“I don’t have time to create more content.” This is one of the most common responses we get when we tell small business owners about blogging to build their business. Generating content on a regular basis can seem daunting, but we are happy to tell you that it’s not as bad as it sounds. We’ve got some tips and tricks to help you streamline the process, and once you get into a rhythm, you’ll be producing quality blog posts faster than you knew was possible.
Engaging blog posts do not need to be novels. In fact, long blog posts are likely to lose engagement. Readers of your blog have very little time to consume the content that you have written, so it’s important to be informative but concise. An ideal length for blog posts is about 600 words.
Like any document, an infinite amount of time can be spent perfecting every last detail of a blog post. Do yourself a favor and do not allow your writing process to go on forever. A good blog post should take no more than about two hours to create (excluding any research you may have conducted). Remember, done is better than perfect, and perfect is never done. You can always go back and make edits or improvements later.
Set a time limit for yourself, and be sure to step away when time runs out, even if you’re not done. You may have trouble keeping this time limit on your first blog post or posts, but you can work on bringing that time down for each new post. Setting a time limit will help you to get more content out regularly, and it will also help to prevent you from getting burnt out (which will only further hinder your productivity)
Small business owners often leave the writing of blog posts to be completed during their spare time. Unfortunately, spare time is a rarity for them, and blogging is the last thing they’re likely to use it for. By prioritizing blog writing and blocking out time on your calendar, you can ensure that your articles get written. Blogging for your business takes time, and it may not have immediate results, but it will save you money, time, and marketing effort in the long run.
Your target audience is filled with various different types of learners and personalities. Some like charts, others prefer to hear it, some want to read the text, and others like pictures. It’s important to be producing fresh content regularly, but there’s nothing wrong with repurposing one form of content into another. Not only will this enable you to produce more forms of content more quickly, it will help you to strengthen your messaging and appeal to different members of your target audience.
Just remember: there’s a difference between repetition and repurposing. Quality is more important than quantity, and if you overload your readers with the same content over and over again, you’re likely to push them away.
Your blog is not just an extension of your website, it’s at the core of your business. It conveys your thought leadership, your expertise, your voice, style, and helps to personalize your brand. This is not meant to place so much importance on your blog that you get paralyzed by perfecting your posts (see #2). The point is, no matter what information you’re putting into your blog posts, each post should conform to the central messaging and mission of your business.
Creating some guidelines ahead of time will help prevent you from digressing, veering off, or losing focus—all of which can cost you precious time. It will also help you to quickly orient any freelancers, guest posters, or team members who you may use to contribute to your blog. Knowing what topics to focus on, what language to use, and other specifics can eliminate time required to decide between one word, topic, etc. over another.
As mentioned above, using freelancers, guest posters, or other members of your team is a great way to increase the frequency of your posts, if it is feasible for you. While you need to set guidelines and a clear structure for your writers to follow, be careful not to go overboard.
Blogs are generally expected to be a less formal means of communication, even for larger corporations. Sloppy writing, poor content, and blatant grammatical errors are not acceptable, but blog articles do not need to be literary masterpieces. By keeping writing quality expectations appropriate, you can increase your blogging output.
Generally speaking, the more frequently you blog, the greater the positive impact will be on your marketing. However, it’s important to set realistic goals to ensure that you don’t fail before you start. If you strive to publish three blog posts a week but can’t meet that goal, you’re likely to become frustrated, discouraged, and lose motivation.
Remember: you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. It’s better to start small off with small milestones that you can achieve. This way you can get into a rhythm and slowly increase your expectations as you improve. Using the two-hour-per-post guideline, almost anyone should be able to find time to create one article per week, which is a great starting point for many small businesses.
Blogging is a longer term investment, but it will pay dividends; it isn’t just a time sink. Blogging is one of the best things you can do for your business and your SEO (search engine optimization). If you view blog post writing as an activity that costs you time without any benefit, your incentives to write will be limited. Whether it means more web traffic to a person in marketing or a better position as a thought leader to the business owner, don’t forget to consider the benefits of blogging.
Related: SEO Guide for Local Businesses
Ideas can be the stumbling block for many people. One of the least likely times you will come up with ideas is when you’re sitting there, forcing yourself to. A relaxed mind is a creative one, and you’re likely to come up with the best blog topics and titles when you least expect it—in the shower, while on an errand, while browsing the web, etc.
Keeping a centralized location for your blog ideas can significantly help you to keep your blog writing moving along smoothly.Whether it’s your notepad on your smartphone, a word doc on your computer, or a list on your wall, the more available and accessible it is, the more you’ll find yourself adding to it. This list will come in handy more than you’d expect. Even better, if it’s a shared list, you can sync it between your devices and even share it with other blog contributors. Having ideas available makes for more execution, and even more idea generation.
Setting up a blog for the first time or beginning to post regularly should not take months of planning. Carve out 2 hours this week and get a blog article published!