“I know I should be blogging, but...”Jenni here, and this is something we hear from creative business owners all the time. So much so, we’ve decided to kick off with a small series on getting your blog off the ground."
When it comes to blogging for businesses we see a lot of common threads — including questions like, “Is it going to be worth my time to put together quality posts?” and “I don’t want to just be more noise, is this really going to help?” and, “How often do I need to do this to make sure it works?”
Or maybe you’ve stayed away from blogging for so long, it feels like you can’t break the radio silence until you have to have a really great come-back-post. And that can lead to a case of creative paralysis (you know when you're avoiding making eye contact with your blog because your last post was months ago?).
If you're on the fence about committing your time to a business blog, consider that companies with an active blog get 97% more sales leads (research via Content+ 2013). There's a lot strategy and SEO goodness behind that stat, and something we'll be covering in great detail in future post, I'm sure.
Today we’re going to discuss creating a game plan when it comes to blogging (and give you a great planning worksheet to get started with). That way you won’t have "the big guilt," and instead you’ll have actionable steps toward getting started.
STEP ONE: SHAKE OFF THE NERVES
The fear associated with breaking the radio silence sometimes sounds like this: "If I'm going to post for the first time in 6 months, it has be to a REALLY good blog post." But we like to remind our creative clients that each thing you write is a small part of a bigger plan. Your first post (whether ever or in a long time) isn't going to accomplish everything. What's going to increase your traffic and get you more sales leads is thoughtful articles that are consistent over time, and answer questions or offer tips to your readers. Your first post doesn’t have to be the ultimate, the everything or the best. It just has to be one step in the right direction.
STEP TWO: SET A PLAN OF ATTACK
Sophie and I spend a day every few weeks coming up with blog ideas, and mapping out topics to discuss with our readers. We think about what problems we can help solve, or nuggets of value we can offer. With this map in hand, I can sit down to write understanding how that piece fits in with other posts coming that month. For me, this completely relieves the pressure of making each post perfect, and I can focus on writing what's in front of me — that week's valuable idea.
This plan eliminates the impulse to say too many things at once, which only muddies your message. Plus it wards off “creative paralysis” that can set in when you’re overwhelmed by trying to do too much with one post.
As you start thinking through ideas, here are some brainstorming some questions you can ask yourself:
If your business is service based:
- What are the top three tips you could give to almost any client who walks through your doors? (For example, the PR Professional that tells every client how to write better pitch letters).
- What questions are you asked by potential clients about what its like to work with you?
- Can you interview someone in your field who can shed light on your industry?
- You make a comprehensive tutorial or guide? If it becomes too long, break it up over several smaller posts in a series. (For example, the business coach who can write a guide on creating scaleable business practices).
If you sell a product:
- What are the background stories behind a certain design element to your product?
- What inspired your line or products that you can share? (For example, the denim designer who started out making clothing for their friends).
- Can you share some pictures of what has inspired you this week? ( For example, a recent art exhibit, some great street art, or something you found on a walk).
- Can you shed some light on parts of the production process that your customers might not know?
Any business can share:
- Story of what it's like to be you as the business owner: your studio, your community, the tools you use, the city you live in
- Your creation process (For example, the designer who can show each phase of edits they made along the way to land at their "final" design).
- Things you've learned a long the way
Take those ideas and make a list of at least 4 blog post titles that you can start to write over the next month. You could even delegate them to members in your team to get different perspectives.
Are you ready for some free marketing magic? Click here to download our Blog Post Planner worksheet, a great tool we use with our clients when helping them think through their blogging strategy. Our worksheet allows you to think on paper, and commit your ideas to a date, which is always key.
See, now you have a plan.
Next week we’re going to cover "Start Your Blog Today: Part Two." We'll talk how to carve out time, and how much time every week you should be spending to have a strong impact.
In the mean time, what’s the hardest part of blogging for you? Is it the time commitment? The need for fresh content ideas? The visual side of a blog? Fear of putting it out there?
Let us know in a comment below.
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