Tag Archives: blogging tips

Business Blogging: Avoid These Sins

Neil Patel’s Eight Pet Peeves About Most Blogs

Happy with your business blog? If you’re not, check to see whether you’re committing any of Neil’s eight sins.

Here’s the most common “sin” I see, a lack of blog updates:

Unfortunately, an updated blog is an anomaly in today’s blogging world. When I see a blog that hasn’t been updated since Gerald Ford left office, I immediately wonder if the business is 1) legitimate, 2) competent, 3) successful, or 4) even in existence.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

60 Minute Blogger Fast-Start

Clients tell me: “I don’t have time to blog!” But what if you spent just ten minutes a day on your blog? 50 to 60 minutes a week is doable for most of us.

60 Minute Blogger Fast-Start

I wrote a series of blog posts on business blogging in 60 minutes a week a year ago. Let’s review ways in which you can become a blogger — even if you have no time to blog.

This process takes just ten minutes a day.

1. Ten minutes: how will you promote your blog?

Start by working out how you’ll promote your blog. You’ll go through this preparation each week, as you work out how to promote your blog post once you’ve written it.

Flip through the slide deck. Although it’s for people creating a new business blog, it gives you a quick overview of how to make a blog work harder for you.

2. Ten minutes: how many blog posts will you create this week?

Consider formats. In the original “60 minutes” article, I said:

Usually when I mention blog posts to a client, he thinks in terms of articles. That’s fine. However, if you’ve only got 60 minutes a week, you don’t need to spend that time writing just one article — or half an article, if you’re a slow writer.

Consider: photos, other images, short videos, MP3 interviews… If you’re posting MP3s, post transcriptions too. You can get transcriptions from providers at fiverr.com at a reasonable rate.

3. Twenty Minutes: outline and collect — batch-create

Here’s the original article: Schedule 20 minutes each week, to outline your blog posts, and collect resources for them.

Your resources might include:

* Images;

* Facts and figures;

* Quotes from customers;

* Marketing materials for inspiration.

Once you’ve collected your resources, make a list of topics you want to cover on the blog. Keep the list somewhere you’ll find it easy, so you can add to it when you get an idea. I keep my blogs’ topics lists in Simplenote.

Next, explore keywords.

Keyword Eye is still my favorite  free keyword tool.

free keyword tool

Keyword Eye is ideal for brainstorming quick blog post titles.

Create the posts after you’ve decided on the titles, and save the posts as drafts.  Add some quick notes to each blog post so that you won’t be staring at a blank editing screen when it’s time to write.

 4. Twenty minutes: write!

You’ve done your preparation, so the writing should go quickly.

Tip: focus on images. Images give you many ways in which to promote a blog post. If you have two images in a blog post, you can post at least twice on Pinterest (space out your postings.) You can also post a blog’s images to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, with a short commentary, and a link to the post.  

Over the past 12 months, I’ve discovered that images rule. I started posting about “image marketing” way back in 2012. In 2014, images are vital to draw attention.

So, there you have it. Your 60 minute blogger fast-start. Still think that you don’t have time to blog? :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

 

3 Blogging Tips for Startup Businesses

3 Blogging Tips for Startup Businesses

You’ve started a business, or you want to. Consider creating a blog. Your blog can help draw attention to you and your new business. Your blog also builds credibility; this is valuable as a long-term strategy.

The longer you’ve been blogging, the more people can learn about you and the way your business operates: it’s all there on your blog. And it’s your choice how transparent you’ll be. Buffer is completely transparent:

When we announced it, Joel, our co-founder, emailed everyone and said, “I truly believe that transparency breeds trust, that’s one of the key reasons for this adjustment.”

Consider the “pull” factor of your blog too. It’s inbound marketing, and helps to you to inform your customers:

A blog is the single best way to attract new visitors to your website. In order to get found by the right prospective customers, you must create educational content that speaks to them and answers their questions.

Before the Web came along, I ran a business. The customers had questions. Many, many questions. I spent my days on the phone. Of course, I couldn’t have imagined a blog in those days, but a blog would have cut my phone-time by 95 per cent.

I’ve been working with several entrepreneurs. Since I love blogging, the advice to “start a blog” comes naturally. Many kinds of businesses can benefit from blogs, especially small businesses. Your blog, combined with your social media presence, helps you to network.

These blogging tips work for start-ups, especially if you’re a one or two person operation at the moment, or if you’re working with a far-flung global team. Blogging is instant publishing. Potentially, your audience numbers in the millions. Your startup’s first customers may be in that audience.

1. Create Your Business Plan First.

Got a business plan? Create an informal one, if you haven’t done so already. The more you know about your goals, the better. Your plan will not only reveal what kind of image you want to project, but also who your customers will be. Create a SWOT analysis too. It will surprise you.

If you’ve never created a business plan, just answer the “Typical questions addressed by a business plan for a start up venture” in the Wikipedia article. If you decide you need funding, and want to create a formal plan at any stage, this rough plan will be a big help.

