The short version?
In order to succeed, your blog must occupy a central place in your digital strategy. Also, you have to have a digital strategy. And to have a strategy, you need goals. Having both goals and strategy is complicated, but it's what's going to put you ahead of your competition. So suck it up!
Not having a blogging strategy is a HUGE problem with business blogging, as well as social media, content marketing, and pretty much anything else that you might find in a digital strategy for business. Remember - none of these things exists in a vacuum when you're online. Without getting all David Attenborough on ya, it’s a complex ecosystem and you cannot look at one single aspect in isolation.
Solving the digital strategy problem
This is the hardest problem to solve with a wave of my digital wand because it’s got really, really deep roots. Your blog must occupy a central place in your digital strategy, which means it has to be there from the start. Also, you have to have a digital strategy. You have one of those, right?
The solution is simple really - make sure your blog occupies a central place in your digital strategy.
If you’ve been neglectful and don’t have a digital strategy or any goals, and also don’t want to call me to do it for you, you have a big problem. You wouldn’t run any other part of your business without a strategy, and the same goes for online. If you’re ready for the challenge, get a strategy planned now.
If, for whatever reason, you don’t/can’t/won’t document a digital strategy, at least try to get a vague plan sorted out in your head, and a sense of the way in which the different digital elements in your business interrelate. Mind maps can be a good way to do this - I like Coggle - or even a pen and paper. The important thing is to understand how they support each other and make sure you are operating in the most efficient way possible.
No matter how official you’re going to make it, think about your website, blog, social media and content as intimately connected. Map out every possible route for conversion and make sure they’re all aligned. Make sure that every aspect supports every other aspect in the most important ways. Ask questions like “where are blog visitors coming from? Social? Are your social channels designed to funnel visitors to the blog? Where do we want them to go next and how do we ensure they do this?"
Follow the paths in your head or on paper, and have them to hand when you’re creating any future goals. Please tell me you have goals, right?!