One of the biggest marketing gurus in the country, a well-known author and researcher, also happens to be one of the most erratic bloggers I’ve come across—her smart, insightful blogs are published randomly. Sometimes I’ll get two in a week, other times it’s months before I see a post. It makes me wonder: if this big marketing name can’t crank out a regular blog, what hope is there for us poor souls running a small business?
The answer is easier than you think…but only if you make blogging a priority by really committing to your blog.
I sometimes run across corporate and small business bloggers that aim to post every day of the week. Their reasons vary, from building up SEO to outblogging the competition. This is an admirable stretch goal, but is it realistic while running a small business? Doubtful.
The first step is to take an unflinching look at your time and how much you can devote to your blog. Chances are you’ll have to recalibrate the ideal frequency from the day-to-day tasks of running a business (not to mention putting out fires). Is it once a week? Twice a month? Or Some other cadence? Once you accept that baseline, planning will be easier. If your honest answer is once every three months, wait for a time when you can devote more energy to it.
Wherever you end up, bolt that frequency onto your schedule and be accountable to it. If you miss a post date, don’t blow it off because you’re “busy” or don’t feel like it. Finish up writing as close to the original post date as possible. Otherwise, you could end up on a slippery slope delaying more, making excuses, and before you know it, it’s RIP, blog.
Not surprisingly, one of the reasons blogging gets pushed to the side: it often does not generate income in a direct way. Your blog might get comments, shares, retweets, and likes, but kudos don’t pay the bills, right? Because I’m in marketing, promotion is in my DNA, but if you’re busy running an insurance, retail, or other type of small business, you are likely more focused on the guts of getting and doing business. That doesn’t mean you don’t understand the importance of marketing, but it might not be your number one focus.
No matter what you are selling—services, products, or something else—the key is to view your blog as a strategic, fundamental part of your brand; not something you can turn on and off. Your customers and prospects will appreciate you blogging consistency, and it will also help instill trust in you as a business.
Everyone knows that cliché that the best ideas come to us while taking a shower, or getting that light bulb moment while driving to the store. That is how our creativity percolates sometimes. Or as Agatha Christie once said, “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”
That’s why you should be ready to catch those gems before they disappear, never to return (trust me, the older you get, it will happen more frequently). Don’t rely on your “great memory” when it comes to those moments. No matter how organized you are, we all still need a little helpnow and then.
Luckily there are endless task-master sites, tools, and apps to organize your ideas, random thoughts, and future blog fodder. Having them in one place, on-hand is the first step to incubatinga future post. Most of these tools are no-cost at the basic level and offer a premium upgrade. Some of the biggies are: Evernote, Toodledo, Rememberthemilk, and the wittily named Tjjeklist and Wunderlist. Here’s a comparison list.
OK, now that your ideas are organized in one place, you know what you want to write about for your next next post, but you still have to sit down and do it. That is often the hardest part and when a well-timed bout of procrastination can kick in. There are a lot of ways to fight this urge.
Besides a cornucopia of books, articles, sites, and tools to help get initial thoughts on that blank computer screen, there are shortcuts that can help: Written Kitten as promised, shows a kitten at selected intervals (wonder when the puppy version comes out). Write or Die takes a more dramatic approach with its “gentle” to “kamikaze” non-compliance settings. This post also has several ideas to help you get that post done when it is fighting you.
Also be aware of your personal blogging habits: some people thrive on deadlines, others freak out with anxiety about The Looming Word Count. The key is to know your writing personality. I like to write my posts slowly but surely, starting about a week before, ideally, then edit (and edit). I know if I start a post the day before, it simply won’t meet my standards.
Of course, you can also use an editorial calendar to keep you on track. This may seem too formal for a small business or feel like extra work, but plugging in topics and dates will keep you focused on the big picture and reinforce your commitment. Besides, what a great accomplishment to see the blog post published on the day you planned for it!
There are many editorial calendars to choose from, but if you want to keep it simple and integrated, WordPress Calendar can help (.org site only). Heck, you can even use Microsoft Excel or Google Calendar, but using a tool built as an editorial calendar offers more features and functions.
Be Bold (and Brave)
However you get yourself on track for your small business blog, keep a schedule, be committed, and most importantly, know that your blog can make a big difference— both for your business and your readers.
What are your tricks to keep committed to your business blog?
Image credit: Bigstock
Thank you for pulling this list together, great points i just would like to add a small thing,
allot of business blogs try to sound too professional using allot of business talk and they forget about the human element, i just think that If you make your blog visually appealing and interesting to read, that welcoming environment makes people want to stay awhile and look around. The odds of a return visit increase dramatically when you pay attention to site usability and readability.
Many thanks and Best wishes!
I agree with you. Business bloggers could add concept visualizations or diagrams to make the blog more visually appealing and also explain technical terms easily.
Great post Janice!! All very, very good points. I particularly like the brutal and braniac aspects. It only makes sense to take a realistic look at what we can do, and then write it down!!! Lists and schedules are our friends. Actually, I created a very simple – yet effective – daily and weekly (themed) blog schedule to help my audience with their blogging topic and scheduling issues.
Being braniac is sexy. And totally worth it 😉