At what point during the business planning process is creating a blog a good idea?
I want to start a blog but have no idea where to begin. I don't yet have a business, just an idea. However, I have a business plan, design ideas, and I've researched the type of legal structure, fees, etc. necessary to get started. Should I start the blog now to get my name out to the public, or wait until I have physical merchandise to sell?
At the moment you find you have valuable content to share, content that express your brand vision and even content that could empowers others or move them for the best, then at that time is your time.
Many women including me started businesses after we have shared all those ideas we had in our minds. We knew that most people around us would not help us get there, and the way it probably would was through writing, connecting with others, recording our thoughts, etc. And know is blogging.
Joi, one thing you should remember is how quick we tend to procrastinate and our minds to forget. Keep your thoughts and everything your mind tells you in writing. If not this time, maybe later you are gonna have that urge to express and share them -that is part of your branding sweetheart. ;)
wish you success.
Why you should write a blog for your business, because it will be your business plan for you to accomplish many things:
Give you new blog + business ideas as you write.
Help you take your blog seriously as a business.
Cause you to discover and analyze your growth potential.
Help you carefully plan the ways to make money from your blog that best fit your brand.
Help you budget and not overspend.
Guide you through future decisions for your blog as a business.
Give you a clear picture of how you will promote + grow your blog.
Your blog may not require each section of this plan; you’ll be the one who determines how much to include. However, if you’re running your blog as a business, each section you write is important and should ideally be completed before you invest a substantial amount of time or money in your business.
A thorough blog business plan will help you avoid major obstacles and will guide your decisions unlike any other document. When considering a new idea, upcoming blog post, customer request or suggestion, expansion, marketing opportunity, or any other operational item, you will have this plan to consult.
Operating a blog and a business without a road-map can hurt your growth potential or cause your reach to grow more slowly than it could have.
Quick tip: I recommend reading through your blog business plan at least once each month. This will help you stay on track with goals as well as remind you of objectives you’ve forgotten about that can fill your “free time.”
You can write your blog business plan in any order you wish, and in fact it might be easiest to start with the sections you’re most excited about to get the ideas and energy flowing.
You must do blog only if you are willing to write about your Business regularly.
Blogs can take a long time build a large audience so the sooner you start the better. Be consistent, write weekly - and most important : educate! Don't sell...
The earlier you start a blog the better, as it can rank on the search engines wake you work on the business plan. You can even put up alone page blog initially and expand when you have a clearer view of your business plan.
As soon as you have all your eggs in a row and can defend your position as an expert or one willing to learn
I'd say there's no general right answer to this. It's what's right for your business idea that matters.
You can use a blog as a research tool to develop your value proposition: try out your ideas, and ask for feedback, or you can write a blog for a few months to see how quickly you can build interest, to validate how easy it might be to generate leads. You might also use a blog to develop community support for your product idea. This might encourage you to carry your idea into a real business.
If you decide that blogging is going to be essential to drive interest in your product, perhaps because the internet is your only route to the customer, then starting a blog before you start your business is a pretty useful test. Conversely, if generating interest on a blog is non-essential to your business, then it's something you should start later on, or not at all.
From the information you have given it sounded like you were possibly designing a physical not a virtual product. How do you exactly see blogging as enhancing the product brand? Who is your public? Are they most easily addressible via a blog or other means of communication? Will you be selling direct to them, or through a partner?
Blogging is one of several marketing communication methods, you could use. It takes a long time and commitment to build even relatively modest and loyal following. Brands also take a long time to develop -- traditionally around 3 to 7 years -- although can be faster via the internet, e.g. Youtube vloggers, who might become well-known with their audience in six months.
