This is a common question business bloggers ask and it’s one I have some answers to in this post.
First posts are always important. However the level of importance differs depending on a few factors.
For companies with a large customer base and an existing well-known brand, the first post is very important. It sets the scene, in front of thousands of people, for the high quality content you’ll be publishing on your blog.
For small local businesses on the other hand without much of an existing following, the first post, whilst good to write well, is not that big a deal. Hardly anyone will see it.
The following 8 ‘first blog post’ ideas are however applicable to businesses of all types and sizes, although with a couple dependent on circumstances and connections.
Let’s jump straight in.
1. Introductory post
The introductory post sets the scene. It tells new readers what to expect and gives an insight into the ethos and nature of the company.
Provides a clear opening for readers to make a decision as to whether they’d like to follow your blogging journey.
Benefits you as the blogger by helping you gain clarity in your mind in regards to what you’ll be writing about in the weeks and months to come.
Relatively easy to write as you know your company inside out and should have a good idea already of what your blogging niche is.
Many people just don’t care about you or your company. They want you to provide answers to their problems or needs instead. An introductory post will leave them cold.
You might not be completely sure of your blogging direction yet. Therefore writing what you think you might blog about can exacerbate existing indecisiveness and cause confusion later on.
2. Q & A with your blogging employees
This is a possible opening for multi-author business blogs where the company employees will be doing the blogging. An opening blog post of this type sees an interviewer (perhaps the boss) ask the future bloggers questions about themselves, the business, customers and the industry.
Fun to do. It’s a chance to get your employees talking about themselves and about your business. Who doesn’t like to talk about themselves?
The gathering will get your employees enthusiastic about blogging and encourage a sense of teamwork.
New readers and existing customers will enjoy reading about the people behind the brand and will be attracted to individual personalities who they’ll want to hear from more.
There’s a danger the Q&A could descend into farce and be counterproductive and lack credibility.
The questions might not be suitable. It can be difficult to know what to ask and how to ask things in a way to bring out the best in people.
Your employees might be rather boring people. Boring people do exist. Boring people make for boring Q&As. In fact, a boring Q&A will make you realise boring people shouldn’t be blogging at all.
Tip: The Q & A can be in the form of a written interview or better still, an informal meeting captured on video (with a transcript).
An example of a contest might be a photo or drawing competition where you judge the best submitted photo/drawing related to your business or industry. The first post will be a description of the rules and prize.
Creates interest, publicity and engagement if carefully and expertly marketed beforehand.
Very easy to set up depending on the type of contest you want to create. All that’s needed are a few simple rules and a way for people to respond.
It’s fun for everyone. You’ll enjoy creating and judging the contest and people will be excited by the challenge. They’ll remember you for a good while after.
Without a competent marketing department behind you or a large existing following, you’ll have a difficult time getting enough people to enter.
It might become a time consuming endeavour if too many people enter the contest.
The description of the rules and prize as a first post might be a turn off for people who have no interest in contests.
4. Interview a big name
If you’re lucky enough to know a celebrity or well-known name in your industry then an interview with this person will serve as a great first blog post.
The interview will generate publicity for your business and its new blog. People will share the interview with their friends and colleagues via email and social media.
The well-known interviewee provides most of the material for the blog post in the form of his or her answers. You just need to get the questions right with a few of them connected back to your business or industry in some way.
You might get other celebrities and well-known names interested in having similar interviews in the future.
Not much use if you don’t know a celebrity or big-name in your industry.
Many people will come just to read or listen to the interview with the well-known person they admire and might completely ignore your business despite you being the host.
Such a powerful first post will create an expectation among new readers and subscribers which you might find difficult to meet every week.
5. Personal story
You begin your new business blog with a personal story. Its primary aim being to show you as a human being people can trust and not just a business owner wanting them to reach into their wallets.
The story can be about the inspiration behind your business, how you developed your personal values, or even about an unfortunate event in your life which had a major impact on you.
People often warm to personal stories which reveal the human side of a business. If they like what they read they’ll want to know more and so will stick around.
A personal story can be easy to write and won’t have the same structure and rules you might think a typical blog post needs.
The first post can be a hurdle which people procrastinate over. A personal story you enthusiastically want people to read will help you get the ball rolling.
As with the introductory post idea, many people are not really interested in you or your business story. They just want help and advice with problems or questions they have.
It has the potential to appear unprofessional to some people, especially if you share too much. They won’t take you or your business as seriously as a result. Remember, the post will be readable for years to come.
6. Blogging as normal
Jumping into what appears a routine blog post takes the pressure off creating a special first post. This is handy if you’re having a creative block before you even begin blogging.
New readers will have a general idea about what to expect in future posts and whether they like your blogging style.
Blogging as normal also allows you some manoeuvrability in being able to adjust what you write about in later weeks without feeling hindered by promises made in an introductory post.
People might be confused by this type of first post. They’ll wonder whether it’s the start of something new or just a random piece of information.
It will likely be met with silence unless it’s exceptional or well marketed.
7. Make a prediction
At the beginning of every year, people like to make predictions about what the next 12 months will bring. Your first blog post can borrow from this tradition. Make a prediction about what will happen in your industry or something related to your business in a timeframe of your choosing.
Fun to write. This type of post combines your expertise with your imagination.
New readers will see you as an expert. They’ll be intrigued by your predictions and will want to know more. Some may even subscribe just to see if your predictions come true.
A prediction post is something to look back on in the future. It’s like a time capsule. You can link back to it in future months or years and point out how accurate (or maybe how wrong) you were.
It might be a little too strange and whacky as a first post for some people. They’ll think you have your head in the clouds.
New visitors to your blog will wonder who you are. Whilst a prediction post might be fun to read they will be unsure just how you can help them with their current problems.
Your predictions might be too far out and cause embarrassment later on.
8. A resource list
A resource list is a collection of helpful sources of information beneficial to your target audience. They might include a list of books, a collection of websites or a directory of android apps related to your field.
This can be an extremely beneficial post to your desired audience. They’ll bookmark it and share the post widely among friends and colleagues.
You’ll be seen as an expert with an in-depth knowledge about your industry and the wider picture.
Easy to put together if you’re familiar with all the sources already. All you’ll need to do is add a small introduction to go with each link.
The biggest drawback is that people will naturally be leaving your website each time they click on a link. Unless the link opens in a new window or tab they might not return.
Resource lists are often better created on a website page rather than in a blog post. People might think your new blog will be nothing more than lists and could be turned off if it doesn’t appeal directly to them.
These lists can be overwhelming to create if you’re not familiar with the resources you highlight, which is not a good idea in itself anyway.
What type of first blog post should you choose?
The type of first blog post you go with largely depends on a combination of factors including your personality (or that of your company), your planned marketing strategy, the size of your existing customer base, and your target market.
A play-it-safe introductory blog post will work in all circumstances and if you’re really struggling to decide then this should be considered the default option.
In my next post I’ll provide you with an array of ideas to make your introductory blog post come alive and inspire new readers to come back for more.
In the meantime, what first blog post ideas can you think of for both small businesses and large corporations? Which of the above would you choose? Are you about to create a first post yourself?
Share your answers, opinions and any questions you might have in the comment section below.
Also, don’t forget to sign up to my email series which provides even more blog post ideas for blogging businesses and marketers.