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There’s no doubt about it: blogging is hard work. You have to have a plan, block off time and clear space on your calendar each and every week.
That’s right, I said every week.
Often times we begin, write a handful of posts and then become discouraged: where is my audience? Do people even care? Am I agonizing over posts not no one is bothering to read? Is blogging really that important?
Let me ask you this: what is your primary reason for being online? Is it to have a place for people to learn more about you? A place to land when contacts receive your business card?
What about being found?
Bingo. That’s the whole point of having a presence online. BEING FOUND. As it turns out, the more you write and participate in conversations within your industry, the more traction and higher rankings your website will receive.
But that’s only the beginning.
Now, increasing your chances of being found is only one of the endless benefits of blogging. The following is a complete list of reasons why you need to devote more time to content creation:
- It generates more specific (and more valuable) traffic to your website
- Thoughtful content makes it much easier to convert traffic into leads
- It allows you to establish authority within your industry
- Once your pieces are published, they continue to work and drive traffic while you sleep (or go on vacation or play with your kids!). Think about it: you send out a flyer or place an ad in the paper and these materials will inevitably get recycled or become obsolete. However, with digital assets, these posts will continue to show up in searches for years to come.
I don’t have anything to say
My response to this argument is: this couldn’t possibly be true. I’d like to start with a series of questions
- Has anyone ever asked you for feedback or advice?
- Is there a topic, or a range of topics, within your industry that you know well?
- Do you have opinions on said topics?
If your answer is “yes” to all of the above, then you’re good to go. All you need is a little practice, some structure and you’ll be on your way!
Start with a list
I love making lists! It’s a great way to take all of that stuff that’s been sloshing around my brain and get it onto a page. I like to start big and then drill down to smaller, more detailed topics. For instance, I could begin with this very topic: blogging. From there I can easily identify various angles and subtopics of blogging. For example:
- Blogging and SEO
- Scheduling best practices for blog posts
- How to publish your blog on social media
- Blog best practices
- Blog structure examples
- How to write for others and get them to write for you (guest blogging)
- Blogging on WordPress
And on and on…
My advice is to pinpoint 10 broad topics and then identify 5-10 subtopics. Keep a running list on your phone or tablet and add ideas as they come to you!
Make a commitment and draft a schedule
Now that you have your list, it’s time to get started. Don’t just say you’re going to do it—make a commitment. Find an accountability partner! Seriously—seek a colleague, friend or fellow business owner and ask them to check in with you once a week. And you can do the same for them!
Ok, so grab your calendar. That’s right—grab it right now. You are going to need to block off real bookable, uninterrupted time every single week for the following:
- Write a post, 2-3 hours (once you’re in a groove, writing posts will take less and less time)
- 1 hour every 2 weeks to brainstorm blog topics
- Find a dedicated time to publish your post every week
For myself, I block off 2 hours every Sunday to write a new blog post. I work best in the morning, so I schedule this time from 7-9am. Then I publish my new post on Monday morning and schedule supportive social posts to go out through the week. Boom! Done.
“With blogging, all you need is a little practice, some structure and you’ll be on your way!”
A few additional things to keep in mind
- Identify your audience and always write with them in mind. Be sure there’s always something helpful and beneficial for your readers. In other words, what’s in it for them?
- Consider your voice. Are you casual and conversational or more straight laced? Can you toss in a little humor or personal anecdotes?
- Keep it simple and shoot for a length of 300-700 words
- Don’t forget to include compelling photos to hold the reader’s attention.
- Do you use a mail client like Mailchimp or Constant Contact? If yes, you can set up an automatic message (via RSS) to your email subscribers each time you publish a new post
- Be sure to utilize categories and tags within your post. This helps Google to find your content and categorize it properly
- Post to all social media channels! What good is a blog post if your fans are unaware of it’s existence? Post a link to your new material and share on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
Let’s be honest: writing is the bane of my existence. So now what?
Writing can be pure torture for some. I feel that way about running and refuse to do it. However, I’ve discovered that I love biking. So, I do that instead.
You know you need to blog but the hatred is too much to bear. Well then, do what lots of other businesses and entrepreneurs do and hire a writer or blogging service. It’s a small price to pay for the digital assets that you will be building over time, not to mention the boost to your reputation, the increase in social chatter and positive bump in your Google ranking.
There is just too much value in fresh content not to participate. And guess what: once the content is created you can reuse it for all sorts of things: lead magnets, newsletters, e-books, webinars and slide decks!
So…what are you waiting for? Get to it!