As part of a 12-blog post challenge issued by my colleague and friend, Blogging Badass Anne McAuley Lopez here is my first installment.
Blogging may not come easily for most business owners. Why? Because it isn’t your area of expertise. Your area of expertise is accounting, swimming pool service or making and selling widgets. My area of expertise is writing and blogging and overall content creation so I know it’s easy for me to say, “just sit and write.” but it may cause you to break out in a sweat and procrastinate until you’ve wasted an entire day.
Fear not. Here are blog tips for the busy entrepreneur that just might make it easier for you to tackle this beast! If, however, these don’t brighten the path ahead, email me. Let’s have a content strategy session and get your blogging, e-newsletters and social media up and running!
Know what you’re going to blog about.
Having an idea in mind will take away the fear of the blank screen. An idea bank will also prevent you from coping with writer’s block (which, by the way, I don’t believe is a true malady). What is a idea bank? It’s your editorial calendar, but for the non-writers out there, the idea of an editorial calendar strikes fear into their hearts. Your idea bank can be a document on your computer, it could be notes you keep in Evernote, it could be scraps of paper upon which you jot ideas when they pop into your head. Your idea bank could also be an audio recording you make when an idea pops into your head.
Regardless of where you keep it or what you call it, having an idea ready to go when you sit down to write, will make the process flow more easily.
Set a blogging and posting goal.
You’re not doing yourself any favors if you announce, “I am going to post to my blog four times a week” only to find yourself struggling to post once a week. If once a week works for you, embrace that as your schedule and go forth and blog.
Honestly, Google does love you more when you post more often, but if you’re running a business and adding blogging and content creation to your daily to-do list you may not be able to commit to a more robust schedule than once a week.
Some entrepreneurs can only commit to once a month — while I don’t recommend that as it doesn’t really help your analytics, it is better than nothing. If you want to blog more frequently, but don’t have the time, work with a content creator who can blog on your behalf. Check out my post on the reasons to hire a professional writer.
Blog with a “formula.”
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you sit down to write a blog post. In fact, many entrepreneurs use templates and formulas to craft blog posts. This does not mean that these posts are the same as any other post you will find on line. What it means is that you can plug information into a pre-set template ad it will make your blogging tasks easier.
Here is my formula and template for non-blogging entrepreneurs:
- Use the same fonts. Fancy fonts don’t make your posts easier to read nor do they help you illustrate a point. As a matter of fact, they may make it harder to read, especially on a mobile device.
- Know that you need a photo for every blog post you write. You should have an image suitable for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn if your business is on those platforms.
- Add a Call To Action at the end of every post. Your Call To Action is that item you want your reader to take action on now that he or she has finished reading your blog post. Whether it’s “sign up for my newsletter” or “call me for a strategy session” or “enter our monthly drawing” having this CTA enhances your interactions with the reader.
A sample blogging template:
- Craft a killer headline. Your headline should draw the reader in. Your headline should also be searchable on Google — think keywords.
- Write your blog post intro. The intro should let the reader know what he or she will have learned by the end of the post.
- Add in at least three bullet points. Use bullet points or numbers to highlight specific items in your post to make it easier for the reader who is skimming your post on his smartphone.
- Add in links that take the reader back to related content on your site.
- Add your call to action.
- Viola you’re done!
- Not so fast… once the post goes live you need to share it on your social platforms. Hey, if you write it but no one knows, it’s like the tree falling in the forest, right?
Put a call out for guest bloggers.
There is no rule that states, “you must be the only blogger on your site.” In fact, guest bloggers may help with your traffic and searchability. Invite in a blogger you admire to do a guest post.
The blogger should write on a topic of interest to your readers. What do I mean? It wouldn’t make any sense to have an experienced dog groomer blog on an dental site about “tips for grooming your poodle.” The content needs to be of value to your readers.
How can a person blog about dental implants and make it exciting? Ask me. I know how! How can an entrepreneur make accounting exciting and readable? Again, ask me. No subject is too dry or too difficult to blog about. Lenses for microscopes and medical devices? Oh yes, I have blogged about that.
An entrepreneur can take any area of expertise, determine who their clients are (you do know that, right) and craft blog topics that are of interest. I don’t believe that your accounting clients want to know the nitty gritting of profit and loss statements, but I’ll bet that they would love to know, “How to understand a profit and loss statement.” If you’re a Realtor does the potential homeowner need to understand market fluctuations and interest rates? Maybe, but I’ll bet they’d be more interested in knowing, “It’s a buyer’s market in XYZ City and how you can benefit” or “The advantages of being pre-qualified before you start house shopping” would appeal to them.
Think you would have nothing to blog about in your industry? A colleague and friend, Tabitha Dumas, offered 25 tips on what to write about toilets. What?! It’s true.
Here are some ideas to get you started, regardless of your industry:
- Write a post about a question a client asked you.
- Write about what questions you wished clients would ask.
- Write a book review of your favorite business book.
- Interview a colleague.
- Write about a recent trade show or networking event you attended.
- Write about changes, upgrades and updates to the industry and clientele you serve.
- Interview a client.
- Share a business success, anniversary or a new training or certification you’ve completed
- Share information on a new product or service you’re offering.
- Take a blog post you’d written previously and re-purpose it. Turn it into a video or audio or an infographic.
- Look on Twitter or Yahoo News and see what the “trending topics” are and see if you can jump on them and blog about it for your business.
- Regardless of your niche, chances are there are “holidays” about it that you could write a blog post about.
- Share a “day in the life” in your business. Give your clients a behind the scenes glimpse of how you do what you do.
- Offer tips to address your client’s pain points.
- Host a contest or giveaway.
That should be enough to get you started, right? If not and if you’re still struggling with content creation, contact me and let’s talk about your Content Strategy.