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The desire to efficiently manage a company blog often starts out strong but then the momentum sometimes fades as the weeks roll by. Without proper planning, days can easily turn into months before the next update goes out.
As a small business owner, you have numerous critical tasks waiting for your attention, and finding the time to blog may be easier said than done. However, with a content calendar you can begin planning ahead of time, allowing time to fine-tune your creative content when the day to post approaches.
While you may be able to come up with article ideas on the fly, you’ll have a more unified blog if you create posts that build upon each another. For example, you may opt to feature a product by including the top five ways to use it. Building upon that theme, you may create another post about five unusual uses for the product. By constructing a logical flow to the posts, your content will be easier to navigate and hold more readers’ attention.
Organization also demonstrates your professionalism. Just as you wouldn’t pay much attention to a list of instructions that started with step three, you wouldn’t want to follow a blog that jumped from topic to topic all the time either. By planning your content in advance, you’ll be able to group your ideas by what your current readership would be most interested in learning or what topics you feel are the most important to your company.
According to DexOne.com in Content Is Key to Inbound Marketing, inbound marketing, or blogging, isn’t just about selling your services or products; it is about demonstrating your company’s expertise in the field. To do this, blogs shouldn’t contain solely promotional material. Content, specifically the high quality kind, is king.
As stated in the article, “Your best content is the kind that pulls new customers in, brings old customer back and builds a relationship as a resource for solid, valuable information”.
A Team Effort
While writing incredible content each and every time is typically the goal in small business Internet marketing, oftentimes companies – even large corporations – have a hard time running successful blogs, according to a Forrester Research report.
The research group looked at 90 Fortune 500 blogs for the study and found many “dull, drab and don’t stimulate discussion.”
In 15 Companies That Really Get Corporate Blogging, Josh Catone chose Adobe as one of the top blogs, because the company allows its employees to use their individual viewpoints in the posts.
“Many post tutorials, advice, reviews and other great tid-bits promoting Adobe products – while not pigeon holing them into talking only about Adobe,” Catone said in the article.
This tip stands true not only for large corporations but for small businesses as well. You might be a capable writer in your own right, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the voices of those around you. Your employees have valuable insights into your business and may approach a topic in a way that you’ve never thought about before. Furthermore, showcasing different voices can lend a human element that many customers find inviting and approachable.
Before you set any content ideas in stone, meet with your whole team and ask them what topics they feel are important to today’s readers. Encourage them to think like the customer, imagining what information they might go in search for if they were on the other side of the table.
Is It Always Out With the Old?
With updates to Google demanding fresh content, you might feel like you need to start from scratch every time. However, there are many ways to liven up old content, minimizing the time you spend writing and even drawing attention to previous but still vital posts.
Begin by looking through your past articles for any ideas that can be fleshed out. For content that you still consider very important, you may just want to update it with new information, particularly if anything has changed. You can also direct more attention to it by referencing it in a similar post and linking to the original piece while including any adjustments. For content where you may have briefly touched upon an idea, reference that original post and then expand your idea into its own article. As a bonus, you may wish to look through any comments left by your readers on the previous article to answer questions or touch on certain ideas, demonstrating both your interest in your readers and your desire to keep them informed.
Regardless of the kind of business you run, today’s consumer is a tech-savvy buyer on-the-go who uses mobile apps and social networking to make purchasing decisions. With so many businesses out there hopping into the content arena, it is more important than ever that you get organized and develop a content strategy that is certain to keep your readers around for the long run.
By David Soto
David Soto works with small businesses on developing strategies for their social media assets. He likes to write about best online practices for businesses and professionals.
Post image: cooperation
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I agree that blogs are a great way to showcase a company’s knowledge and expertise. On my website, I try to use my regular web pages to give users (home buyers) what they really want: quick access to home listings and lots of pictures of the homes and area. Visuals and user-friendliness are key to these pages. However, blogs are expected to be more text-heavy. Sure, I try to use pics and be concise, but I try to make these more like conversations so that readers can learn about a new community, for example, and also get my 2 cents on the pros and cons of it. A lot of my blog ideas come from conversations I have with clients. I assume that if they have questions, there are others out there who would also benefit from getting the answers or info. So these conversations and questions I get are a great spring board for blogging!
Thank you, David. I’m really bad at staying on track with a theme … like a kid in a candy store. This is a topic dear to my heart … moving my Ideas onto a calendar makes them more substantial, some how.
Hi Lee, I love the idea of using your conversations with your clients as a muse for writing a blog post. Sharing insights and answering those common questions ahead of time via your blog should garnish you a more informed, focused buyer. When I bought my house I would have loved to have a resource like that! Happy blogging and selling!
Hi Don! I hope that setting up a calendar helps you keep on track. Sometime you have a rush of good ideas all at once. When that happens, it is good to write them down and spread them out . That helps me keep up with themes and helps me plan further out. Blog on!