As I wrote in an earlier post, a blog can be a highly effective marketing channel. It provides a great way to introduce prospects to your company and your content, and it can improve your organic search results. To maximize the benefits of your blog, you must post new content regularly and frequently. Therefore, publishing an effective blog requires a commitment of time and attention.
The suggestions I'm including in this post are the result of first-hand experience. I launched this blog in early 2010. For the first three months or so, I added new content frequently, but then I ran out of steam. By mid-August, I had stopped posting entirely. After a hiatus of about nine months, I "relaunched" the blog in May of this year. This time, I had a better plan, and the plan has worked well.
There are several keys to successful blogging, but these four are among the most important.
Create a schedule and stick to it. Writing a blog post is a task that's easy to put off. So, to be successful, create an "editorial calendar" for your blog that contains specific publication dates. Just saying "twice a month" isn't specific enough. Posting regularly is almost as important as posting frequently. So, start with a schedule that you feel comfortable with (as long as you are posting at least twice per month). You can increase the frequency as you get accustomed to writing posts.
Create and maintain a "reserve" of completed posts. Before launching your blog, write enough posts to fill your schedule for at least two months. This will give you some breathing room before you need to create additional posts. In addition, you should always maintain a "reserve account" that contains one or two months of completed posts. If you run into a "dry spell," this reserve will give you some time to work through it.
Always be looking for topics. One of the biggest challenges for any blogger is identifying enough topics to write about. This can be particularly intimidating when you're just getting started. I don't have a silver bullet for this challenge, but I can offer a few suggestions:
- Tap internal resources - Get all of the people in your company involved in suggesting topics.
- Use your experience and read - The inspiration for my posts comes from two primary sources - my work with clients and what I read. If you're involved in a major project for a client, use that experience to create one or more posts. It's also important to read other blogs in your field regularly. On several occasions, I've been inspired to write a post by one sentence I've read in another blog.
- Write down your ideas - Whenever you think of a topic for a post, take a moment to write a couple of sentences that capture the essence of your idea. Don't be judgmental, just get the idea down on paper. Some of these ideas won't work out, but some will.
Effective blogging requires work, but the more organized you are, the easier the work becomes.