It has become rare to find a business owner or executive who doesn’t blog. Unfortunately, most of their efforts continue to fall short. It takes a lot more than writing what’s on your mind a few times a week to drive real financial improvement through this now-common marketing method. The good news, however, is that those who do succeed have more in common than you might think.

Here’s a five-step process you can follow to replicate the track record of the most successful business bloggers.

1. Uncover Your Online Ecosystem

"¨"¨With over a million blogs in existence, it can be tough to stand out. Fortunately for you, the majority of them are irrelevant to your target audience and prospective customers. In fact, there are typically only a handful of blogs that people interested in any particular niche visit regularly. And because even the most influential specialty bloggers got to where they are through the generosity of others, it’s relatively easy to form relationships with them through social media, comments, and email and eventually ask them to share your best material. 

2. Determine Your Point of View"¨"¨

Before you start creating content, figure out the topics bloggers in your niche are already talking about. Then pick a related point of view that no one else already has covered. Keep in mind that promoting your point of view is not the same as promoting your product or service. While your ultimate aim is to build an audience made up of people who want to buy what you’re selling, the best blogs publish material that is informative and entertaining for its own sake. The best way to navigate this paradox is develop your online voice around the ideas, values, and philosophies that made you go into business in the first place.

"¨"¨3. Identify Your Resources"¨"¨

The best blogs come out consistently, just like a newspaper or magazine. Instead of concentrating the production of your blog in the hands of one or two people who might have no choice but to drop the ball when other big projects come up, spread your work thinly across different people in your organization. Or if you’re a solopreneur or micro-business, find ways to tap into your online ecosystem by offering fellow bloggers the chance to do guest posts and interviews on your blog. 

4. Build Your Blueprints"¨"¨

Human beings are more alike than they are different, and they tend to respond to the same stimuli in similar ways. Before you start churning out material, pinpoint the blueprints that get people to click on and read the same kinds of articles time and again. Start by looking at other successful blogs and borrow their basic underlying structures. Then flesh out the bones with specific details drawn from your industry and experience. "¨"¨

5. Put It Out and Change It Up

"¨"¨Eventually you’ve got to stop planning and start releasing. Remember that even the most rigorous business blogging strategy is a nothing more than a hypothesis until you observe how people respond. Measure which blueprints perform best in terms of helping you reach your sales and marketing goals. Eliminate the kinds of posts that do poorly, add more of the star performers to the mix, and keep repeating until your blog regularly meets every one of your business development goals.