12 Jul Blog Well and Prosper
Few companies blog consistently. Here’s why.
- Good content takes time and passion. Small companies tend to have more passion but not much time. Big companies tend to have time (and they can hire writers to actually write), but they lack passion.
- Good content takes an unbiased view. It’s much easier for small companies, especially really small companies, to be objective. It’s a rare big company where the majority of employees haven’t imbibed the Kool-Aid (or won’t pretend they have when decision makers are watching).
This is good news for companies that have unbiased passion and are willing to make (or take?) time to translate their thoughts out of their heads and type them into the computer.
Here’s the thing about being unique. You’re not as unique as you fear. There are tons of others with the same passion. Not sure you believe me? Go to Google and enter the basic phrase describing the interest you think is limited to you. See how many entries you find. There will be more than you have time to click. And so there are others (many others) with your “unique” interest, and they’re looking for great content on the subject.
And if you supply it, they’ll look to you as an authority on that or any related subject.
All this is very easy to say. But how do you actually use your blogging time in a way that will produce good content on a consistent basis. Here’s how:
Decide how often you’ll post.
The more often the better, but once a week or even once a month will be prolific enough to build up your presence. Less often than that is not enough. Regardless of the schedule you choose, stick with it. The old blogging adage that starting and stopping a blog is worse than not starting one at all is true, since it shows evidence of a lack of dependability. Sticking with it shows your target market the opposite - that you’re here to stay, you mean business, and you’re confident in your expertise.
Create a running calendar of topics.
This might seem less than crucial, but it’s actually big. Without it, every time you think about posting, you’ll get lost in the question of what to write. A running list of topics will allow you to simply produce the next one on the list. And thinking up a bunch of topics is MUCH easier than thinking of them one at a time, since one idea tends to lead to another, and another. One more thing, develop the habit of throwing in new topics (quickly, without fanfare) whenever you think of or see something that puts an idea in your head. Without this habit, many of your ideas will fade into the ether, and you’ll have to think of them all over again.
Write your posts at the SAME time in your set schedule, without fail.
Habits are hard to break, and if you can form one for creating content, it will become easier to stick to it over time. So if you decide to put a blog article out once a week, doing it every Friday at 10am can become an ingrained act. Leaving yourself to a “I’ll do it whenever I find time” approach just adds one more decision to your life. “Should I do it now? Should I do it now? Maybe now. Maybe later. Oh, I just got a client email. I’ll think about it later.” Know yourself enough to make your pattern workable. One last advantage of the consistency of timing: If you put out a new article at the same time, all the time, your audience will be more inclined to expect it and read it.
Posts don’t have to be long.
No one’s counting words, and you won’t get credit for wasting your target market’s time by putting in extra ones. If you’re idea can be explained quickly, just leave it at that. Not to imply that long posts can’t be valuable, too. But they should be reserved for your truly meaty topics that demand depth (kind of like this one). A great example of a genius social marketer who gets the brevity thing is Seth Godin. (Marcus Sheridan, aka The Sales Lion, is great at creating more in-depth content). Both of them rock.
Limit time for writing each post.
If you start at 10am and go until you’re “finished”, well, you’ll never finish. So give yourself an hour (or maybe 30, or even 15 minutes). You can base the time allowed on how big the topic is, then list that within your calendar. Whatever time you have, if it’s limited, you’ll use it better. (In case you’re wondering, I gave myself 1 hour to do this one.)
Time yourself (literally).
It sounds just a bit odd, but it actually works. Buy a kitchen timer. One that makes distinct clicking noises second by second. When you start to write, start the timer. It will provide urgency and energy to your thinking/writing process. Try it. (I actually got this idea from another blogging expert. If I ever remember his/her name, I’ll post the link, since he/she had lots of other great ideas.)
Think Nike. Think Just do it. No running shoes needed.