Have you taken the time to sit down and put your blog's goals on paper?  Do you know why you are blogging and what you want to accomplish from your efforts?  Excellent.  But don't fool yourself into thinking that all you need is a plan, that's just your starting point.

Let's look at some of the reasons why a business might want to consider blogging:

1 - To build awareness.  Blogging excels at this.  Whether it's via a higher Pagerank and more Google Juice, or by adding links from other sites, blogging will help you quickly and easily get the word out about your business and its products and services.

2 - To promote themselves.  Many businesses see blogging as a cheap and easy way to get the word out about their business and what they offer.  Given the low cost of getting started, this makes blogging very popular with small businesses with small marketing budgets.

3 - To improve customer relations.  A blog is a great way to give customers another avenue for feedback, and gives the business a way to respond in real-time.  Also, in times of crisis, the blog can help serve as a valuable PR mechanism.

4 - To reach new customers.  An active blog does a much better job of drawing interest from potential customers, than a static website does.  A well-written blog also gets 'talked' about online, and that means more new visitors to your blog.

5 - To make money.  For businesses, it all comes back to the bottom-line.  Businesses start blogging because they want to ultimately sell more stuff. 

So as a business, if you can figure out what your goals for your blog are, does that mean the work is done?  No, in fact you are just getting started.

Now that you know why you are blogging, spin the issue around and look at it from the customer's point of view.  Why would a current or potential customer even care that you are blogging?  Do you think we care that you want to make more money?  Do you think that we are interested in increasing your presence? 

Think about some of the reasons why a reader might come to your blog, and what could cause them to come back::

1 - The reader arrives at your blog via a Google search.  Let's say it's 10 PM on a Sunday night, and I've just discovered that my kitchen faucet is leaking.  I need it fixed NOW!  I dash to the internet and do a search for 'Fix a leaky faucet', and arrive at the blog for your plumbing business.   My entry point is a post entitled "How to fix a leaky faucet fast!".  Yes!  This is what I need! 

So now what's the best option for me; a post telling me about your remarkable adhesive that for $10.99 can stop any leak, or a 10-step post that walks me through the process of stopping the leak myself?  If you just post about your $10.99 adhesive, I quickly see that this is NOT what I need, and immediately hit the 'Back' button on my browser and go to the next search result.

But if you tell me how *I* can fix my leaky faucet, then you have provided VALUE to me!  That makes me MUCH more likely to evangelize your business to others.  The next time I hear a friend telling me about a plumbing issue they have, of course I will tell them about your blog!

2 - I want to vent.  Your product sucks, and I want to tell you about it!  So I leave a completely off-topic comment on the first post I find on your blog, telling you how your universal remote won't control my DVD player, and is a piece of crap! 

If you delete or ignore my comment, it just makes me madder and further cements my theory that your business makes crap products, and doesn't listen to its customers

But if instead you have someone reply to my comment and explain to me that the remote DOES control DVD players, and if you show me HOW to properly use it, then suddenly I think your product is amazing, and I think YOU are amazing for taking the time to provide great customer service to me!  I found your blog mad as hell, but I will leave happy to tell others about my good experience!

3 - Others keep telling me about your blog.  I keep hearing from my buddy that fixed his leaky faucet after reading how to on your blog.  Or my other buddy that helped me configure my universal remote after your blog helped him do the same thing. 

The point in all this is, you have to consider why your customers would come to your blog, when you set your blogging goals.  If your main goal is to 'sell more stuff', that's fine, but that goal won't be reached, unless you FIRST satisfy your customers' wants and needs.  If you can solve problems for me, if you can give me a chance to speak my mind, if you can give me a voice, then you GREATLY increase your chances of not only winning my future business, but also of having me evangelize your business to others.  Which grows your business even further.

Remember, you aren't blogging for you, you are blogging for me.  Meet my goals for your blog, and I promise that I will help you meet yours.

February 22, 2008

Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.

His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post, MSNBC.com, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.

Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.

You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.

Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.


Great post, we took some time and a lot of soul searching before we started out blog.

Thanks for the great tips Mack. It's really a big help!

I love it! Thank you for putting the customer's needs first because until you do that, your company's needs will never be met. I also like the real world examples.

Thanks so much for these helpful tips. Being new to "Blogsville", your comments are appreciated!

R. Dabney

Rachel this is what I try to stress to my clients; put your readers first. A blogging business has to understand why a current or potential customer would want to interact with them. It's because they are seeking information and value. IF you can supply that, then in return, your business will get the increase in sales and will sell more stuff.

But it's almost impossible for that to happen unless you view your blog through your customer's eyes. Satisfy their wants and needs, and there's a great chance that they will return the favor. Thanks to everyone for the great comments!

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