Keeping up with the bloggers, or trying to…
I haven’t posted on my own blog for a long time. My bad as they say. I spend a lot of time writing blogs for other business owners, and of course, always advise them of the importance of regular and consistent blogging. Yet, I haven’t followed by own advice!
In my defence, I’ve had a busy few months personally, switching off work a little to focus on things at home – I have three different roles in life and one of them is a carer for Mum who is living with dementia. But I do not intend that as an excuse since we’re all busy, right? Mostly too busy it seems, and so something has to give.
As someone who writes day in day out for websites, social media and email marketing, I know only too well that if you blog from the heart, it doesn’t have to be a hugely time-consuming process. But it does have to be authentic and real, and some days that creative spark is just a little elusive, even for someone who spends their working life writing. Just like authors get writer’s block, so do us marketers. Some days it just don’t flow!
But assuming writer’s block has not got to you, here are my top tips for more consistent blogging (and yes I am writing this to also remind myself!):
- Less is more.
When you’re up against it timewise, the good news is it’s better to write shorter blogs and post more regularly, than to spend several days crafting a huge tome of a blog and only post once a month. Customer engagement stems from regular and consistent contact with a brand or business.
- Schedule in your calendar.
You know what they say when you want something done, give it to a busy person. That doesn’t however, always hold true for blogging! But what I do find useful is to make a commitment by scheduling writing into my calendar like any other task or meeting. I have to do the same with exercise too, and that’s something I genuinely love to do. It works though, not all the time but an awful lot of the time, and that’s a step forward, isn’t it?
- Guest blogging.
For when all else fails there’s no harm in asking someone else to write a blog for your site. In fact, it’s a great thing to do as it can bring a new or expert perspective. You might need to edit and refine, or top and tail it, but it’s a real time saver if you’re really up against it. However, do bear in mind this needs a bit of pre-planning as last minute requests are unlikely to go down well. See point 6 for more.
- Quit multitasking.
Ok, so this is something I do. Juggling spinning plates, keeping all the balls in the air or whatever way you choose to describe it, multitasking like a pro is my thing, or so I think. Time management experts and entrepreneurs alike, however, suggest very few of us can truly multitask effectively and so we’re actually just bouncing from one thing to another without focussing properly on the job in hand. That means we’re less productive and actually achieve less. Much better to assign a specific time to one task and see it through to the end shutting out all distractions along the way. Easier said than done of course, but I’m working on it as we speak!
- Track your time.
I meet all sorts of business owners in the course of my job and one thing that strikes me is how many don’t track their own time. By that, I mean several things; the cost of their time (spent on a task or client for example), the amount of time spent on a project (to help gauge profitability and resource allocation), and how much of their working week is devoted to marketing their own business. Some can estimate these figures, but the reality is often very different. As a small business owner working for many different clients with varied projects, tracking my own time accurately is crucial. There are many different tools out there, but I use Freeagent which does everything for me – I can set timers to record how long I spend on any one task. It then feeds all that info directly into my invoice template. It keeps track of my income and outgoings and even tells me my predicted tax bill each year. My point being, getting organised at tracking your time means you are more ruthless about which tasks really need your attention and which don’t so much. It also helps you feel more in control of your own destiny and business, which in turn means you can sensibly allocate time between projects and tasks, one of course being blogging for your own company.
- Create a content calendar.
It’s not rocket science but getting a bit of planning in at the start of each quarter will certainly help. I help clients to create a content or marketing calendar for their business so they know what topics or aspects of their business they will focus on when. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a spreadsheet with days, weeks and months will work. Add your key marketing channels, such as email marketing, blogging, online advertising etc, and then spend some time brainstorming how you will use them. There are seasonal opportunities in many businesses, such as Christmas and Summer holidays etc so plot those first as they are at set times of the year, then add your own ideas and needs. Play around with it and don’t be afraid to ask people for their ideas too. Having decided on a topic or theme for a particular week or month makes it so much easier to decide what your blog post might be about. Add it to your schedule for a week before you need to publish it and already you have become so much more organised.
Right, time for me to eat my own dog food and rustle up a content and blogging calendar for January onwards. If you have any other top tips for consistent blogging, do share, I’d love to hear them.