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How to Start and Maintain a Blog Without Going Crazy

April 9th, 2013 ::

Overwhelmed!

Feeling just a little overwhelmed?

As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats – I sure do! Because we all are squeezed on time, the thought of starting and maintaining a blog can be pretty overwhelming. Like getting a dog, it quickly goes from a fun, exciting idea to the realization that a blog has to be fed and looked after on a regular basis … followed by panic and then paralysis.

I write a lot of blog posts every month for various clients, so below is what I do to stay organized and thus easily feed some very hungry blogs:

Read Other Blogs

I blog about social media marketing and marketing in general, both of which are continually evolving. I read a lot of other blogs to keep up with industry news, trends, best practices, etc., as well as to spur ideas for my own blog posts. Yes, this takes time, but it also ensures I’m keeping up with the industry while learning as I go and thus deepening my expertise.

Set Some Goals

Before you start blogging, you need to know why you’re blogging. Is it to build awareness of your business, attract more leads, improve your search results on certain topics, become a go-to expert? It is most likely all or most of the above, which is fine. Now you know what your goals are.

Choose Topics

Between your knowledge of what is happening in your industry, thanks to all of that reading you’re doing, and your own area of expertise, sit down and list out the topics your audience will be interested in reading. Your goal is to rotate through those topics on a monthly or bimonthly basis.

Brainstorm

Towards the end of every month, I set aside time to brainstorm blog post topics for the following month. I typically spend 30 minutes on this. To ensure each blog post will be useful, relevant, and engaging for the reader, I strive to think up actionable posts that will teach people how to do something – just like this one.

Create Working Titles

As I think of blog post ideas, I type working titles into a column in an Excel spreadsheet. I use working titles, so 1), I don’t get bogged down trying to think of the perfect title before I’ve even written 2 sentences, and 2) I sometimes veer off into a totally new direction as I write, so I like to give myself some flexibility.

If you need more detail than just a working title, create a content column and add your ideas and the points you’ll make in the blog post.

Schedule Time To Write

To ensure you actually sit down and write, schedule time to write and set yourself deadlines. I set aside time on the same days every week to write a few blog posts for clients. I don’t block it off on my calendar, but do it if that will help. You can also set yourself deadlines for each blog post to create some urgency.

Put That Blog To Work

Because you’re blogging with goals in mind (see above), you want to make sure you’re reaching them. Here are 3 things to do:

  1. Integrate keywords – make sure the keywords you want to be found for online are used in your blog posts, especially in the titles
  2. Add a call-to-action – at the end of each blog post, add a call-to-action to spur your reader to do something and thus become a lead, whether it’s download a free trial or call you for a free consultation
  3. Share your blog posts – share your blog posts on your social networks and in your newsletter to reach as large an audience as possible

If you don’t blog yet, what’s stopping you? If you do, how did you overcome your initial reservations and work blogging into your schedule?

Image courtesy of theironjen.com

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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