Did you know that much of the traffic to your website comes through your blog? It’s true. Business blogging is a necessity to attract visitors. You are probably thinking, “I don’t know what to write about.” I wrote a blog about good writing subjects called “15 Easy Blog Post Topics” and it’s one of my most popular (the subject matter never gets old). But I’m going to run you through the exercise I do with my clients that will map out for you what you’ll be writing about for the next year.
- Make sure you have 30 minutes to 1 hour of uninterrupted time. I promise that you won’t need that long but you need your brain to relax into this exercise.
- Print out 15 Easy Blog Post Topics, have it nearby, or open it in another browser window so you can refer to it.
- Start with a blank piece of paper, in document software such as Word, or in Excel. On the left hand side of the page, write the months May 2013 through April 2014 (I say this because I’m writing this blog in April 2013, adjust accordingly). See my Sample Editorial Calendar for an example that you can download.
- We are going to write a topic, subject, theme, or title (use any word that works for you) for each month for the next twelve. The reason I’m telling you to start next month is because I don’t want you to feel stressed about writing immediately. You need to have time to think about what you are going to write before it’s due.
- Here are some examples: I just got a great testimonial from a client. I’ll write “Testimonial from John Q. Public” on any of the months (don’t worry about what subject goes where yet) or I could write “History of my company” (why I do what I do). It’s a creative writing process, just keep writing subjects.
- When you’re done with the twelve subjects, take a look at their placement on the calendar. I like to do easy ones like the seasonally appropriate, “It’s January! What are your marketing or social media goals for the upcoming year?” or holiday specific because those belong on the calendar in predictable places. Then adjust the rest of your content to make sense, whether it’s sequential or if it’s specific to your business seasons. Tax accountants are aware of what people need to do to prep for taxes and that content is necessary to publish January-March. Wedding professionals are giving tips to their brides and grooms nine months before their weddings and their high season is June-August.
- Now visit your appointment calendar. Think about whether you write better in the morning, mid-day, or evening. What day of the week is the quietest in your office? Set an appointment on your calendar to write. Writing a blog can take 1-2 hours for writing, editing, research, photo placement, search engine optimization, and social media sharing. After a couple months, you will have to evaluate your success or lack thereof. If you find you don’t write, ask yourself why? Have you not scheduled it? Are you placing it on the wrong day or time? Ask yourself probing questions and you will get the answers. If you are sticking to your plan and things are going well, you can increase your output to twice per month then once a week. It’s rare that people are able to blog multiple times per week unless it’s their only job. This step is about setting up your expectations for realistic goals.
- BONUS STEP: You can do this now or when you are ready to write. Use Google’s AdWords: Keyword Tool to ascertain which words you will be putting in your blog are highly trafficked (hard to stand out in a crowded room) or those that have very little competition. I HIGHLY recommend you watch this short video that not only teaches you how to use it and what the terms mean. Remember, your visitors come to your site/blog based on the keywords you use!
You are all setup to write! Writing down and assigning those twelve subjects usually takes about 15 minutes. How did you do?
Dear Santa Rosa City Council Members,
I am a Social Media Educator & Consultant here in Santa Rosa and I’ve been watching New York City forge a path of digital resources for small business owners. They have specifically chosen to be proactive and provide a tremendous amount of opportunities for their business owning citizens: NYC Business Express, new wifi units all over the city, opening Cornell NYC Tech, new workforce veteran’s career center, and more. I think we can do a lot to support our local business owners and today they released a new program of which I want you to be aware.
New York City’s Press Release
NYC “today launched a new set of free tools to help small businesses in New York City use digital technologies and social media to grow their businesses and create jobs. The new set of resources is called the Small Business Digital Toolkit. Through a partnership with NYC Digital, the Department of Small Business Services will offer small businesses free training and resources to digitally attract customers, conduct business online and market their products or services through the use of e-commerce technology.”
