Don’t sound surprised. You have a blog strategy, right?

After all, what is the purpose of a business blog if there is no strategy driving it? Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it a good idea.

As a matter of fact, I’ve seen several professional services blogs that are arguably doing more harm than good for their firms. Only rarely does anyone update them. And when someone does post, the content is all about the firm. As a reader, I’m not feeling the love.

However, in all likelihood, blogging is a good idea for your company. In a recent study of online marketing for professional services firms, we found that high growth firms and industry experts alike rate blogging as one of the most effective online marketing strategies.

Here are a few tips to give strategic focus to your blog.

1. Consider your goals.

A well-done blog can do a lot for a firm. Here are some objectives you might set for your blog.

  • Position your firm as expert in a well-defined area
  • Draw traffic to your site by adding SEO-driven content
  • Nurture your existing prospects
  • Generate new leads
  • Encourage links to your site
  • Create a community and provide fuel for social media

The clearer you can be about your goals, the easier it will be to achieve them.

2. Be clear about who you are writing for.

Understanding your target client plus defining your goals should help you home in on your desired audience. A specific focus is important because even slightly different audiences will likely have very different needs and preferences.

3. Specify what you want the reader to do.

Are you trying to get the reader to sign up for some premium content so you can harvest their contact information? Or perhaps you want the reader to share a post with friends, thereby building your inbound links. In either case, defining the desired response helps refine your blog strategy. Your goals for the reader inform what topics and approaches make sense for you.

4. Decide how the topics will relate to your services.

It helps to understand which services you want to lead with as you begin to do business with your new clients. This knowledge can also help inform your blog’s topics and strategy. Remember, you don’t need to write about your services directly. You can blog about the issues that your key services are likely to impact.

5. Think beyond your keyboard.

Where will all of these great posts come from? Sure, you will need to author some directly. But valuable content can come from many other sources. You can invite guest posts from marketing partners or from clients. Or you can take a major piece of content, perhaps a research study or a white paper, and break it down into digestible chunks.

Alternatively, you can work in the other direction and do a series of blog posts that can be put together to form a guide or ebook. In this way you get the best of two worlds—easily developed content and minimal work.

If you do nothing else but take these suggestions to heart, you are well on your way to a more effective and targeted blog strategy. It’s not about you or your firm. It’s about being helpful to your readers. Do that well, and the rest of the strategy will fall into place.