[Starr says: I hope you enjoy this guest post from Erika Kerekes, who heads social media solutions at Deluxe Corporation. She’ll be contributing here from time to time.]
We’ve all heard about the benefits of writing a business blog. It’s a great way to show the world you’re smart about what you do. Refreshing the content on your website helps you get found through online search. And many businesses out there actually point to their blogs as a source for new leads and revenue.
The problem: Writing a blog takes time. And a neglected blog is worse than not having one at all. You’re already burning the candle at both ends trying to run your business. When, exactly, are you supposed to blog?
If the thought of maintaining a blog for your small business makes your knees wobble, don’t worry: There are ways to make blogging manageable. Here are five shortcuts I use to keep my head above water and the content rolling out on a regular(ish) schedule.
- Set achievable goals. Let’s face it – few of us have time to sit down, collect our thoughts, and turn out 300 well-curated words every day. Put aside an hour or two a week and get as much done as you can. Posting once a week is better than not posting at all because you’re paralyzed by anxiety.
- Lower your standards (within reason). You’re not writing a dissertation here. Your blog posts don’t need to be worthy of publication in a national magazine. Pick a topic, churn out a few paragraphs, re-read them to make sure they make sense, hit Publish, and move on. Do, however, make sure your post reads well, makes sense, and is typo-free.
- Use your “draft” queue. When you hit on an idea for your blog, start a new post, make some notes, and save it as a draft. When you’re ready to write, look through your drafts, pick the one you want to finish, and you’re halfway there. I’ve always got at least a few dozen posts in progress. The best thing about this method: You would have forgotten most of those ideas if you hadn’t written them down when they were fresh in your mind.
- Keep a list. I keep a running list of evergreen ideas in a notebook next to my computer. When I’m stuck for a new topic, I look at my list for inspiration. Here are a few of the things on my idea list: Quote a customer; ask a question; answer a question; today’s reading list; today’s news; an interesting quote; a daily challenge.
- Ask for help. You don’t have to write every word. You’ll find many willing contributors to your blog if you only ask. (Starr knows this – that’s how I got here!) Friends, colleagues, customers, employees – they’ve all got valuable insights to share. Suggest ideas or let them bring their own. As long as they mesh with the general topic of your blog, it’s all good.
Guest Blogger for Starr Hall: Erika Kerekes heads social media solutions for small businesses at Deluxe Corporation. She spends her days helping small businesses understand social media and her nights blogging obsessively about food. She lives by the list above – it’s the only way she can get it all done.