A blog really is a small publication. Just like a magazine publisher, blog owners must have a content focus, a publishing process, and an understanding of how to “make money,” so to speak. (Businesses hope the blog will convert readers to buyers; libraries hope it will encourage more people to use library services, for example.)
Behind every great blog is a strategy that defines all of the above. Whether you already have a blog or are just getting started, be sure to consider the following questions. They will help you refine your strategy so you can get as much out of your blog as you put into it.
Do I need a blog?
Not necessarily. If your target audiences don’t read blogs regularly, then blogging may be a low-priority tactic.
But there are other advantages of regular blogging that make it worth considering:
- Google favors frequently updated websites. If your blog lives on your website, a steady stream of blog posts will help you rank higher in search results.
- Each time you publish new content and share it in social media, you are driving more traffic back to your website.
- A blog keeps your community informed and helps you build connections with target audiences.
How will writing a blog help my library?
Before you write your first post, decide what it should achieve for your library. Are you trying to create awareness among a specific audience? Build your email list? Keep the community updated? Setting a clear goal will dictate design and content decisions and ensure consistency in execution.
What do we want visitors to do after reading the blog?
Think about what you want visitors to do after they finish reading a post. For example, blogs are a good way to drive web traffic to other parts of your website. A useful objective might be to increase page views of your job resources section. You can then tailor your content and internal linking strategies to achieve these results.
How do I decide what to write about?
Blog content depends upon the audience you’re trying to reach, and it should be very focused on what members of that audience want to read. For example, if keeping the community updated is a goal, your blog content should focus on the latest events, new additions to the collection, fundraising, and staff profiles. If you want to reach moms, your content should focus on story hours, tips for teaching kids to read, and the hottest new children’s books.
How often should I blog?
Frequently published blogs naturally get more traffic. But with limited time and resources, it may not be possible to commit to several posts a week. However, consistency is more important than quantity. Most blogs do very well by publishing once a week. Your audience will come to expect your post, and over time, you’ll build a loyal audience.
Do I really need to hire a web developer to design my blog?
Not necessarily, but it is a good idea to work with one to set it up properly. Still, there are plenty of free blogging platforms, including WordPress.com, SquareSpace, and Wix.com. This may be an easy way to get started, but keep in mind there are real SEO benefits to having your blog integrated into your library website.
How do I know if my blog is successful?
The simplest way to gauge success is by measuring the volume of web traffic to your blog. But that won’t necessarily tell you if you’ve met your marketing objective. Consider these metrics: an increase in community awareness, higher attendance at events, or more subscribers to your newsletter.
In addition, Google Analytics provides insightful detail about readership, including number of views, how much time readers spend on the blog, and if they visit any registration pages after reading your posts. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Analytics, you can take the free Beginners Course at Google Analytics Academy to learn more.
Working through the answers to each of the questions above will help you build a solid foundation and blogging strategy, before you ever write a word.