Does this sound familiar? You’ve got a grant proposal to write, several contracts to review, a merchandising vendor ready for your final designs, not to mention the prospecting that brings in the very business which is your bread and butter or the actual creation of your products! If any of this rings a bell…
Congratulations! You are building a brand! If you stick to it, your hard work will pay off with good returns. But, as your fellow small business owner, I know firsthand that no matter how exhilarating our work is, deadlines in other areas of our businesses can make it difficult to keep the flow of content from being interrupted on a small business blog. Take a look at these four tips for brand new small business bloggers.
1. Use an editorial calendar.
My blogging platform of choice has always been WordPress. I’ve tried the others and just can’t get behind them. It doesn’t mean that you can’t, won’t or haven’t. I love the editorial calendar plug-in found in WordPress and highly recommend fresh bloggers jump on board as you figure out where you are going and what you are doing. Once installed, this plug-in is nestled under the “Posts” menu and displays in four week snapshots. You can adjust the weeks displayed, moving back to past posts or look at what you’ve got scheduled for the future. Your past posts are imported to the corresponding days they were published, which will allow you to get a feel for when you are most productive or what your publishing habits have been so far. The easy way drop and drag functionality is a huge time saver and empowers you to quickly manage your daily publishing goals so you can get back to creating!
(If you are struggling with post topics, check out this article I wrote for Michael Pollock’s Bigger Life Blog.)
2. Download a mobile app to allow posting on the go.
Download a mobile blogging app to your Android or iPhone for quick navigation. Mobile apps like Wordpress are not just for writing new articles. You can easily track your stats, access your reader to catch up with other blogs or re-read and edit old posts. As your online presence begins to sprout, you will want to careful tend to the budding comments and watch traffic patterns for valuable insight on how to maximize your impact. Never blog while driving, not even at stop lights.
3. Ask for feedback.
This is your baby and you are mighty proud of the steps you’ve taken. You should be! Ask a colleague, trusted business partner or associate to take a look at your work so far. Does the information make sense? Is it easily digested by readers? Are your topics relevant to the services that you are offering? Folks closest to your business will be able to connect the dots with what you have created so far and what you provide. Good. Now, can the average, everyday Joe Plumber or a Soccer Mom do the same? If you include business jargon that is unexplained or wander too far into technical specs of your industry, you will quickly lose the most important readers…YOUR FUTURE CLIENTS!
4. Include a Call to Action (CTA)
If you are blogging for your small business, you are blogging for money. Hang on to that fact, stick it in your back pocket and look at your blog as an opportunity to convert readers into clients. A hundred well crafted articles about how to make a great wedding cake does not inspire someone to CONTACT YOU. They might ooh and aah over your work, but need some motivation to pick up the phone or request a price. The point of a blog is to show who you are and what you can do. Now, drive consumer engagement so that when they are ready to buy, they know where to come. You are the expert waiting in the wings to scoop up their business. Be sure you are clearly letting the reader know exactly what you would like for them to do. “Call me for a free consultation” or “Get a 10% discount when you book online.” Don’t put off today what you want your readers to do before tomorrow.
Extract your self from writing only long enough to make sure the “big rocks” are well placed, and then get back to creating great content within the boundaries of your well-planned, strategic editorial calendar.
Remember that content is key. Consumer engagement thrives off of good content and will do wonders for you behind the scenes, while you are putting out those other fires. Make time for blogging. Not at the expense of maintaining a superior client relationship, but a top priority. If you do get sidetracked, be forgiving and get back on board. Keep up the great work! You can do this!