Before starting to rattle off articles on a blog, develop a strategy. Strategies can take a from of a plan, a list of article topics or even a blog description. They can even be an analysis of competing and complementary resources, not just blogs but traditional sites, portals or newspaper and magazine sites. This advise comes from seeing too many blogs and articles missing the mark. It also comes from over a hundred conversations with people who can’t answer basic questions about a blog. By developing a strategy and doing a little research, a blog can be launched into the right direction. It will also focus your work into specific tasks.
The first challenge you need to resolve is what you know and what you do not know. You know your specific “domain expertise” – your field or profession. But do you know who is interested in your expertise? In most cases I think that you do not know enough. If you are a physician with a specialty like radiation therapy, is your blog going to appeal to other physicians? or to cancer patients? or to physicists who need to know about treatment plans? Publishing on the Internet, requires skills you may not have. For most people it means learning new skills and practicing them until you are good at them. Researching reader’s preferences and testing out different ways to entice people to read and promote your ideas to others is something very few people have done before writing blogs. On your side is a large amount of information. You also have almost limitless people who can help you.
Developing a strategy, researching for competition and complementary resources, synthesizing a plan and then following it with real blogging, are the first steps for a better blog. Most people I meet do not know much about planning or strategy. They simply have not needed strategy in their work until now. But strategy is useful in planning a blog. In publishing your own work or managing others to do it for you. Strategy is crucial to think deeply and on a high level. It is also crucial for the work that follows writing and publishing, the promotion and marketing of your ideas (or products, services or opinion.) With the huge amount of information on the Internet, getting people to notice your writing is the biggest challenge. Here lies also the opportunity. If your strategy takes into account the environment, you will be better prepared to do things well. You will also be prepared to adjust your message and how you build a series of articles that are interesting and useful. Start by reading through blogs in your field. Find ones that you can understand well, so you can base your strategy on something useful. Then expand or change according to your needs.
The first strategic challenge you need to solve is competition. Not just direct competition from similar blogs in your own field, also competition of information overload. The Internet is the biggest information system humans have ever developed. A blog is a piece of this large system. Your ideas, the way you write (style and design), how you promote your articles and how you position your ideas can be part of your strategy. If you are in a crowded field you need to be different. You need to write concisely, clearly and directly. One thing the Internet has taught us is to be useful, direct and quick. People simply don’t give you much attention span. This is specially true when you are new to them. With so much information out there something new has to be useful, interesting or even entertaining.
I will write more about strategies, so start thinking about these points:
- Who will read the articles? Research and focus on people who read blogs. Find out who comments and who spreads messages.
- What is the blog going to say? What is your core message? Do you have a unique viewpoint?
- How are you going to write, edit, promote and market the blog? Are you a good writer? Do you have interesting opinions on what others write?
- Why are you writing a blog? What is unique about your opinion or experience?
- What can you do to position your writing? Positioning is a marketing [WikiPedia marketing positioning] is a way of creating a different an image different from others.