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Building a Blog From the Ground Up: 4 Hard Questions to Ask

If you’re starting from square one or are in the process of re-launching a blog, there’s a set of questions you’ll need to address. Some are difficult to answer off the cuff without further research, while others fall into category of learn as you go. Nonetheless by dedicating some initial time and occasionally reassessing these 5 questions you’ll have a considerable head start as opposed to jumping in blind and unprepared.

1. What’s your niche?

At first glance this might seem like an obvious question, but have you given some real thought as to what you’re going to be talking about? Are you going after a crowded niche such as health, saving money, digital media, politics, marketing, fashion, or technology? If so you’ll need to get specific, and figure out exactly what’s going to separate your blog from the millions of others. You’ll need to assess what the competition is doing and take an honest look at the talent and skills of your content team, even if it’s just you.

2. Who is the reader?

Like it or not, you’re not going to win over everyone who visits. That’s OK because your job when blogging is to produce content that resonates with your target audience. If you try and win over everyone by casting too wide of a net you’ll end up pleasing no one. Do you really know who your ideal reader is? Do you know what other sites they visit, what products and services they love, what books they read, and what they spend their free time doing? These questions shouldn’t be overlooked. Know your reader well and you’ll learn how to speak in a tone they respect on topics they care about.

3. What does success look like?

Instead of borrowing another person’s definition of achievement, find out what it looks like to you. Maybe the sole purpose of your company blog is to sell an eBook. If that’s the case, how many customers at minimum will you need to justify your efforts?  Perhaps you have multiple goals such as acquiring email addresses, promoting events, and becoming a thought leader within your industry. Establish and set benchmarks for these goals from the beginning so you can avoid waking up one day and wondering how to move forward or why you even started in the first place.

4. Why do you matter?

To put it another way: why should anyone spend time reading your blog over all the other blogs? What do you have to say that isn’t being said or how can you communicate something that others are already saying in a unique way? When a new visitor comes across one of your posts they’ll make a quick judgment on whether or not it’s worth reading and eventually decide if your blog is worth repeat visits or subscribing to. Your goal shouldn’t just be to earn traffic, but also loyalty. Are you showing enough personality? Are you down to earth, relevant, and truthful, or are you reserved and offer only fluff and little substance?

These questions matter and shouldn’t be written off too quickly.
Give them the attention they deserve and you’ll thank yourself 10x over in the long run.

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