Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

I’ve written about the benefits of blogging. I recommend blogging to most of my small business clients and have offered ways to get started and to keep it going. And listening to my own advice, I got off to a good start. But I failed to plan them out and thus, planned to fail. Without a mapped out schedule of topics, I struggled to settle on something to write about. And then weeks flew by as other priorities kept me from it. To find success in blogging new content must be posted frequently and regularly. Otherwise you won’t benefit nearly as much as you can. Learn from my mistake.

Here are some planning strategies:

  1. Create a spreadsheet to contain content ideas and put a content calendar in place. This way you can schedule certain topics around events, holidays, or activities you participate in.
  2. Or create series of blog posts. You can take a subject and dig deep into different aspects of it, one post at a time. Entries can be short but to get the most benefit from an SEO perspective, at least 250 words per post are recommended. But I think you could benefit from a mix of long posts and very short ones. Even an image post is better than no posts.
  3. The following technique was presented at session on personal branding. Create a grid with 3 columns labeled Rant; Q&A; Win/Loss and then down the side list hot button items or topics you can write about and share. Then fill in the grid with your article titles.
  4. Create a list of categories for your posts and then fill in topics under each of them.

And then take this important step – the one I failed to do – put the topics on a calendar and set deadlines for yourself.

There are lots of ways to organize your research and articles for blogging but I use Evernote. I save and organize all the articles and links there and I use it to pre-write my posts. I like being able to work on them a little at a time and Evernote is a great way to keep them readily accessible.

Why should small businesses blog?

It is shown that small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads and 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.

The quote and the image above were snipped from a larger detailed infographic titled, The Blogconomy.

Boost your Search Engine Optimization

When you add to your blog regularly, the posts provide new and relevant information. Keeping your site fresh will

  • encourage visitors to stay awhile on your site and to return again and again;
  • provide the original, quality content that search engines love;
  • and increase your website content – the more content your site has, the more chances it has of being found by the search engines.

Adding links from your blog posts to other pages within your site is also a great way to improve your ranking in the search engines. The more links you have going to a particular page (within your own website), the higher that page will be ranked. For example, if you have a lot of blog entries going to your services page, it would help boost the ranking of the services page. (This is known as an internal link.) And anytime another site links to any of your blog posts, that would be considered an inbound link. Search engines love both inbound and internal links.

Develop Relationships with Customers

Some bloggers get conversations going by allowing comments and asking for feedback. You can build a following by reviewing and responding to comments. But even if you don’t allow commenting, by putting yourself out there, your potential customers get a much clearer picture of you. The more you blog, the more they might feel as if they know you.

Become an Industry Thought Leader or Knowledge Expert

By providing valuable, expert information, you can become a resource for others in your industry. This can give you more credibility and lead to higher conversion rates.

Create Opportunities for Sharing in Multiple Social Media Venues

Whenever you blog, you can then post a link to it in other places such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Tweet it, include it in your emails, and create opportunity for others to share it, thereby expanding your reach and validating your credibility.

I promise I will get my blogging calendar sorted out. Until next time… Keep it Fresh!