by Rachel Cool | Featured Contributor
Don’t just blog for the sake of blogging. Blog to tell your story, reach your market, inspire people and achieve your goals. We always hear how important it is that we blog and for so many businesses, it has become one of those things they do just to check it off the list.
But, to really tap into the power of blogging and use it to grow your business, you need to do it strategically.
The “So What?” Factor
When you set up your blog, plan your content and write each post, ask yourself “so what?” Why should people care about what I’m writing? What does this mean for my market? What do I want people to do after they read my post?
The “so what” factor will help you achieve purpose. It will help you take your ordinary, mundane blog to something that gives your business a voice and helps you succeed.
Pencil it In
One of the best and easiest ways to turn your blog into a strategic tool is to use a content calendar. This doesn’t mean that you have to lose all flexibility or that you can’t be spontaneous. But, a calendar will help you stay focused and strategic so your blog posts don’t turn into ramblings without a purpose.
Build in Your Overall Goals
Whether you blog once a day or once a week, you need to keep your overall goals in mind. What is your business striving to accomplish? Write down your goals and then start brainstorming ways your blog can help you reach those goals.
Look at the Big Picture, not Each Post
Using a blogging calendar is the easiest way to look at your blog as a whole as opposed to a collection of individual posts. It lets you see running themes, gaps where you could provide more content or information and calls to action more easily.
Use your calendar to develop a blog series or use a consistent message for an entire month. Pay close attention to the topics you choose and the order you arrange them in. Instead of focusing on each post, focus on how each one works with the others.
Organize Promotional Tactics
You can also use your blogging calendar as a sort of checklist or outline for how you plan to promote your blog posts. Make a note of when you will share the post on social media, what social media networks you will use and how else you plan to share your content.
The real power of this comes by recycling older posts. Add calendar entries that note when you plan to promote a post again, even months after it was published, to complement your newer content, meet industry trends or go with current events.
There’s a reason you should “pencil in” blog posts. Blogging isn’t meant to be completely rigid. It needs room to develop, cover new ideas and highlight inspiration as it comes.
Don’t become so tied to your calendar that you don’t give yourself room to cover current events, company news or just those fun, personality-adding posts. It’s okay to rearrange things as needed or even scratch out ideas that don’t seem relevant anymore.
A blogging calendar gives you direction. It helps you avoid losing sight of your goals and turns your blog into a powerful marketing tool that will bring results.
Start developing a calendar now by incorporating your goals, content ideas, themes and promotional strategies so that next month you’ll be ready to hit the ground running with a smarter blog.
Rachel Cool has a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations. She has experience working in public relations, journalism, Internet marketing and search engine optimization.
Rachel’s passion is writing and she loves helping brands tell their stories, reach their markets and influence their audiences. She feels that a business’ copy, whether it is online or print, is an integral part of its marketing and communications strategies.
When she’s not writing, Rachel loves to cook and get lost in a mystery novel. She also likes to get competitive over a good card or board game, watch movies, fish and spend time outside.