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Okay. So you’ve decided that you want to blog. You’ve figured out what to write about. Let’s get blogging – yes?

Not quite! There are a few questions that you should ask yourself.

Who is your audience?

Work out who would be interested in what you have to say and tailor your blog to them. To help you do this, create an avatar in your head. An avatar is a sample reader who might be interested. Consider their interests, education level, age, gender and other factors so you can best write a blog to appeal to them.

What do you want them to gain from it?

This is a question you should be asking yourself with every blog that you write. What should the reader get from your posts? More importantly, why should they read your blog rather than another on a similar subject matter? Think about what you want your readers to think, feel and do.

How much do you want to share?

This is a debate you should be having with yourself as you blog. If you’re writing for a business, consider how much you’re giving away for free.

Balance is key. you want to demonstrate that you’re the expert and give them some value so they keep coming back for more. At the same time giving your readers your best ideas may mean they don’t need to hire you.

If you’re writing a personal blog, consider how much personal information you’re sharing. You’re welcome to tell the world anything you want about yourself but when your stories concern other people, ethical considerations have to be made. For the sake of safety, it’s best to use fake names and/or get the consent of parties concerned.

How often do you plan to blog?

Timetabling is important for keeping your audience engaged with regular posts. Make sure your timeframe is realistic. If you think you can write every day, feel free to do so, but if that seems a too demanding you can change it up. Regularity is more important than frequency. You can keep your audience engaged with as little as one post per fortnight.

Once it is written, how do you plan to share it wider?

When it comes to sharing your blog, there are no wrong answers so long as they increase your readership. Social media is a powerful tool: both Facebook and Twitter allow you to list a website in your personal profile which can redirect to your blog site. In addition most blogging services allow you to automatically share to social media when you post a new article.

Do you want comments? If so, how will you respond?

Comments online are a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand they can be a great way to interact with your audience and get informative feedback on your blogs, on the other they can open you up to trolling and potential abuse. These are factors to consider when thinking about opening your blog up to comments from the public. If you plan ti invite comments, invest in a spam filter and/or moderate comments before they are published.

Which blog provider is going to allow you to do all these things and reach the right people?

This choice is totally personal, do your research on the different blog providers that are out there. Think about their demographics and how that lines up with your target audience, as well as features, ease of access and price.

It may seem tedious to do all this planning when you are itching to put your first blog out there but, by thinking about these things, you’ll find it easier to produce consistent value-adding content on a regular basis. Which is what it is all about!

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