Blogging as a Marketing Tool
Blogging, writing, speaking are all ways for entrepreneurs to develop a following, increase their email marketing lists, and eventually acquire new clients. The two burning questions that I hear from clients in this regard are:
When do I have time to blog?
What do I blog about?
Let’s take the first question, having time. Blogging has to be seen as a marketing tool, not just a nice thing to do or a creative outlet. Yes, it might be the only time you get to spout your words of wisdom uncensored, but more importantly are you providing something that is meaningful to your clients? If so, the time you spend writing a blog entry is a great use of your time. However, if you still feel like you are short on time, consider these five options:
- Speak your blog into a digital recorder or an online recorder such as audacity.com. Driving or maybe even taking your daily walk might provide great ideas. Record these ideas and buy a translator program such as Dragon Naturally Speaking and turn your voice into a blog. Editing once it is transcribed is fast and easy to do.
- If you work with a team, ask them to contribute to the blog. No one said you have to do all the writing or provide all the ideas. Enlist your team to help you.
- Include your customers, associates, and partners in blogging with you. Invite key people to contribute to the blog. Possibly ask them questions in which they respond or link your blog to something insightful they have written.
- Set a schedule for your blogging. Decide if you will blog once a week, once a day, or every two weeks. Your readers will want to know what to expect from you. Allow yourself to write drafts of different blogs as ideas pop up and once a week pull one out, edit it, and voila you have a blog post completed in 15 minutes.
- Subscribe to a photo service such as dreamstime.com and you will have easy access to inexpensive photos to support your blogs. Pictures tell a thousand words. If you are an amateur photographer, feel free to include your own photos as well. This is a great way to show the human side of yourself to your customers.
Now, what you say and what you blog about needs to be considered in the following ways.
- What type of blog you are presenting to the world. Strategically, you have to decide if you are sticking only to business issues, mixing business and family, or business and personal anecdotes, or just personal. Who is your target and what is of most interest to your target reader. Answering this question will provide you with parameters for yourself and others on your team.
- Make a file on your desktop that is entitled “Blog Ideas.” Every time you read a blog, an article, an rss feed and it spurs some new ideas for you, copy it to your folder. This becomes a reservoir for future blogs. Once you use the idea, file it to another folder entitled “Blog Ideas Used.” You may want to recycle them at another time, but for now, it keeps your blogs fresh and makes sure you don’t repeat yourself too often.
- Once a month or once a quarter make a list of topics you will blog about in the next 4-8 weeks. You may choose to focus on a theme a month or vacillate between business and pleasure for example.
- Something hits you. From time to time a new idea, something you heard on the radio, or something you read will spur your creativity. Jot down the idea and allow yourself to write free flowing. If you don’t have time to reread, research and edit the article, put it in a file to revise later. These fresh ideas can be some of your best blogs and the most fun to write.