Launching a blog in 2011?

15 years ago, in a column for the Kansas City Business Journal, I wrote an article about newsletters, encouraging business owners – before the launch – to ask themselves four questions:

• What do I hope to accomplish?

• What is my relationship to the audience?

• How badly is this information needed?

• What is my commitment to the project?

A newsletter cannot “earn its stripes” with a single issue, or even a single year’s issues. Establishing equity in a newsletter is a long-term commitment that may defy breakeven standards for a number of years. Continuity is critical as well. …

Today, those same questions could be asked about your organization's blog.

BlogPulse reports the total number of identified blogs at more than 152 million. Nearly 52,000 were launched in the last 24 hours. Nearly a million posts were indexed in the last 24 hours.

How’s that for competition?

At the time I wrote that article (as long as I'm just reminiscing), one of our main clients was a real estate developer. His biggest marketing challenge was that he wanted every property to be presented as a perfect location for any business. He was unwilling to focus on a single niche … for fear that it might turn away a business in some other niche.

If I were adding a fifth question to the list above (about newsletters, yes, but especially blogs!), I think it would be: Can you identify a focus that will allow you to differentiate yourself from that competition?

And, do you have the courage to stay with it?

If so, full steam ahead!

Happy New Year! Here's wishing you much success in 2011!