March 1, 2012

Business Blogging: Are you over-thinking it?

The thought of blogging terrifies many of my clients. Not too long ago, it terrified me too.  Just like anything new or different, it’s the fear of the unknown that often gets the best of us.  Some of the top blogging fears include: being unfamiliar with technology, having enough time, developing interesting content, and not knowing how to get started. These fears are conquerable. Here are some tips for overcoming them.

  1. Just get started.  This is the toughest part for many. Simply create a blog and dig in.
  2. Pick a platform. I highly recommend WordPress. It’s easy-to-use, customizable, and optimizable.
  3. Make a commitment. You don’t need a marriage license to blog; you just need some dedicated time. If you’re a beginner, start with a bi-weekly blog and work your way to a weekly blog.
  4. Write.  Many beginners struggle with what to write about. Start with what you and others find most interesting about your business. A big “ah-ha” came out of a recent client meeting I had: most of the time you already know what to write, you just need to put it on paper!
  5. Establish an editorial calendar. Determine a list of topics you’re knowledgeable about and think about some of the most common questions you receive. Then, build a monthly or quarterly calendar that includes blogs on these topics and how to integrate the blogs with social media, email marketing, and traditional marketing.
  6. Offer value. Blogs are a great way to answer questions, share information and entertain.  With each post ask yourself, “how is this valuable to my audience?” Remember, your audience needs to know you, like you and trust you in order to do business with you. Valuable content builds the credibility needed to achieve this.
  7. Keep it simple.  Skip the whitepaper! Blogs are typically written in first-person and offer insight into your business. Don’t over think it.  Just write, then edit!
  8. Make every word count. I’ve seen dozens of posts with ‘blog length guidelines.’ Some say blogs should be less than 250 words. Others say an average post should be between 400-650 words.  I don’t believe in fitting a particular mold. Just keep it clean, concise, and easy-to-read.
  9. Incorporate photos and videos.  Strong written content is fundamental to a good blog, but remember to enhance this content with photos and videos.
  10. Blog consistently.  Avoid being a one-hit wonder, weekend warrior or having charging bull syndrome. Establish and stick to a regular schedule. Do not start a blog only to have it lie dormant.

How are you overcoming blogging hurdles? Can you share other tips?

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