10 Sanity-Saving Ways to Make Blogging A Breeze (Part I)
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." – Lao Tzu (and anyone that has ever managed a blog.)
As with exercise, learning a language, getting into yoga or anything else that us humans tend to promise to tomorrow, starting a blogging routine is one of the hardest parts of blogging itself. Mr. Tzu was onto something, but he forgot to mention just one thing; walking a thousand miles isn’t for the unprepared or faint of heart. The same goes for managing a blog.
But, in the end, is blogging worth all the time and effort? According to Hubspot, 79% of companies that have a blog reported a positive Return on Investment (ROI) for inbound marketing in 2013. We are fairly certain ROI is important to every single business ever created, so we feel comfortable assuring you that it is worth the time and effort. We can double down and say you could use a few tactics to help streamline that process.
In fact, you probably have an entire list of questions that lead to reasons you haven’t started this process already. The goal of this blog is to anticipate and then answer some of those questions in an incredibly self-reflexive manner.
1. Get Organized, Get Categorized
Your blog posts should be well categorized and the categories clearly displayed on the page. Most blogging platforms will allow you to do this fairly easily. This accomplishes two things: First, it will help organize your potential talking points. For instance, our categories include social media, website design, email marketing, SEO tactics, and more. These are all categories to help us jump into the writing/planning process. Secondly, it lets readers quickly navigate to content that they want to find.
2. Establish Your Voice
Establish your voice and know who you're talking to in your blog. B2B blogs will have a different voice than a B2C blog as they are talking to a vastly different audience. If you’re business is managing logistics for freight companies, ask yourself a few questions to understand who you’re talking to. Some of those questions can be:
- Are logistic managers for freight companies predominantly male or female?
- What is their likely average age?
- Do they share common interests?
- What is their biggest challenge?
- Why are they reading this in the first place?
Now you have a better idea of who your audience is and you can speak directly to them. And leave the corporate tone behind. Write like you speak; in a conversational tone as if your readers were in the room with you. Even more helpful, write as if you’re talking to one single person.
3. Your Customer is Your Muse
Inspiration can be tough, but consider questions your customer would want answered. Any recurring questions can be answered in a blog. If you have a Q & A section on your website, start there. If you’re on social media, ask your followers. You’ll find people are more than willing to help out and give their two cents. This way you know you’re answering a question that people want answered.
4. Find Your Blog Length Sweet Spot
Quality not quantity. That is what you should focus on in your blog. Posts don't have to have a set length. In fact, it is a great idea to play with post length to find what works best for you. Ideally, 400-550 words makes for a worthy "sweet spot" that won’t consume immense amounts of time to write. But if it is a well-researched, well written post and it ends up being 1200-1500+ words, that is great too.
5. Discover Blogging Efficiencies
Want to save time? Chop that 1,500+ word blog into a series of blogs. This will a.) keep readers engaged and focused (asking them to read 1,500+ words is a gamble b.) keep them on the lookout for the next post in the series c.) establish trust with your readers. Someone who reads three of your blogs is more likely to return to your blog than someone who reads just one. The toughest thing to do with a blog is to post content regularly. But this is also the most important thing! This tip allows you to do write all of the content in one go and then publish the content in pieces to save you time.
Saving time is probably the main reason you’re here, so we’ll expand…
Crafty content producers will actually recycle and repurpose blog content. Here’s an example: You write a post about chocolate chip cookies. You post it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and send out an email talking about quick/easy chocolate chip cookies.
Then, three days later you send another tweet with the same link. The messaging this time is about homemade after school snacks. You use the same content with a different angle and different hashtags.
Two or three months later, you change the headline to talk about baking with your kids and re-post it on social media talking about family activities. You can even just change a blog image without changing any of the content. These are just a few of the ways you can find efficiencies in your blogging game.
So we are taking our own advice and stopping this post here. In Part II, we’ll cover things like blogging efficiency, headline writing, and the distribution process. Our journey is but half over, so we hope you’ll join us on the next part as well. If you’re looking for some additional blogging inspiration, download our Checklist to Blogging Greatness.
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