Earlier this year, VIVA staff attended a bloggers conference and overheard a great comment describing blogs as the modern-day back fence – a place to share information with your local community and be inspired by another’s way of life.

We thought it was a great metaphor – even though we don’t interact much with our physical neighbours these days. A blog seems to achieve the art of bringing people together with similar interests beyond their physical borders.

A blog is a great way to generate interest in a company, a brand, an activity a cause etc. If the voice behind it is genuine and human, it will attract readers in a way an ad never can.

If you are interested in starting a blog and whether it’s a personal hobby or as a company blog, team VIVA! would like to share with you a few pointers to make sure you’re off to a good start!

You see, it’s not all about creating amazing content. It’s also about the strategy you employ right from the beginning through to distribution. A well thought out strategy is the key to a successful blog.

Eight steps to successful blogging

  1. Before starting a blog establish your goals – What are you blogging for? Are you aiming to educate, entertain, provoke or delight? Your goal will help guide you in identifying appropriate content, your tone and format. E.g. if you aim to delight your readers with colourful cupcake recipes, make sure your blog’s layout focusses on the visuals.
  2. Branding – Set yourself a part. There are lots of blogs our there! What will make yours unique and different? It doesn’t necessarily have to carve out a niche topic, it can be your writing style that’s different or simply your personal beliefs and values.
  3. Audiences – Who are you writing for? Know who you are writing for and where they hang out (virtually). What’s interesting to this group of people and what do they have in common? Identify ways you can add value to your audience and they will keep coming back for more.
  4. Edit  – Blogging is easy in the sense that you can publicise your content in the blink of an eye. However, that doesn’t mean you should skip the editing process. Set aside some time to review your post or let a friend or colleague cast their eyes over it.
  5. Be consistent – How often will you be posting new content? An erratic posting pattern can easily steer readers away and while there’s absolutely no rule for how often you should post, don’t set yourself up for failure before you’ve even started by announcing how often your readers should expect to see a blog.
  6. Be visible – If you write a blog but no one reads it, are you still a blogger? Social media platforms such as Facebook and twitter could be key in directing the readers to your blog. Also, make sure you use the right key words in your headline and throughout the text so search engines will pick up on your content and rank you in related searches. Adding relevant and trusted links to your blog will also increase the SEO (search engine optimisation). It would also benefit you to engage with other bloggers and become part of a blogging community.
  7. Be contactable – If you want to be engaged by PR agencies, the media, companies and potential sponsors, it’s important to have a “contact me” section.
    Make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you and opportunities will arise.
  8. Measure – Want to know who is visiting your blog, where they are from and how they got there? Most blogging platforms offer some form of statistics and it’s easy to set up an automatic Google analytics report.  Knowledge is power!