Of course you are too busy to blog! We all use that excuse. It's time to lose it.
Remember how excited you were to start your company blog? And how you kept it current for … one issue?
We are all guilty of letting the blog drop. This is the first time we have added a new blog to our own website in a couple of months. Fortunately, our excuse is that we have been busy blogging for our clients. Check out some examples below.
Why blog in the first place?
You may think that no one cares about your rambling thoughts, and you may be right. That’s why you have to offer something of value to the reader. Unless you are an industry thought leader or a particularly engaging writer, chances are good that the masses are not eagerly awaiting your next update.
However, Google and other search engines are waiting for your next update. Text-heavy websites are a thing of the past, but content is still the King of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines recognize when content is added, and that gives your site authority, which translates into better rankings. Do the math. Add some words. Add the right words—we call them “keywords.” But don’t just throw 5,000 of them up on your home page and call it a day. The search engines see right through that, and worse, you will scare away human readers with all that intimidating text.
What about all your stunning photography?
Keep your home page clean and visually appealing, with brief, informative and compelling copy. Use it to direct people to the new content on your site that is as appealing to humans as it is to search engines. With strong images and intriguing, timely and SEO-friendly copy. That sounds like a blog! Now you get it?
Blog because it gives Google new content to crawl.
Blog because it gives you a voice and establishes you as an expert.
Blog because it gives readers a reason to come back to your website.
Blog because it gives you original content to share on social media.
What should you blog about?
What do your readers want to know? How to hire a builder? How to burn fat? How to get their kids into college? Think about the kind of information and questions your clients and prospects ask you.
Now take a look at your website and newsletter analytics. What are people reading? Give them what they want. It’s just that simple. Even if you are not directly promoting one of your products or services, you are building trust with your readers by offering them useful, insightful and engaging information. If you can mention your product or service as well, that’s even better. Just try not to make it too self-promotional. This is a blog. Not an ad.
For example, people are always asking us how they can do a better job managing their social media business pages. Many of them are people we know will never hire an outside agency to do their social media, but who could very likely engage us in another way. We want to be recognized for experience, and we want to be helpful, but we don’t want to give away the whole shop. By offering a few tips, we get the conversation started. Or help them along their way. Best of all, they find us on the web. If we do our homework, blog about the topics that are interesting to our clients, and implement effective SEO, they have a much better chance of finding us than if we never update our content.
How long should your blog be?
There are some excellent reasons to keep your blog short. And just as many, if not more, to make it long. What’s just right? That depends on many factors. Short blogs are great when you are trying to get the reader to take action—schedule an appointment, sign up for a newsletter, order a product. All the same, a blog needs to be at least 300 words to rank with the search engines. What’s more, research suggests that 1,600 to 2,500 words and up is ideal for SEO.
We have a specific goal in mind every time we write a blog, and they vary widely. But our commitment remains the same: We write for people first, and search engines (a close) second. We aren’t going to fill a page if there is nothing left to say. Let’s face it, most people are not only too busy to write blogs, they are also too busy to read them.
How will you find time to do it?
Simply stated, you have to make a commitment to blog, and that starts with good planning and these four tips:
Set realistic goals, just as you would at the gym. If you know you will be lucky to get one done a quarter, then schedule it that way and stick to it. We suggest at least one a month, but if the task becomes too overwhelming, you may just give the whole thing up.
Create an editorial calendar. Set deadlines. Share them with others on your team. Be accountable.
Schedule time. Put the tasks in a project manager tool or on your calendar
Get help. You may not be able to do it alone, especially if you are not a writer. Engage others on your team or hire a consultant.