A 7 Steps Guide to Business Blogging
The number one comment I hear from my clients when we begin talking about business blogging is the lack of resources and content they have available. There is a large assumption when it comes to blogging that it takes a great amount of time to get started. This simply isn’t true!
Although you do have to set time aside each week to dedicate towards blogging and content generation, it doesn’t take as much time as you would think to do it well. You just have to know where to draw resources from, and the existing places in your company you can look to uncover hidden content gems just begging to be turned into blog posts. Here is our 7 steps process for getting started with generating content for your business blog today:
1. Customer Questions
Answering the common questions you hear from your customers is the easiest place to start when looking at areas you can pull from to generate content for your blog. You likely receive a few questions per day when speaking to your customers.
Keep a spreadsheet open on your computer and plunk-in the questions you receive and note how you answer them. If you can, write the blog post as soon as you’re finished speaking with the customer so the question and response are fresh in your mind.
If you’re not actively engaging with customers get those in your company on board who are. This can be your sales team or customer service department. Quite often it will be your sales team that receives the most questions. Give them access to the same spreadsheet you have so they can jot down the questions they receive and their answers. Feeling push-back?
Quite often it can be difficult to get your sales team on board with spending time on something that doesn’t generate revenue. Explain that answering these questions will help drive additional leads through the website that will ultimately be passed on to the sales team.
It is also useful to have them record their names beside each question they record so you can give a shout-out to your sales people in weekly company meetings or on the company intranet. This will help to promote their contribution and get others on board with the initiative as well.
2. Audit Existing Content
Assess internal communications and existing content for topics that may be published offline that can easily be transferred to an online format. In this case, the content will already be completed so it will take very little time to remove any trade-secrets and repackage for the web. This can include looking at product or service manuals and breaking them down into bite-sized chunks of information that can be turned into blog posts. Company news or industry trends would also fall into this area and make wonderful blog posts. Remember, you are wanting to give insight into your company’s inner workings and culture. Repurposing existing content is a great way to do this.
3. Brainstorm Sessions
Eventually, you are going to run out of customer questions or internal documents you can repurpose for your blog so it’s important to hold regular brainstorming sessions to keep the creative juices flowing. If you are a small company or short on resources pull from other areas of your company. Is there a staff member who is particularly active on social media? Someone who writes for their own personal blog?
In this case, it doesn’t matter if the content they are producing is relevant or related to your company’s but these internal resources are great to get involved when brainstorming new content and opinions. A brainstorming-sesh is also a great way to gauge the “stickiness” of content. You’ll be able to see how people react to a proposed topic. If it’s met with excitement it is likely going to be a great topic for generating leads. If no one reacts or seems too keen, don’t waste your time writing it.
4. Guest Blogging
Do you have a partnership or association membership you can leverage? Confidently pitch the benefits of guest blogging to someone at one of these organizations and have them write a post as an industry expert. This is an excellent way to begin a co-marketing partnership or strengthen an existing one. Have them write a post once per month or for a specific campaign your company is working on and offer up your expertise as a guest blogger for their company as well.
5. Curate Content
Curate content from other bloggers in your industry to provide value to your readers. But don’t simply curate something for the sake of doing it. Does it benefit your readers? Are you adding your own opinion and insight against what someone else has already said? Curating content is a great way to create partnerships as most bloggers will be flattered you are sharing their content. Just be sure to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Make sure you follow their usage guidelines and give credit where credit is due. When linking to their blog posts, ensure the link opens in a new tab.
6. Create an Editorial Calendar
Once you have developed the first few pieces of content use an editorial calendar to balance out the types of content you will be writing & sharing. This tool will also help you sort out the frequency of writing your posts. An editorial calendar will also help you figure out an approach for your blog. For example, if you have any offline campaigns you’ll be running or want to aggressively rank for a particular keyword, an editorial calendar will help you track all activities surrounding these initiatives and then track the results.
7. Start Writing!
Above all else just start writing! It will seem daunting and overwhelming to come up with content ideas at first, but once you start you will find ideas and your prose will easily flow from your fingertips. Just start writing! What are your tips for generating content for your business blog?