Don’t Become an Abandoned Blog

This month I’ve been struggling with something that many SMB customers no doubt struggle with. I’ve had neither the time nor the inclination to work on my blog. I’ve been too busy servicing my clients to even think about my own websites. I’ve been so frustrated with trying to think of content that my customers would care about that a few times I’ve wanted to blow up the entire blog. Just hit delete. You don’t have to have a blog, do you? Except, of course, that I blog for a living! That’s when I realized that I had a nice opportunity here to address a marketing problem that many SMBs face, and that I could offer useful insights about it (as opposed to just, say, deleting my blog altogether). This is the point where many small business blogs just get abandoned, especially if you can’t find any evidence that you’ve made direct sales from your content creation efforts. But that’s not the way it has to be. Pick yourself up again. You don’t have to beat yourself up over the fact that you’ve missed some blog posts. All of the content that you’ve created is still there, and it’s still providing value to your customers. It’s still offering you some benefit. So just get back to adding to it. You can do it without any particular fanfare, unless calling attention to your lapse serves some particular purpose (like writing a blog post about dealing with lapses on your blog). Look for something to curate. This is a strategy I use when I’m running low on ideas for a client’s blog. While...

Is Content Marketing Worth the Time?

I’ve been involved in an interesting thread over on LinkedIn all week. One of the members of the discussion said that content marketing was essentially useless: “too many words, not enough substance.” He liked the BMW tagline for its ability to help drive sales. He seemed to feel that most copywriting should be done in just 6 words or less, and that content marketing should be done away with altogether. I just can’t even begin to say how much I disagree with this stance. First, BMW is a big brand and, as another one of the members of discussion mentioned, has also made a decision to engage in content marketing. But even if they hadn’t, they’re a household name. They can afford to play the name recognition card. But I would venture to guess that the name recognition card is displaying less and less value these days. Most people tune out advertising. Sure, people know that content marketing is done in the hopes of capturing attention and earning trust. If a man brings me flowers and asks me on a date I know he’s hoping essentially the same thing. That doesn’t stop the gesture from being appreciated, or from having its desired effect. In fact, relying on clever words without substance (however cleverly those words are arranged) is the equivalent of falling back on cheesy pick-up lines without putting in the work of forging a real relationship. And it’s going over about as well in the minds of customers. So yeah. Even if you don’t want to factor Google into the equation, content marketing works. You can say it’s...

Blogging 101

I was over at the OneNaijaBlog and ran across a post about lazy bloggers. You can read it here. I don’t know about lazy though. This checklist could actually easily apply to inexperienced bloggers too. For example, when I first started blogging I didn’t really understand a thing about inserting myself into a larger community. I was too shy to comment on most posts. I didn’t think I had anything that great to say. I certainly didn’t reference other people’s posts. I was in fact overwhelmed by simply trying to get the content written, so I didn’t even make time to read other people’s blogs in my niche. Big mistake! Plus, I had this fear that if I did that I’d send them all the traffic and not get any of my own. Another big mistake! So I’ll sum up Babanature’s list because it is a very effective “Blogging 101.” 1. Write your content on a regular schedule. I chose once a week for this blog because I’m pressed for time, handling posts twice a week for about 10 blogs. I didn’t want to create a schedule I couldn’t live with. Notice he mentions not changing your day. I committed this blogging sin by going from Monday to Wednesday after I accidentally missed a week. I decided to just get back in the saddle after making this mistake, however. 2. Plan on pitching and attempting to write a guest post at least once a week. This will feel like a huge time suck at first. You’ll send queries out into space. You’ll send out some bad queries. And then you’ll hit on...

5 of June’s Best Content Marketing Posts

I have recently gotten hip to the subject of “round-up” posts. I don’t know why it took me so long. I’ve seen other bloggers doing it for years. But I think it didn’t fit with my perception of “being a writer.” Blogging, as it turns out, is about joining a conversation. Good writing is just what makes your conversation sound coherent instead of half-drunk. Of course, I only blog 4 times a month over here (though I blog daily on a variety of marketing topics over at TVS Internet Marketing) it doesn’t make much sense to do a weekly round-up. So I figure I’ll do a monthly round up, focusing on the great stuff I read during the previous month. This will be more refined for next month’s monthly round-up. I didn’t really think of this until the end of June, which is why there are only 5 posts this time. Next time I want to present the entire month’s worth of awesomeness. The first was from Crazy Egg: Create Loyal Customers and Raving Fans with Just Your Website. It was a nice post because it went way beyond “content is king, blah blah blah.” It went into some of the nuts and bolts of what makes content good (or great). There were clear examples and screen shots to drive the points home. The second wasn’t a blog post at all, but a Slide Share Presentation: 50 Stats You Need to Know About Content Marketing. I took particular notice of slide #8: “64% of B2B content marketers say their biggest challenge is creating enough content.” Probably because that’s what I...

Writing vs. Writing to Elevate Your Brand

I recently read a post by Lisa Tilt writing to elevate your brand. In order to be successful writers and bloggers, of course, we can’t get too worked up about writing to elevate our brand. We always have to be thinking about what customers want to read. Plugging our brand has to be thrown in there like an afterthought. (Oh by the way, if you want some help with this stuff drop me an e-mail). However, it’s also all too easy to be aware of the fact that the primary reason you’re doing this is that ultimately, you want to make some money. I think this is what leads to a lot of the stilted, bad content out there (including some of the stuff I’ve written). It takes awhile to relax and enjoy a blog. To play with your voice a little bit. To forge some relationships. To get comfortable showcasing other people’s content (after all, what if it takes a potential customer off to another site?) To become authentic. This is similar to the problem that plagues social media sites. Most people just don’t wait around long enough to push through the problem. They grow frustrated that their blog or website isn’t making any money but is eating up hours of effort (or hundreds of dollars, if they’re paying someone else to do it). They get irritated when they realize that they need to consume content, not just create it, so that you can actually join the conversation. I’ve had enough failed blogs to know all of these pains. I didn’t learn how to get past them until I got...

Blogging Advice: Is Your Blog Too Ambitious?

Once upon a time I set out to create a blog that did just about everything I was interested in. I had, I thought, adequately studied just about every other blog that I liked. I noticed they had lots of cool categories about many interesting things. I noticed several of my favorite bloggers seemed to write 2-3 posts every single day. I marveled at their ability to create absolutely fantastic content that was always insightful and interesting, without slowing down or hurting their other money making efforts. At the time, I set up to create a blog that would cover working from home, marketing, and personal development. I figured these were three topics I liked and knew a lot about, and they all sort of tied in with one another, so naturally it made sense to just blog about all of them. My plan was to write three posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I would write one post for each of the categories. I even had an editorial calendar where I’d managed to plan out all of that content. For the first month this worked fine. I had a bunch of articles on these subjects stored in my hard drive already, so it was just a matter of copying them, pasting them, and posting them. Then, I found myself having to create content on the rather grueling schedule I’d set for myself. I started to note that some of those blogs I had liked so much had multiple bloggers on staff. Or they had income that came from their blog, and only their blog. Blogging was literally their...