I’m a little envious of you, if you’re a blogger who is just about to embark on the journey. You might do it right from day one and never face the monumental task of re-organising and leveraging massive quantities of great but forgotten content.
While Google may have smiled on some of it, even the most internet savvy bloggers have good content that isn’t hitting the right eyes and ears to do what it should.
Operation Cleanup, Stage One
This has been a long time in coming. The task seemed too daunting. But apply enough concentrated thinking, take on board others’ bright ideas, and eventually clarity will follow. The rest will come through action.
So this thinking is for you, the start-up blogger to get it right from scratch. And also you, the established blogger, as an inspiration to re-organise, re-purpose and re-discover the benefits of both your and others’ overlooked wisdom.
Let’s just do a quick evaluation of why you’re blogging in the first place. It should never have been about scattering your beliefs, knowledge and innovation randomly, with no pre-planning as to where and how it would land.
Do you put in hours of work, research and writing? Do you then hope like hell that your fairy dust might just land somewhere in the universe on folk who will magically realise how awesome your business offer is? That, dear reader, is sad and disrespectful of you, your worth and your time.
The right questions
So the questions are no longer: Are you online to become a business of influence in your industry, an authority in your area of expertise, and to build a community? The new questions are: How much of what you’re doing online is focused and directed, and how much of a difference do you make as a result?
Here is how you should roll out your website or re-organise it to support best-practise blogging. These first four steps are so critical to getting it right, or rethinking what you are currently doing, they’re worth revisiting.
First, why are you doing it? I know this is like a cracked record, but if you’re not clear on why you do what you do, for whom and for what purpose, sorry, but your efforts are doomed. That goes across the board, from the micro business blogger to corporate blogging.
2. Research like Knit-a-square
Even if you have a purpose, how much do you know about those you most want to reach? Where are they, how many are they, and are they looking for your offer?
When I started Knit-a-square in 2008, I did extensive research over two months. My purpose was to help the AIDS orphans of southern Africa with a simple idea to keep them warm. But who was looking for that purpose? In the end, I found thousands of people who both loved knitting and wanted to make a difference with it. After all, how many scarves, jumpers and hats can you knit for your loved ones?
The website was structured to satisfy the Google bots and the articles were like honey traps for these good folk, delivering what I knew they were looking for as a result of the research. Not all of the 12,000 plus members we have today found us as a result of this website, but many did and because they loved the difference they were making, they spread the word. A mark of a happy community. And a fine intention for what you do online.
3. Brand positioning
When you’ve done the research, the next step is to achieve crystal clarity on what you’re positioning online—you the expert, your business, your industry niche or your product. Or in the case of Knit-a-square, the cause. Each involves a different strategy. These differences are set out in four scenarios in the free chapter of my book Clans, Supercharge Your Business. Go on, download it, I’ll wait while you do. Got it? Great. We can move on.
Your offer is most likely a composite of all that is best about why you do what you do. It will be made up of some sort of framework or process. Or if it is a brand new idea like Knit-a-square was, detailed research.
Take a graphic design business for example. Perhaps they’re brand design specialists and a clear design brief and producing brand guidelines are essential to their offer.
They can compress that knowledge, expertise and experience into a framework and test them against keyword research.
For example, design brief (49,500 visits per month) and brand guidelines (90,500 visits per month) are well searched terms with low competition.
For this particular graphic design niche, (given full research, not just a quick glance as I have done for the purpose of this article), these might be part of a framework and therefore should be represented on the navigation menu and categories.
These could be two of the supporting pillars of the main offer, ‘branding design’.
Apart from research, a simple reason for choosing a pillar as part of your framework is that it might support enough important content to be a chapter in your book.
Suppose you wrote that book on your main offer. If you could include case studies of what worked, mistakes clients made in the area, and their problems you solved with your experience, then that might warrant a chapter. As such it should be part of your framework and represented on your navigation menu and in your categories.
Avoiding the pain of a rework
By looking at the categories on this site, Why You Must Blog, given the restrictions of WordPress categories, you’ll see how I’ve started the process. These reflect the 7C Plan to Clan, the framework I’ve created for powerful blogging to build powerful communities.
It’s still being realised, which illustrates the pain of rework for me and the pleasure for you, the start up blogger, in getting it right in the first place.
What kind of relationship do you have with your blog?
I am also dealing with a blended family straddling two brands at present, Why You Must Blog and The ClanMakers, and trying to bring them both into line with this framework. This is a common issue for many business owners as we build on, and improve our offers.
This article has attempted to put a context around why it is important to structure your site in alignment with your purpose and the framework of your best offer.
Optimising your site for appropriate keywords that match your framework is important. But it’s only the beginning of finding your best customer and building an advocating community. It does, however, at least set the stage for the search engines to understand what you’re on about.
There are the more important reasons why you should do it:
• it helps you develop your offer to its fullest potential
• it arranges your content logically so it makes sense to your visitor
• it makes organizing your encyclopedia of knowledge a great deal easier for you
• it puts a context around your calls to action
• it provides a reference point for the experts you could involve who consolidate what you say
• it creates a sense of belonging for those who are really pleased to have found you.
After that, the rest of your work continues with consistent, focused generation and management of your content. All of this activity aimed at connecting with the people you most wish to engage.
Operation Cleanup, Stage Two
The next article will bring:
• some practical step by step suggestions to rework your site
• mine and other’s recommendations on how to leverage your content
• easy ways to curate others’ great value
• insights into discipline and consistency
• a simple scheduling process to help build your profile online.
Clans, Supercharge Your Business is to be launched on Kindle. I’m passionate about the message contained in the book, a framework to build you an advocating community that can make a difference to your and others’ lives.