In the current age of Web 2.0 marketing strategies, business owners must be available to their customers. Gone are the days of the untouchable CEO, especially if you're trying to do business online. You've probably heard it before, but here it is again: People do business with people they like.

And one of the easiest ways to make yourself accessible to current and potential clients is to set up and regularly maintain a blog for your business.

Before we dig in, let me be perfectly clear: A blog is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Blogging isn't going to make you a millionaire overnight, but a good, content-rich blog will help you grow your business over the long haul.

With no further ado, let's get right to basics, starting with the first rule to a successful blog.

Successful blog rule #1: Content is king

Before you write the first word in your blog, you need to determine who your target market is and what they need from you. Once you figure that out, you're ready to start brainstorming content.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that your content is interesting and relevant to your readers. If you're a lawyer trying to reach out to potential clients, you shouldn't be blogging about gardening. You might make a few friends who share your interest in gardening, but you aren't going to land any new clients from such a blog. (However, feel free to use a separate, personal blog to chat away about your gardening interests to your heart's content.)

So how do you come up with fresh content for your blog? Here are a few ideas:

Keyword popularity tools - use these to find out if people are actually searching for your topic of choice, and if they're using your chosen keywords or a more popular synonym.

Networking groups and forums - join a few that serve your target market and join them, even if you spend all of your time "lurking" and not participating. Just pay attention to hot topics and questions that remain unanswered.

News alerts - create Google alerts for your top keywords and watch for news, press releases, blog posts, etc., surrounding your topic of choice.

Related blogs - find blogs that cover topics similar to yours and subscribe to their RSS feeds to keep an eye on what they're discussing. - search for an item similar to what you're trying to sell, and will show you similar items that other people have searched for and bought.

Successful blog rule #2: Choose a theme for your blog to save time and headaches

Finding a theme that works well for you will save you the time and stress of trying to consistently find fresh blog content. A blog theme will also help you create a blog that is well-developed and of interest to your readers - which keeps them coming back for more.

Possible blog themes could include:

- Seasons and major holidays
- Unique, little-known holidays and special events, like Electronic Greetings Day
- Regular reviews of books. magazine articles, etc. that are of interest to your niche market
- Reviews of seminars, webinars, teleconferences, etc., that are of interest to your niche market
- Independent product reviews

In fact, you could incorporate your chosen blog theme into all of your marketing efforts. A few examples include converting your online articles and free reports into a series of blog posts, inviting readers to chat about subjects covered in your most recent newsletter, and expanding a client's testimonial into a mini-interview to help potential clients see the benefits of working with you.

Successful blog rule #3: Consistency, consistency, consistency!

Some well-meaning bloggers get on a roll and start off strong with one blog post every single day, but then once the newness wears off (and real life commitments kick in), they find that they don't have the time to blog every day on a consistent basis. So they miss a day at first, and then they miss a few days, and all of a sudden a week (or more!) has gone by with no new posts.

Missing a blog post can happen to the best of us, but doing so on a regular basis is a sign that your blog schedule isn't right for you.

Many blog experts say that publishing new blog posts at least once or twice per week is desirable, but the most important aspect is to be consistent.

If you commit to two blog posts per week, set a schedule for yourself (for example, say that you'll post to your blog every Tuesday and Thursday) and stick with it! If you get on a roll with new blog ideas, great - get your ideas down in writing (either the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper, or you can take advantage of most blog's draft feature that will let you save drafts for future editing and publishing) to save for those times when the ideas just aren't flowing.

Maintaining a regular blog can (and should) be a stress-free and possibly even fun way to connect with your current and potential clients. If you're not taking the time to reach out to them, you better believe that someone else will - and that someone else will take their business, too.

Author's Bio: 

Serena Carcasole is a business consultant and the President of Virtual Business Solutions ON DEMAND, a premier virtual assistance firm helping entrepreneurs around the world to succeed and grow their businesses, providing a host of specialized technical & marketing outsourcing options to meet business owners' unique needs for even the most complicated projects. For more info: / Tel: 905-915-1203 Email: