First the marketers told you that you had to have a website, and now, they are telling you that your small business needs a blog. But, who has the time to sit down two to three times a week to keep the blog updated?
These 5 steps will help you write using a simpler process and make blogging for your business easier. It will help you get those posts written and published quickly, so you can get back to running your business.
Step 1: Plan
When writing in-class essays in college, I used the first five minutes to plan my essay. I would also typically finish 5-10 minutes before the end of the exam period and score high marks. The reason is simple—it is easier to drive directly to your destination when you know where you are going.
Before you start writing your blog posts, plan your destination. What are the long term goals of your business? What are the seasonal goals of your business? Is there a problem that needs to be addressed? Is there a change in your services or the law that will affect your clients?
Most importantly, don’t plan only the blog post for today. Blogging for your business is a long-term commitment. Plan an entire month of posts so that you can maximize your writing efficiency. If you know where the long-term plan, you may be able to work on 2 or 3 blog posts in a single block of time.
Step 2: Free Write—Let the ideas out, and write extra.
When you first put your ideas to paper, don’t expect the writing to be perfect. Most of the work occurs when you are editing—so take the pressure off. Get as many words as you can onto paper with the full expectation that you will polish those ideas to their finished state when you are editing.
Step 3: Edit your Text into your Blog Post(s)
This is the part where you push those words around to make the actual blog posts for your website. A blog post should be approximately 300 − 500 words (though length may vary depending upon your target audience). Too short, and your audience won’t feel full afterwards—you have only served the appetizer. Too long, and you may lose your reader. Blog readers have a notoriously short attention span.
If your blog post is too short, can you combine it with another post idea to extend it? If your post is too long, can you turn it into a two or three-part blog series? You will have to find a balance.
Step 4: Find a Graphic to Illustrate your Post
Web visitors will be attracted to the shiny objects that illustrate your post before they realize the brilliance and insight of your words, but be sure to choose a picture or graphic that helps your message. Unless an image or graphic is helping your message, it actually hurts it. An unrelated image will send your visitors on a mental quest to connect the image with the message—ignoring your message altogether.
Step 5: Set WordPress to Auto-Release your Posts
Once your posts are written, edited, and illustrated, add all of them to WordPress and schedule them to release over the course of the next few days or weeks. Pick times that are good for your business—right before your holiday sale, during business hours, or on Tuesday morning after your customers have arrived to work and checked their email.
By allowing your Content Management System to release your content, your brain can be free to generate the next set of ideas for your future blog posts.