Get that Blog Going for Content Marketing Power
I was on a call with a client who said he wants us to “help him start blogging.” I said, “You mean you want us to blog for you.” He said “No. I just want you to help me become a writer and start doing it myself. Give me topics and a deadline.” Hmmm interesting. I never thought of a business model where we get paid to get our clients to do the work! I like it. But after our conversation, I think I was able to convince him that he already was a writer, he just had to start making regular time for this activity that has never had a place in his day before.
We are all writers. If you can speak about your business and you know how to use a computer, an old typewriter, or a number two pencil, you can write. Sure there are some who will enjoy it more than others, and there are some who sound more eloquent in their style of writing, but we all can get the written word down. For that matter, use a dictation tool to have your computer write for you. (One is built into most computers, tablets and even smart phones today. I am on my Macbook Air, in Notes and under EDIT, there is the option to simply dictate to get my spoken words down in writing.)
In today’s marketing environment, we must make a shift in our activities and start making time to write. Our prospects are not answering their phones when we cold-call and they are not reading post cards and other mailers that we are sending out. They are turning to their friend, Google, to help them find answers to their questions. Google will show them answers in the form of blog posts, social media posts, and of course lots of videos from his son, YouTube. Is your content being found in this mix? If you are like our client, and you know you need to start writing more, here are 4 tips to get you going:
Set aside 30-60 minutes every day for writing.
YES, an hour! If you have to wake up earlier or you have to make yourself go to the library or coffee shop, make it so. Write this time on your calendar so you can’t book anything else in that slot.
Remember you are answering a question, not writing a novel.
It can be overwhelming if you think you have to write a whitepaper or a 1,500 word article. Imagine someone coming up and asking you a common question about your business. Now start writing as if you are writing a letter to that person to answer the question. I love the thought of writing just being a way to help someone or to teach someone something. I’m not trying to be RR Tolkien (????) or JK Rowling (although now I’m realizing that perhaps if I just change my name to GM Schreck, I could possibly write my first novel). Today, write down a few of the most common questions you get about your business. These are the first few posts you will write.
Don’t edit as you write.
Years ago, I read a great book by Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones. In it, one of the exercises she gave was to put your pen to the paper and write without stopping for 45 minutes. No editing, no stopping to fact-check. You were to write without stopping. It has helped me, immensely, get more content out. If you get down the “bones,” you can go back and edit later, adding in details or facts. Inserting links and correcting grammar and spelling errors. When you stop to fix or correct it, you lose your mojo. You break the train of thought you have going. It’s like having someone interrupt you while you are on a roll and then you forget what your point was. Don’t let that editor interrupt the writer while he is at work.
Create a “Story Starter” notebook for blogging ideas.
One of the biggest problems people tell me they have when it comes to blogging, just behind not having enough time, is not having topics to write about. They sit down and stare at the blank screen and then try to come up with something. If you create a “story starter” notebook in Evernote (or any other notebook system), you will have plenty to choose from. The reason I love Evernote for my “story starters,” is it is everywhere you are. You can open the app on your phone, jot an idea, and then later open that same note on your laptop, tablet or desktop. You want to start jotting down questions that people ask you about your business, observations you have throughout the day, thoughts you have after watching a commercial or interaction in a store somewhere. Start looking for topics everywhere. All you have to do is jot down the idea or “story starter” and then tomorrow during your writing time you can elaborate, or perhaps you let it stew a little longer and it will bubble up in a post down the road.
So what are you waiting for. Download, or open Evernote, and get your first few questions written down right now. (I’ll wait….)
Now fire up that old typewriter, pick up your pen, or open that iPad, and start writing!
Want a little extra accountability? Write the name of your blog and give us the URL to find it. Let’s all agree to go and learn something new from each other.
If you’d like help augmenting your blogging, we certainly can help you with that. The more great content you have coming from your website answering those questions, the better. Contact us for more information.