your site, visibility, yeah, we agreed to this already. But is your blog going to be topical or promotional? Newsy or evergreen? Are you blogging as advertising (not recommended), or are you blogging in addition to advertising? Determine your purpose, then write it down somewhere where you will see it each time you sit down to compose. Blogging without a purpose is like launching a business without a streamlined understanding of what you are doing.

3. With your above answers in mind, choose your voice.

Okay, so you’ve defined your desired readership, and you’ve defined your motivations for maintaining this blog. With those in mind, who will you, the blogger you, be? What kind of a person? Do you want to come off as an academic? Chatty and casual? Hyper corporate? Some combination of these? The most successful bloggers today write via a singular voice. This means that they do not post “like, OMG, seriously, did you just smell what I smelled?” one week and then an overly self-important 5-things-you-must listicle the next. Also: no mom’s poetry spliced in around the edges.

This doesn’t mean you can’t assume a tone + discourse that appeals, simultaneously, to Gen-whatever-letter-we-are-at-now and those who are decades into their careers as CEOs. Appealing across demographics demands that you find a voice which is complex … polysemous, perhaps. Yes, such things exist. Just remember that readers follow blogs for three reasons today: 1) to learn; 2) to laugh; and/or 3) to empathize with the narrator. Writers who inspire their readers to learn, laugh, and empathize own the blogging game, if you will, in 2016.

4. Now you are ready to choose your platform.

Blogging on your business website is so much of a thing by now that it’s hard to call it a trend. Starting three years ago, business owners around the world started blogging with an eye toward keywords, embedding links to widely circulated works, in an attempt that was, in short, a trade, a we’ll-give-you-real-information-then-maybe-you-can-browse-our-webpage sort of a deal. And it turns out this worked brilliantly,

But let’s say you want to blog somewhere other than (or in addition to) your business webpage. WordPress is ideal for those who like to tinker with image, play at web design, and buy themes. Blogger―I’m not going to lie; I don’t know who’s on Blogger these days, but I know that it persists, and thus someone is finding it useful. My own work is on medium.com because what the founders of Medium, guys who split from Twitter, did differently is they created a platform for writers who want to write (rather than design webpages).

Medium is a platform for those who want to invest, solely, in text. No themes, no multiplicity of pages and an index to manage. Think Twitter without the 140 character limit. And like Instragram, the circulation of your writing is democratic (mostly). The more views you get, the more thumbs ups you get, the more widely your writing will circulate. Which encourages you to promote your works (yeah, um, crossing your fingers and hoping to go viral still doesn’t work, lo siento). Even if you don’t want to write consistently at medium, I suggest to create you page. If only so that you can tell everyone, five years from now, that you’ve been on medium since 2016.

5. Create an editorial calendar

This is where you define your writing process, from idea to text to review to publication, and then you map that process onto your calendar. Lesser bloggers have skipped this step, but you will soon see the importance of controlling the content creation process. With a calendar, remaining organized and sustaining consistency are rendered automatic. If you are writing in WordPress, they’ve got a editorial calendar built in. If you are working outside of WordPress, you can find one online. Here, for example. Or here. There is no shortage of free, downloadable options.

6. Write every day.

This doesn’t mean that you must post everyday. It means simply that just as capital begets capital, ideas, the kinds you write down and thereby contemplate, beget ideas. You aren’t Hemingway, and you don’t need to write for six + hours on a daily basis. That’s a fact. But just as regular trips to the gym improve your physical condition, writing regularly (pick a time, or a word count; write for one pomodoro a day―whatever works for you) will vastly improve your ability to continue to do so.

7. Related to the above, read every day.

In the words of Stephen King who wrote the most efficient book on writing in the history of books on writing, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” If you want a blog that is content rich, you need a head that is content rich. Reading others is the most efficient strategy for thinking with others’ ideas, reformulating your own ideas, and engaging and challenging those who will read (and more importantly, follow) you.

8. Okay, but what if you hate all this, really aren’t the reader-writer type, etc, etc? Outsource your blogging.

There’s Blogmutt, for one. There is also a massive population of writers in the gigging economy at present. Look around online for a writer or writers you like (in terms of content but more important, stylistically). Medium.com, again, is a good place to hunt writers. Once found, shoot a them message. Ask if they contract out. Put it in writing. Done.

You can contact me here.