Small Business Digital Toolkit Initiative (easy reading version)
NYC’s Digital Roadmap of Progress & Innovation
I understand that job creation and growth is important in all communities. I am also painfully aware of lack of funds but I know that we have a ready and willing tech community that can help grow these types of programs right here at home. I am doing what I can to ensure that those working (and not working) have the technology skill set they need in order to thrive. Please know that any effort the city can put into this kind of an initiative will only do more to help Santa Rosa succeed.
cc: Mayor Ernesto Olivares, Vice Mayor John Sawyer, Scott Bartley, Jake Ours, Marsha Vas Dupre, Gary Wysocky, Danielle O’Leary, Rachel Haot
It’s generally considered bad form to delete a post from your Facebook page* just because you don’t like what that person has to say. As business owners, we have to come to terms with the fact that the second we open our “doors”, someone somewhere is unhappy. We can’t please everyone all of the time. Now, the whole purpose of using social media is to have conversations and communicate with others. If you are a page administrator that removes a post by the public simply because the content isn’t what you prefer, then you don’t understand what social media is really about.
I recommend deleting and removing posts from others if they are: racist, sexist, full of hate speech, obscene or violate your stated community guidelines. Deleting simply because you don’t like them shows immaturity, an inability to deal with real life situations, and damages your credibility. No matter how much you try to whitewash life, you can’t remove all negativity from your world. Instead of pulling out the big pink eraser, acknowledge the concern (if they aren’t delusional), communicate with the person, validate their concern then discuss your plan of action, whatever it is. Remember, there is always someone watching your actions and there are silent members of your audience that WILL notice. For a step by step guide on how to do this, see my blog on How to Deal with Negative Customer Feedback.
The way you deal with unhappy or negative people is proof of your character. A less than rosy comment doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It can be a learning experience if you are open to it. Have you ever had cruddy customer service, complained, then received excellent treatment and it changed the way you thought of the company? It happens to me all the time. People love to bag on telephone reps. I love it when I get the truly helpful and nice person. It happens more often than people acknowledge but sometimes it’s the way Ginny from Oklahoma treats you that determines how you feel about the multi-billion dollar conglomerate. Take every opportunity as a chance to provide a stellar experience. It’s never too late to turn it around!
Bottom line? Deleting posts damages your credibility. Are you wondering if you post something bad on my page whether or not I leave it? Test me: http://www.facebook.com/KerryRegoConsulting
* When I say Page, I mean BUSINESS PAGE. If you are a person, you have a PROFILE. They are not the same thing and have very different cultural rules.
Web4Biz Video Series
Technology Overview Playlist (4 videos):
Trends, Using an Interactive Internet or Mobile Application, Definitions and Examples, and On Gaining Mastery.
This course will take you on a high level tour of the Internet and Mobile application landscape. What is out there? Who is using what? What are the current trends?
Mastery of technology will be discussed so you will understand just how deeply you need to dive into the items you decide to implement for your business.
See series in it’s entirety on Web4Biz.org.
Now available, a FREE video series from Web4Biz aimed at helping you improve your small business strategy. Sections like:
- Technology Overview
- How to Get Started
- New Media Marketing
- Disaster Recovery
- and more
All sections of video are in short snippets that are easy to digest (longest is 8 minutes). You will be able to view again and again, take notes, and work through a plan of action with the provided work materials. Also included: forums to communicate with other small business owners and industry experts, resource materials, and blogs.
Kerry Rego Consulting recommends this course because Kerry is the on camera trainer having delivered all the material.
This is a California Community Colleges funded course aimed at Economic Workforce Development.
You learned a lot of information when you attended “Risks & Reputation Management: Using Social Media to Protect Your Brand”. Or maybe someone you know wasn’t able to come. What are the takeaways?
Disclaimer: You will not be able to accomplish all of this in one day. I want to help manage your expectations. You will want to set aside time to accomplish these tasks on a regular basis (maybe once or twice a week) until you’ve worked your way through the list. Pace yourself. What you learn in this process about the online image of your name and your business will be worth all the effort.
• Perform a vanity search (*1)
• Respond to negative commenters in a positive and validating way (*2)
• Setup Google Alerts (*1)
• Setup Google Places (*3)
• Setup business on Directories (*3)
• Legacy Management/Process (*4)
• Assess Computer Systems security (*4)
• Create a Crisis Plan (*4)
• Setup internal Social Media Communications Policy (*4)
• Assess customer service requirements with survey (*2)
• Review website (I recommend reading it out of order to to more easily spot errors) for correct information, functionality, browser compatibility, update on a schedule to keep rankings high with Google (*4)
Blogs to show you how to do the action items:
[Image via CampaignsMD]