Blog Isn’t a Four-Letter Word

Small businesses should be blogging. Yes. I said it. Blog isn’t a four letter word. Do it. Publish regularly. Let’s talk about how to accomplish this in a realistic way.

Don’t look down on blogging.

It’s not beneath your website or your brand to publish on your website. Companies who educate their customer base win — loyalty, top of mind, affinity, and sales.

If you  have a website, you should have a blog. If you don’t, go back to your website developer and ask for it. (By the way, this is one of the benefits of WordPress — owning your own content.)

I go into more detail on how to create a blog here. I talk more about why you should blog here.

How often should you publish?

Publish as regularly as you can. I get busy with my client work and don’t even follow my own advice. But publishing every Tuesday at 7am is a good idea, for example.

The more you can publish, the more traffic you will have. It’s been studied time and again. Once a week is a minimum and four times a week seems aggressive but can be effective. Make sure your posts are worthwhile.

“The small companies that publish 11 or more blog posts per month drive much higher traffic than companies of the same size that publish fewer than 11 blog posts. ” Hubspot 

Do you feel overwhelmed? “I don’t want to *&(@%&^$ blog!!!!” That’s why I’ve used the play on words. Don’t cuss, let’s help you get started.

Let’s get you on track.

It’s easy to get off track. We all do.

Here’s a simple worksheet or questionnaire to help guide you.

  1. What are the top 3 questions your company gets from customers?
    1. ______________________________________________
    2. ______________________________________________
    3. ______________________________________________
  2. What are the top 3 things you wish your customers knew about your business?
    1. ______________________________________________
    2. ______________________________________________
    3. ______________________________________________
  3. What new things are happening in your industry that are exciting?
    1. ______________________________________________
    2. ______________________________________________
    3. ______________________________________________
  4. What are three things about your business’ origin story?
    1. ______________________________________________
    2. ______________________________________________
    3. ______________________________________________

Now you have four topics with three answers each. You have 12 potential blog posts. You can write 300-500 words each. Make it simple. Publish one on the first Tuesday of every month.

If you want to step it up, you can publish every other week, but then you will need to find some more topics. Though, I guess, as you write, you will get more ideas from feedback from your employees, customers, and fans.

What’s stopping you? Get to it. 😉

What Content Marketers Can Learn from Songwriters

Songwriting. It was the original storytelling — before writing — before type, newspapers, magazines, or blogs.

It’s discounted as a storytelling device in these 1500 -2000 word blog post era but they had only a few minutes to convey emotion and tell their story so you’d play their song over and over.

With the death of Glen Frey this week, I was reminded of my favorite line of their songs:

“I was standing on the corner of Winslow, Arizona such a fine sight to see.

It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford, slowing down to take a look at me.” Take it Easy by Jackson Browne and Glen Frey

Though I’d never been to Winslow, Arizona I could picture that exact scene in my mind.

Visual Writing

Does our copy conjure up images in the reader’s mind? Do we connect with their past experiences and emotions?

We content writers can learn quite a bit by studying these lyrics. They had no time, musical space, or enough syllables for extra words like “very” or to ramble on and on without getting to the point. In the early record age the maximum recording time was three minutes.

Below are a few of the lyrics that have visual and emotional power — in five lines or less.

Harry Chapin: Cats in the Cradle

“Well my son turned 10 just the other day,
He said “Thanks for the ball Dad, come let’s play.
Can ya teach me to throw? ” I said
“Not today, I got a lot to do.” He said “That’s ok”.”

Jim Croce: Operator

Read more What Content Marketers Can Learn from Songwriters

How do I promote my blog post?


It’s great you wrote a blog post.

How are you going to tell people about it? If you can’t promote it, does it even exist?

How do I promote my blog post?

If you post a blog in a deserted internet, did it even happen?

Would you play your heart out at a piano recital with no one in the theatre?

No. You wouldn’t. Yet people publish a blog post and expect a Pulitzer.

It’s true that blogging produces authority, but that’s over the long haul.

You have to put in the work to gain an audience and their respect.

We’re talking about influence.

If content is your vehicle, then social media is your infrastructure.

The thing is that it takes years to build up your social capital and your community (social infrastructure).

So many people think social media (or blogging) will produce and instant community like Sea Monkeys. It’s not Sea Monkeys. It’s not instant. I mean, you can buy followers, but those aren’t people who will care you just wrote the blog post forever to be your crowning glory.

Start with one platform. Follow people. Share their content.

Keep writing. Don’t stop doing that. Post if you want.

Go to other people’s blogs and comment on them. Some bloggers get picky about comment length or that it should add value to the conversation. I’m happy to have any interaction. But you should have fair warning.

If you give in social media, it will come back to you.

Build up the roads your content will travel on and you’ll reach your audience.

Watch the Guru Minute here.

How to Start A Blog

I was asked by one of my Twitter followers this week how to blog. Honestly, I can’t believe I’ve never written about it.

Why you should blog is here.

Why should you blog?

In my view, there are two aspects of blogging: the writing and the technical.

Obstacles

My nemesis is motivation.

Other people are daunted by the technology.

Still others, time.

All of these things can be overcome.

We know that one of the keys to being social is content. Too many people, including myself, think there’s nothing more to be said. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

What if I have nothing to say?

Have you ever thought to yourself that everything meaningful has already been said? Maybe it has. I’m sure there is another blogging series or posts that are better than this one. But this is my creation and the words come out in my voice.

Believe me, you, too, have ideas. You have your own style. You have a voice. You can add value to the world. Are you worried you’ll just state the obvious? Maybe the obvious isn’t that obvious.

“Everybody’s ideas seem obvious to them. Maybe what’s obvious to me is amazing to someone else.” Derek Sivers 

Just Write

You just have to do it. This is what all of my friends tell me. I tend to write in binges, much like everything else in my life.

Carol Stephen recommends using a timer:

“Yes, you can write in small increments. Yes, it will help your startup. Back when I started to exercise, I gave myself an out whenever I went to the gym. If I didn’t feel better after 15 minutes, I allowed myself to leave. During many years of exercising, I’ve only left twice. So set that timer for 15 minutes and get going! You can do it!”

Read more How to Start A Blog

What Layla Teaches Content Marketers About Repurposing

As a child of the 70’s, “classic rock,” as we now call it, was always on the radio and turntable. You become familiar with the music, if not the lyrics.

Fast forward twenty years and, as a married woman, The Mr. and I are watching MTV Unplugged. Much to our surprise, and to a few in the audience, Eric Clapton had rearranged his own song, beloved “Layla” from his Derek and the Dominos Days. Pure Brilliance!

Derek & The Dominos

Eric Clapton MTV Unplugged

The angst and anguish of the lyrics are matched in the first version by the rock anthem followed by it’s classic instrumental, causing one to reflect. The heartache and soul sorrow of the lyrics was highlighted in the blues version on MTV. Their moods are totally different. Their pace are different. The message is the same:

“Layla, you got me on my knees!” Read more What Layla Teaches Content Marketers About Repurposing