The pain is real.
Despite how badly I want to stuff in a bunch of statistics about the importance of blogging in an inbound marketing strategy so that you, small business super hero, understand that you have to do it, I’ll resist.
We ALL struggle with this. And padding my article with percentages, testimonials or an infographic so that I look smart is not going to eliminate the real reasons why no one blogs!
So why is it you don't want to blog?
Because it takes a lot of friggin’ time.
Even the best of us who count ourselves as “writers” spend easily a couple of hours crafting a single blog post. In fact I have nit-picked, fidgeted, gotten distracted, and Facebook-ed at least a dozen times while writing this post. And I know exactly what I want to say!
On top of that, many small business owners, especially solopreneurs, will say that they don’t have the luxury of the extra time to write a blog post because they have to actually run their business. I get that. We are all in the same boat. Guilty as charged.
But, folks, even I have to look in the mirror at times and remind myself: "Ameé, you have to do it." What kind of marketing professional would I be if I didn’t do what I have been telling my clients to do.
So, I decided I’d approach this differently. Instead of telling why you should blog or how to write a blog, I’m going to give away a few hints on how to reduce the amount of time it takes to blog, so that it frees up some time but helps you maintain the consistency that is important and start to help attract potential clients to your website.
1 | Develop a Blog Plan.
Sit down with a calendar and think about your business over the course of the next year. Now think about what is going on in your industry during certain times of the year. Also think about holidays and possible themes for them. If you are a community based or brick & mortar business, think about regional or local events. Plot out everything you know about onto calendar. Now think about your business and brainstorm some ideas that are related to your business and the event/schedule. This will help you create unique, timely content.
Finally, take a long hard realistic look at your life and your business and decide just how often you think you can create a post for your website. While there are many "rules" for frequency of blogging, the only consistent rule is "Be consistent." That means, if you are going to blog 3-5 days a week and your followers expect that, then you have to keep doing it. However, it's perfectly fine to only blog once a week or at minimum, once a month. Just be consistent.
The reality is that search engines reward websites with lots of cached pages (that is, the more pages you have, the better your site shows up). And search engines like pages that update frequently - it means they are active and relevant. So, that means that if you blog at all - even only once a month - you are still increasing the odds that search engines will find out. And the more posts you generate, the more pages your site will have over time, improving your long-term visibility.
2 | Create a Blog Bank Account
Now that you have ideas, choose a day and time when you can sit down and outline and write out your blog posts. Try to complete as many as you can, whether you are ready to publish or not and put these onto your blog schedule to auto post on a specified date.
If you are a business owner with a seasonal business, many times you find that your blog slips during those busy weeks or months. If that's the case, then plan ahead and get your writing out of the way.
3 | Video versus Written Blogs
During a webinar I participated in recently I asked the presenter, master marketer David Meerman Scott, his thoughts on video blogging versus written blogs. He emphasized that everyone should always do what they feel the most comfortable with. So, if you are a speaker or instructor, video blogging might be a natural fit plus a great way to let people see you in action. However, if you are more of a behind-the-scenes type, stick with writing great, informative content.
In the end, however, David points out that search engine algorithms can’t presently pick up the spoken words in a video blog. This means that if you video post only, you may be missing out on valuable opportunities to be found in the vast world wide ocean. So, be sure to include some written content, with your keywords gracefully integrated with your video posts.
4 | About Keywords
Again, a blog’s role in an inbound marketing strategy is to help attract visitors to your website. And the goal of your website is likely one of four things:
So, give yourself a hand and remember that writing a blog but not integrating any keywords that will help search engines find you and your website can be a useless exercise. Don’t have keywords in mind? Uh oh. That’s another topic.
5 | Blogging Pro's Secret
Still stumped? That's because writing is hard. Plain and simple. So even with a well-thought out strategy, you probably still haven’t suddenly developed into J.K. Rowling and evolved ninja writing skills. And that's okay.
What? After flogging you with “Why” you need to blog and telling you how to do it, I’m telling you that, in the end you don’t need to write it after all?
That’s because the big secret with businesses is that many blogs are written by professional writers! Even when you see someone’s name as the Author, there is a good chance they still hired someone to create the post for them. These writers are called “ghost writers.”
Is this cheating? Heck no! It literally happens all the time – from New York Times bestsellers to your local real estate agent's blog.
Because my personal philosophy and approach to branding is authenticity, the ghost writing strategy works best when you have completed steps 1 & 2 above and then created outlines of each of your articles. This way the post, while not entirely written by you, is still a legitimate representation of your expertise.
By outline, I don’t really mean the kind that your English teacher taught you in high school. It can be as simple as “chunks” of paragraphs or thoughts, arranged together. A skilled writer will then have enough of the content – even without being familiar with your line of work – to craft it into a well-written post for you.
So where do you find ghost writers? They are everywhere. The best place is Upwork. A business owner can post a Job including the budget per article and interested writers will send proposals. Or, if you don’t know what to charge, then leave the budget out and review the estimates. You can fix the maximum amount you want to spend as well.
Warning - you get what you pay for in writing. So be sure to check out any freelancer’s portfolio or links. And if you low-ball your own budget because you're trying to be cheap - expect either language barriers or freelancers with little interest in making edits or adjustments.
Blogging isn’t just for writers. It’s a legitimate marketing tool for any business owner who wants to increase their sales and customer retention. Because marketing has changed over the past decade, choosing to not blog is a bit like deciding your company doesn’t need a business phone number. Online content is how your customers find you and reach out to you.
By the way, I wrote this article myself. #fistpump
ACTIVITY GIRL offers premium blogging services for those who don’t have time or are struggling with the entire process, including figuring out what to write. Premium services include developing a 12-month blog calendar plan, topics for each post, and ready-to-publish posts delivered to the client. Contact me for more information.