Are you staring at your computer screen wondering what to write about in your blog?
Perhaps you’re just quietly ignoring the blog and, in a sense, hoping it goes away.
It’s a fact that regular blogging brings in new leads and turns customers into repeat customers, which means more sales for you. So if you’re approaching everything else in your business like a professional, then why aren’t you doing the same with your blog?
There’s no magic formula to blogging regularly but you can make your life easier and blog like a pro by planning beyond your current post.
So read on and discover four easy steps to help you plan your blog posts a year in advance.
1. Brainstorm for ideas
It can be difficult to brainstorm, especially if you are on your own so if you’re stuck for ideas try these:
- Track the questions your customers are asking. What questions do you get in emails, on Facebook or on Twitter? Keep a notebook with you and write down any questions you get in face-to-face meeting or at networking meetings.
- If you network regularly why not use one of your minutes to ask people, ‘If they had just three minutes with you what one question would they ask?’
- Follow similar businesses on social media channels and forums. What are people talking about?
- Identify the experts for your industry and use Google to find white papers, articles and eBooks they have written. What questions are they answering? What subjects are they talking about?
- What is happening in your business? What techniques, tools and strategies do you use? Give your readers a sneak peak at behind-the-scenes in your business.
- Think about a ‘How to…’ blog post. This can be anything to do with your industry. What are your customers trying to do?
- Do you have any customers that would make a great case study? Just don’t forget to get their permission first.
- Have you had great customer service from any of your suppliers?
- Have you read a new book, visited a new website or tried a new piece of technology recently? Could you write a review about it?
- Are there any themes/seasons/holidays that are appropriate to your business? For example a beauty therapist might blog about pre-holiday treatments such as waxing and pedicures in June to give her readers time to make an appointment before they go away in July or August.
- What problems does your product or service solve? Don’t be afraid to promote your product or services on your blog. If you don’t, how will your readers know the benefits of what you are selling? Now is not the time to be shy.
2. Narrow down your list
By now you should have a long list of potential blog post ideas, so it’s time to whittle them down.
But where do you start? How do you sort out the fantastic from the mediocre?
You’re aiming to have 26 blog post ideas at the end of this process.
That’s one blog post a fortnight for a full year. By reading through your list you’ll be able to immediately weed out some that aren’t such great ideas. You can also use the following techniques to narrow your list even further:
- Which blog posts are you getting excited about writing?
- Which customer questions are more common?
- Which ideas tie in with the seasonality of your business?
3. Create an editorial schedule
Next take your 26 blog post ideas and put them in your calendar. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just that you do it.
- Write them on your wall calendar
- Put them in your Outlook, smartphone app or online calendar
- Create a simple editorial schedule in Excel
It’s easy to create an editorial schedule in Excel. Use columns for:
- Blog title,
- Summary of the content,
- General thoughts/notes,
- Research sources,
- Blog categories,
- Call to action,
- Who is going to write it and if anyone else is involved, e.g. proofreading.
But if that sounds like too much effort I’ve created a free template for you. To download it click here.
Finally, print it out and put it somewhere like a notice board so it will remind you of what needs to be done and when.
4. Commit to the schedule
Now because it’s in the calendar you will do it, won’t you?
Many micro business owners get caught up in working in their business rather than on their business. Your blog editorial schedule provides the link between the two.
Commit to the schedule and write the blog post. You need to keep blogging to keep visitors coming back to your blog and to position yourself as the leading local expert in your industry, as well as selling your products or services.
Today’s Micro Action
Start tracking and writing down customer questions to assist your brainstorming for blog post titles.