Last September, I made a commitment to myself - and to my audience - to blog twice per week. That may not sound difficult being a social media professional, but like you, my clients come first so there are times when I knew that making this commitment would be a challenge.
I am happy to say that, as of last week, I achieved this goal for a full year. There are three reasons why I wanted to blog twice a week. First, I wanted to practice what I preached to my clients: that consistency is key in order to see gains from blogging and social media. Second, blogging is a great way to increase search engine rankings, and I wanted to leverage that. And, third, blogging is cathartic for me - even when I am rushed for time. I've found that my readers enjoy my personal approach to blogging and can relate to the challenges I experience both as a social media professional and as a small business owner. This has led my audience to share my work with others, which, in turn, has grown my audience.
I thought I would share some of the things I did to stay on track during this past year. For those of you who want to stay consistent with your social media efforts, but find that life gets in the way, please read on!
Treat your blog as you would client work. Anyone who works for or with other people has likely concluded that servicing others comes first... and you come last. This is especially true of someone who owns a business. We have great intentions, but marketing tends to fall to the bottom of the "to-do" list as we work hard to take care of our customers and clients. To succeed at blogging, you must shift your mindset; you must put yourself first, but also keep in mind that you can serve your readers by offering valuable blog content.
Create an editorial calendar. I plan my topics up to two months in advance, but I also remain flexible if I need or want to make changes. The process of creating an editorial calendar helps me rack my brain for valuable topics and enables me to plan for potential gaps, which could be filled by guest blogs...
Embrace guest bloggers. During times when you know you'll be busier than usual or when you simply need a break, line up a few people who can write guest blogs. I encourage you to secure these people ahead of time. My advice is to make your guest blog topics relevant to your industry, but not to be afraid to occasionally embrace something outside of that. Just make sure it's interesting and in line with how you want your business presented.
Throw perfection out the window. Your blog needs to be great, but it doesn't need to be perfect. Remember, you're an expert on a certain topic, so don't overthink it. Simply offer value to your audience with the knowledge you already have. However, when I say throw perfection out the window, that doesn't mean throw spell check and proper grammar out the window, too. These things are still fundamental in order to establish and maintain credibility.
Repurpose content. There is no need to re-invent the wheel, especially during busy times. Find ways to re-use content you've created before. Ideas include: 'top post of the year,' previous YouTube videos or recordings that resonated with your audience, white papers that can be modified, answers to questions you often receive, and responses to comments from other social sites or blogs.
Integrate. The best way to stay on track is to integrate your blogging efforts with your business operations and overall marketing strategy. This prevents the 'silo-d' efforts, helps your readers keep pace, and minimizes your workload. For example, I've spent the last seven weeks blogging about the process of building a product as I'm creating it. It's helpful for getting my thoughts together and for generating interest in its launch. I'm using the blogs as a launch pad for pre-sale webinars, soliciting feedback and advice, and for attracting affiliates and potential buyers. I've also been embedding YouTube videos into the blog with information about why someone should attend my webinar about the social media challenges that small business owners face.
Do you blog regularly? What tips can you share for staying on track?