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?
I have a simple technique I use to help build an editorial calendar. I print out my physical calendar, identify the events that I want to promote or talk about, using color coding for social media channels I then systematically distribute information. I do this every other week. Sometimes it takes an hour sometimes only 20 minutes.
Give it a try and tell me if it works for you or you have a better approach.
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.
If someone has the audacity to call themselves “expert” or “guru”, I recommend that you avoid them. There are some out there flaunting these self appointed titles. People frequently use these words to introduce me and it makes me uncomfortable. I understand that it’s natural to use these titles when referring to someone that knows more than yourself on a specific subject (particularly social media). My view is that there is always so much more to learn and someone that knows more than I.
I don’t care whom you hire, I just want you to get what you paid for and that the solutions they provide are the right ones for your needs not a package that they want to sell you. Do your research and go with your gut.
I am sunsetting an old email system and was going through a folder of writings I wanted to expand upon and I found this:
“I realize that I’ve become frustrated with the speed that life works at in the physical realm. When I have to physically be somewhere, the amount of time it takes to get there and do that is painful. The internet has spoiled me. Instantaneous action, activity, and results is what I expect and the physical world frequently disappoints me.”
This was actually recorded in my car on an audio file. I could hear the frustration in my voice as I listened to it. I was speaking really slowly like I was trying not to wring the steering wheel dry. Like the very idea was painful and I was trying not to go postal.
What I know is that the pace you *can* work at is different than the pace a human *should* work at. I took my first real vacation in 6 years recently. By real, I mean in a hotel, without the kid, in a beautiful place where I actually wanted to be. I came back a changed woman. I thought so and now hearing my voice from about 8(ish) months ago, it’s even more obvious.
Just because the world runs at such a furious pace, doesn’t mean you have to. You don’t have to use every tool, read every book, watch every show, go to every event, or know everything. You simply can’t. Give yourself a break and go take one. Get a massage. Get adjusted. Take a nap. Relax.
This is a list of tools available. Obviously, this is only a small offering but these are the most basic and widely used tools that you should be aware of. The ones marked with * are tools I use and/or recommend.
- Blogger* (scheduled to be renamed by Google soon)
- Twitter* (micro)
- Audioboo* (audio)
Cross Platform Tools/Twitter 3rd party Applications
Reputation Management, Monitoring & Analytics Tools
Location Based Services
A colleague recently asked me if there was one app on my phone I would recommend, what would it be? It got me to thinking about the indispensable tools I use that others might want to know about. This is not a sponsored post. My opinions and only because I think you’d benefit.
One of my favorite tools I use downloaded onto my desktop and from my smartphone is Evernote. What’s great about Evernote:
- It’s like the big sticky note in the sky. Store all your “sticky notes” here.
- I can save text, audio, web clips, and snapshots.
- It has handwriting recognition so I can search for a term that I wrote in my own handwriting.
- I can take pictures on my phone and email them to my account. Useful so that you don’t have to write a lot of information down when confronted with a poster or document that you’d like to save.
- It’s on the cloud so you can access from your smartphone, desktop computer, or at any machine with access to the internet.
- It helps to keep you CLUTTER FREE!
- It is free of charge unless you need some serious uploading.
Ways that I use Evernote:
- My grama gave me a big box of recipes years ago that I don’t think I’ll ever make but I just might one day! Because they are degrading with age, I decided to take photos of each (they were on 3×5 cards) and I have a recipe notebook should I ever want to go back to them.
- Regular recipes that I really like and actually use.
- I’ve scanned quite a few restaurant menus and can review them from my lazy spot on the couch.
- I have the measurements for both my child and husband so when I’m shopping no one needs to know because I don’t have to ask!
- I keep a list of the clothes that I need to purchase so when I’m in a store I don’t blank on the things I need and just buy what I want. Socks, t-shirts, black loafers, rain slicker, etc.
- Frequently while reading on the treadmill or recumbent bike at the gym, I want to make notes but it’s not conducive. So I take pictures of the sections of the book I’m reading and send to my Evernote account. That simple.
- Blog ideas. Book ideas.
- A chronological list of all my speaking engagements with title of speech.
- My bowling scores. Yes, I know.
- Saving special tweets. I can send them right from any Twitter client I use.
- I take pictures of handwritten notes I take during conversations with my clients. They are always on different sizes of pieces of paper and hard to contain in their regular physical folders. They don’t fall out this way.
- Whiteboard notes from meetings.
Ways I don’t yet use it but would like to:
- Taking pictures of all the purchases in the house for insurance purposes.
- I’m still thinking of more every day!
I couldn’t possibly list every way that Evernote is a brilliant tool. This is a great article on 100 Different Evernote Uses. Do you have a great use that I missed? Or another tool I should be aware of? Please let me know in the comments!