Steps to Better Business Blogging
There are over 31 million bloggers in the US alone. If you're having trouble standing out or gaining traction, don't beat yourself out. It's hard to gain a dedicated following in our era of content saturation. To be honest, none of us have time to read anything that isn't outstanding. If you've gotten the routine of blogging down but you're hoping to improve, we've compiled a super-easy plan for becoming a more engaging writer that requires no more than one hour of your time each day of the work week:
What’s going on in your field, anyway? Bloggers should self-educate daily, but make sure you’re really delving deep at least once weekly. Don’t just scroll through your RSS feed while you sip your morning coffee, either. Expose yourself to what’s new and fresh in your field. Download the latest Marketing eBook from HubSpot, Marketo or Scarborough Info, take the time to subscribe to the Factbrowser newsletter. Do you think most experts and thought leaders ever stop learning? Absolutely not. Keep it up.
Tuesday: Edit and Edit again
We all make errors. Bloggers who’ve developed a dedicated readership have generally learned to catch grammar and spelling issues before hitting publish, or there’s a good chance they’ll be called out. And having to respond to a comment on your blog that points out grammatical errors is just embarassing.
If you’re the sole manager of your blog or you’re responsible for monitoring a group of contributors, set aside enough time each week to edit your content thoroughly. Social Media Strategist Natalie Contreras recommends against solely relying on spell check. Ensure the links are working in the content, and that you or your writers have taken the time to cite the right sources.
Wednesday: Read News Articles
Having your content referenced on a major news site like Huffington Post or New York Times doesn’t only create a high-authority link to your blog, it lends authority to your brand, and can send a surge of new readers.
Blogger and SEOMoz Associate Dan Shure recommends you spend a few minutes once a week reading news articles in your niche. You can really save time by editing your Google News settings or setting up alerts for key phrases in your industry. Notice what kinds of content and experts are being cited, and make an effort to emulate their expertise.
What are you trying to get out of blogging, anyway? If it’s higher organic ranking in major search engines, more leads and a healthier bottom line, you need to network. Set aside time each week to boost your blog’s visibility through personal connections. Can you participate in the #SMBiz Tweetchat every Tuesday night at 8pm? Is there a blog in your niche that you could write a guest post for? If you're committed to impoving your writing, you could likely benefit from a critique circle, forum or word challenges in the Write or Die app.
So, what are you writing about next Tuesday, anyway? If you’re not currently using a content calendar, it’s time to get started. There’s a lot of compelling reasons to plan your topics, keywords, formats and target buyer personas well in advance of publication, but realize it’s normal. Most print magazines have a good idea of what they’ll be publishing a full year in advance. Besides, did organization or preparation ever hurt anyone?
A full month’s content calendar typically takes me a little less than 2 hours - and that’s with keyword research and some very basic annotation. If you’re just dipping your toes into planning out your business blog and decide to do it on a weekly basis, you can expect to spend 30 minutes a week at the most. Is being able to provide your readers with more varied, interesting and relevant content worth that time commitment? I sure think so.
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How Do You Approach Spending Time Improving Your Blog Content?
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