There are lots of people commenting on the importance of getting the planning and thinking straight and while that is a good idea if your business is established, it can make the whole thing rather daunting. You can quite easily blog about your insights from meeting customers and discussing your plans with them and how your products will help them. You can use this as part of your market discovery and at least start to build a community around your new venture. It is entirely likely that your business will take a turn into a direction that you are not planning - that is healthy so worrying about a detailed marketing and positioning plan and SEO now is likely to be time wasted and - perhaps worse, build such a big barrier that it puts you off doing anything.
Get out and talk to people and write what you find. People buy from people so trying to be too prescriptive and aiming for perfection now is IMHO the wrong strategy. You can easily have a blog without the rest of the website so worrying about brand is also a distraction.
Before you do anything else make sure people want what you are offering and if necessary refine your proposition until they do.
Use your blog to demonstrate your expertise and get your name out there.
You have been given some good advice here, but there are a few more things you might want to consider.
There are more than 50 different types of blog posts. What are you writing about, when and why? Are you mixing and combining different media or using just text?
Are you connecting your content to your business goals KPIs and metrics and thinking about conversions from readers to subscribers to customers will take place?
Are you trying to build a list of prospects to nurture and a list of customers to develop into repeat business, or just going for low-hanging fruit and hoping or expecting a certain number of sales per post?
You might want to at least create a basic editorial calendar so you can see the big picture of what you'll write, when and why, and how the different posts and pages will connect and support each other. Writing a bunch of disconnected content doesn't produce an exponential, leveraged result and there will be seasonal issues, forecasts, hot news, and a variety of other categories that should be organized in your plan - besides the specific topics you'll want to write about..
An editorial calendar also helps you in gathering research info along the way. When you have a content plan and know what topics are coming up, you can grab bits and pieces or related topics/articles as ideas when you find or stumble across them. You may also need to include examples or other data with your own content and you can set up a bookmarking folder structure to support keep it all in order.
In addition to bookmarks, I use the Session Manager extension for Firefox which allows me to save a collection of open tabs for accessing later.
Also consider doing some basic content curation as part of your content plan as it can relieve the load and pressure from time to time. It will also allow you to link out to high-quality sites related to your site/posts/topics/keywords which is good for SEO as long as you don't overdo it. Too many links to other sites can devalue why anyone would want to visit yours.
Reader/Buyer personas will be a consideration at some point. Writing a post for all women in your targeted age group might work to some degree, but if you use a main article and then include mentions of things in the text that link to secondary articles, certain personas will segment themselves closer to a specific need/solution.
This is why it's so valuable to have your content/editorial calendar in at least a basic form - so you can create content with intention toward specific results. You can also flowchart the relationships between your pages and posts and leverage multiple pages instead of hoping one page can do all the work.
This may seem like extra work and it is. But it gets you thinking more clearly about how to best invest your valuable and limited time for content creation.
Also, when you write a blog post, you will sometimes want to write a Tweet and/or Facebook comment pointing to the blog post so those venues can drive traffic. You need to use various venues like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. to get traffic to your blog even if you are planning on advertising to generate traffic. Blogging is no longer a standalone activity. It works more effectively when integrated with other tools and you need the time to do those, too, or you'll see less of a result.
It all boils down to how effectively you can do blogging and how many of the elements of its success are executed correctly. There are an infinite number of ways to do something wrong, but only a few variations to do it where the desired results are achieved.
When the inevitable struggles you'll experience tell you to stop something because it doesn't work, it actually could be that you need to tweak or adjust some things or make tactical additions/subtractions to your strategy.
My Golden Rule of marketing is, "Test Everything". I know it's easier said than done, but the more you test, the more you find out what doesn't work, what works, and what works even better. A/B Split testing is easiest.
You'll probably be testing alternative ads and landing pages in your advertising, but you can do this in content creation, too. When one version of a post produces more of the desired result than a similar post written with a different emphasis, you'll be a believer in how valuable and powerful content testing for improved results can be.
Until the content is something you would find captivating as someone interested in your business, it's better to wait or blog about related topics. Don't give a play by play of daily details or you'll alienate your potential readers.