Have you thought about creating a blog to showcase your personal brand? If you'd like to illuminate your role as a thought leader, blogging is a powerful tool that can be used to increase your profile and reputation.
Blogs are a fluid, dynamic platform, more akin to a 'conversation'. They allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors by easily allowing you to publish your ideas, and it is where you can interact and build relationships with your audience.
When starting a blog, you should consider the following:
Before you set up your blog, do some research and take a look at blogs in your area of expertise, blogs you've read before and blogs you currently read. Look up your competitor's blogs and people you admire in your industry for inspiration.
2. Type of blog posts
One way to remain creative and relevant when writing your blog is to use different types of blog post formats. For instance:
How to/tutorial posts
This can educate your readers and give them practical information about a topic, a task or an issue.
Your readers can go through a number of tips, hints, strategies and tactics that can help them. For instance, 5 tips for great blog writing.
As an expert in your field you may be able to share case studies that illustrate how your knowledge/area of expertise has helped a client or organisation you have worked with.
Problem and solution
Consider posing a problem that you think is faced by your target audience and resolve that problem using your expertise.
This is a more personal blog post using your personal experiences to convey a point.
Curate newsworthy content and provide your opinion on it so you can build your reputation as an expert.
3. Content planning
You need to be posting often to achieve your goal of being a recognised thought leader. Here are some tips to keep you going:
Set a posting schedule
Just like a magazine or newspaper, your blog should have a publishing deadline. If you have a set schedule, you can avoid making excuses not to write your posts.
Plan ahead and map out a content publishing schedule for 6-12 months in an editorial calendar. It should include blog post ideas/themes/topics and dates.
Set time aside to blog
Block out a time in your diary dedicated to writing blog posts.
4. Writing tips
Writing online is very different to print writing. People tend to scan information online and browse your site quickly before making a decision to click through to another page or site. As such, you need to adapt your writing style to suit online reading.
Posts should be a readable length, about 300-600 words.
Keep paragraph short
Keep your writing concise and avoid repetition and over explanation.
Useful signposts to guide readers through your content and enable easier scanning.
Use dot points where necessary
Draw attention to the important facts without having to go into large amounts of detail.
Know your audience
Understand your audience and write content that will appeal to them.
Check your spelling and grammar
Good grammar and spelling ensures professionalism and increases credibility.
A great way to link to other online content and a useful way of providing additional information.
5. Drive traffic to your blog
One of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your blog is to write often and write well. Here are some more tips to get your blog busy:
Add share buttons
Great content gets shared more often.
Images are important for sharing on social media and makes your post more readable and noticeable.
Share on social media
Share your blog posts on all your social media channels.
Comment on other blogs
Comment on other blogs so they link to your own blog.
Tag your posts
Adding metadata to your blog posts will make a huge difference to how easily that post is found by people and search engines.
Add your blog URL to your email signature and your business card.
Starting a blog takes commitment but if you spend the time and energy to build a great blog where you share your expertise, advice and insights, you'll be surprised at the impact it can create for your personal brand. So get blogging today!
About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. www.unknowntoexpert.com
Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business. www.cpcommunications.com.au