Ok, this is most definitely a “do as I say, not as I do” post. I’m currently finding it very tricky to balance project work (you know, the stuff that I can invoice for) with marketing Lobster but if I face the truth, my lack of blogging time is really down to my own priority setting and possibly that includes a little lack of inspiration.
It’s been the same since the Christmas period. Perhaps it was having that break from everything work related and then coming back to lots of emails and a long to-do list that kicked my normal schedule of writing out of kilter. Perhaps it was just a lack of inertia having slowed down do much over Christmas. Whatever it was, this is probably the first time that I’ve made a concerted effort to actually write in 2017 and it’s now February.
So, back to basics for me and a post about finding the time to write as a form of cathartic relief (or is it a punishment for not writing for so long?).
Before I start with my tips for blogging, we should probably discuss the benefits of blogging and why you should be prioritising it in the first place.
There are many reasons why you should start (or prioritise) your blog but for a business, there are two main benefits as I see it; To put your brand in front of your target audience, and to position your company as experts in your specialist field. Other reasons for blogging include less measurable benefits such as creative expression, learning opportunities, positive feedback from comments etc but for most businesses, it comes down to marketing and sales.
I’ve written before about what to do once your blog is published in order to get it seen by your target audience – it comes down to sharing it as wide as you can and repeatedly pushing it out to your social media network over a period of a few months – it’s often the repeated social media posts that get the best response.
One of the common mistakes I see with business blog posts though is they forget about what the reader wants to read and instead focus on their sales message or internal news from the business… “Mr Soandso has just joined our company – let’s all celebrate!” or “We’ve just signed a massive deal with Company X”.
While these types of posts may be newsworthy, if they’re the ONLY thing you write about your audience will most likely ignore your posts or worse still, actively try to avoid them (especially if you also send them by email to your contacts).
Instead, write about the problems your clients are facing and how to solve them. Write about the latest developments in your industry or your predictions. Write from a personal perspective and try to engage with your audience so they look forward to reading your content instead of running from it.
That’s enough about why and what you should be writing about. Let’s get down to the purpose of this post – how to find the time to write.
Tip #1 – Make a date with yourself.
If you want to grow your business (or even stay in business) then your marketing has to be a priority. It’s so easy to forget about it when you have a million other things to do and clients to respond to but if you want to prosper these days you have to make noise online and blogging is central to most marketing strategies (for B2B businesses at least).
Treat your marketing as a vital meeting with your most important client. If you think about it, each time you blog you’re given the chance to really impress your existing clients and prospects so why wouldn’t you prioritise that opportunity?
Book that date into your diary and stick to it. A good blog post takes a couple of hours to write. An excellent blog post can take a day or more (with research and artwork) so you need to be realistic about what you can achieve and set aside the appropriate time. It’s far better to write less often and publish a good or excellent post than to try and write more often and end up pushing out rubbish.
Tip #2 – Write about subjects that excite you
With the best will in the world, you won’t prioritise writing if you’re writing about a subject that bores you. If you feel enthusiastic about what you’re writing then you’re not just more likely to write, your enthusiasm will come across in your posts too and that always makes for a better read (even if your grammar isn’t the best because of it).
Hopefully, you work in or own a business that you’re excited about so this shouldn’t be a problem but if all your blog posts are the self-promotional posts I discussed above then you’ll soon get bored so get to the detail about your industry and use your blog to explore the technology or advances that you’re passionate about.
Tip #3 – Keep a journal handy
When you start blogging on a regular basis and you’re hopefully enjoying the process you’ll eventually hit a period where you can’t think of anything to write about – and this always seems to happen when you’re on your date with yourself (see Tip #1).
My trick – keep a notebook handy to write down ideas for blog posts. I use my iPhone notepad personally. That way, when you’re struggling for ideas you can just look back over your old ideas and see if anything jumps out.
And this leads me nicely on to…
Tip #4 – Keep these ideas handy for inspiration
If you are struggling for ideas try these tips…
- Go back over old posts – has technology changed? Are there any further developments you can report on?
- What points of interest have come up in recent meetings with clients?
- What problems are you struggling with and how are you solving them?
- Check Quora.com and see what questions people are asking about that are relevant to your industry or your customers
- What’s happening in the news? Is there anything there that you can comment on?
Tip #5 – Give your customers and contacts the opportunity to write on your blog
This is something that we’re doing more and more on our blog. Allowing contacts the opportunity to write and promote themselves on our blog. Obviously, the article needs to have some value and you don’t want your blog to become a stream of adverts but if they have something of value to add then let them contribute.
Tip #6 – Pay someone else to write for you.
There are loads of excellent, virtual writers out there on the net who would be more than happy to write your blog post for you (we can recommend Maria from Words You Can Use) and if you really can’t find the time or just don’t feel the pull to the keyboard then this may be your only option.
Now, get writing
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to write or at least dedicate some time in the next week to write. I’m an avid reader so if you have a blog post and would like someone to give you some honest feedback feel free to leave a link to it in the comments below.
My next task – put a regular date in my diary for blog post writing in 2017 (and stick to it).
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