The decisions you make and the actions you take before you set up your marketing blog are at least as important as the steps you take once your blog is up and running.
Proper planning can help you avoid many false starts and much backtracking.
Start by asking yourself basic marketing questions such as these:
- How will you monetize your blog? For ideas refer to Blogs and Blogging for Fun and Profit.
- What will you sell?
- Which are your target markets?
- Can you reach them through advertising? Offline business networking?
- Can you connect with them at social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Direct Matches, Yuwie or Ryze? While you’re building credibility with the search engines, you can use online social networking and forums to enlist subscribers and readers for your blog.
- What can you write about in your blog or what other content can you offer that will attract them?
- Which keywords are they searching for that are relevant to your project?
- Which keyword searches can you realistically compete for?
- How will you position your products and brand yourself?
Asking these questions up front will make it possible to develop a coherent plan of action, and we will consider them in coming weeks.
You will need to choose a home for your blog, and that raises another key question.
Will you join a blogging community such as Blogger.com or Wordpress.com — or will you host your blog independently? I explain in Creating a Home for Your Blog why serious bloggers usually prefer to host their sites independently, and later we’ll look at what that entails.
And you will also need to evaluate your marketing and technical skills. Where are you on the learning curve? What will it take to get up to speed? Will you require some amount of personal guidance to get off to the right start?