2. Decide on Your Blogging Persona, and a Choose a Couple of Audience Personas.

You need to decide who you’ll be as a blogger. What image will you project? Be yourself of course, but decide how much personal information you’ll share. If your blog’s all-business, you won’t be talking about your partner, or the movie you saw last night.

Choose a couple of audience personas too. These are the people for whom you’ll be creating content. Build a brief profile of your typical customer. If you want investors, build an investor profile too.

Here’s Hubspot on buyer personas:

Buyer personas are holistic ideals of what your customers are really like, inside and out. Personas encompass the goals, challenges, pain points, common objections to products and services, as well as personal and demographic information shared among all members of that particular customer type. Your personas are the people around whom your whole business is built.

Give each persona a name. I like to start persona profiles as if I’m talking about a real person: “Bill is 45 years old. He’s been married for 16 years. He has two teenage children…” etc.

When you’re crating content, you’re speaking directly to Bill, or to another persona you’ve created.

3. Your Blog Is Your Social Media Hub: Keep Content (Mainly) on Your Own Website.

Look on your blog as your startup’s marketing launchpad. Add your blog’s URL to your social media profiles. To repeat: add your blog’s URL to your social media profiles. This is vital. Before someone decides to follow you on Twitter, or circle you on Google+, they’ll check out your profile.

And speaking of Google+, join Google+, and visit your Google Dashboard occasionally, to keep track of your activities.

End of digression…. :-)

You’ll network on social media, but keep the bulk of your content on your website. When someone visits your website, they can read your content, and once your business has launched, they can do business with you. It makes sense to keep your good stuff where it will do you good, rather than sprinkled across the Web.

So there you have it.Three blogging tips for your new business. Good luck with your launch. :-)

3 Blogging Tips for Startup Businesses

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

5 Easy Blogging Tips to Help You to Blog on a Schedule

5 Easy Blogging Tips to Help You to Blog on a Schedule

Want to write lots of blog posts easily? You can. You just need a few tricks so that blogging is less a chore, and more fun.

I blog a LOT. Not only on my own blogs, but also for clients; blogging is a huge part of my writing week. It’s impossible to know whether I find blogging easy because I love it, or because I’ve managed to come up with lots of tricks over the years.

Let’s look at five easy blogging tips which will help you to blog consistently, and achieve your goals.

1. Collect Images to Inspire Your Creativity.

As I said in this post on outlining fiction:

Why start with an image? Because it’s less restrictive. It opens your imagination; words tend to close it.

When you’re looking for blog post ideas – and even if you already have ideas – images open up your creativity. And of course, these days, to promote your blog posts, you need strong images. (I’m finding that more and more of the traffic to blogs comes from social media sites like Pinterest and Twitter.)

blogging tip: collect images

Collect images you’ll use over the next month or two. Ideally, you’ll create two images per blog post. One an attention-getting image, and another to summarize the points in your blog post. Two images give you additional options for promotion.

2. Make a List of Topics to Cover Each Month.

Why are you blogging? You have goals for your business, and blogging can help you to meet your goals. Therefore, create a list of topics which tie in to whatever else you happen to be doing in your business.

Think about your customers too. What’s happening in their lives? Grab a calendar with national holidays.

3. Get Out of the Office: Brainstorm Blog Post Titles When You’re Relaxed.

You’re more creative when you’re relaxed. Get out of the office so that you can brainstorm some blog titles.

Consider: your goals for your blogging that week, the topics you want to cover, and the images you have – or that someone can create for you.

4. Batch-Write: Draft Five to Ten Posts.

Here’s why it’s so hard to start a blog post: inertia. Once you’ve written some quick notes under your blog titles, you’ve broken your inertia. When you get back to a post, your writing will be faster. It will improve too.

Jot lists and bullet points to get started on a post. You can refine and tidy up later, adding material. If you’re blogging on WordPress, try out the Drafts Dropdown plugin. Although it hasn’t been updated in a while, it works fine with current versions of WordPress.

5. Don’t Publish Immediately. Schedule.

Here’s the big secret to consistent publishing: drafting posts, and scheduling them. Once you’ve got a few posts drafted, and ready to polish, tackle them in batches again of two or three posts. Then schedule them to go out on the dates and times you choose.

Once you get into the habit of doing this, you’ll be able to relax. You’re no longer compelled to write because you need to publish today; you’ve got posts all lined up.

I hope these blogging tips help you to build your blog, and have fun doing it too.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

My 5 Best Blogging Tips After 15 Years of Instant Publishing

My 5 Best Blogging Tips After 15 Years of Instant Publishing

Everyone has blogging tips. After 15 years, so do I. I’m even more enthusiastic about blogging now than I was in the beginning. Truth to tell, when I started out as a blogger, I had no idea what I thought I was doing.

Other writers had opinions. The popular opinion was that I was a few sandwiches short of a picnic. “Write for free?!” Shock, horror and disbelief abounded. Yes, the generally derisive attitude towards blogging in those days was disturbing, but I wasn’t defensive. So blogging was weird; so what? I adored instant publishing then, as I do now. The idea that I could write something, and garner potentially millions of readers as soon as I hit Publish, thrills me.

Here’s what I’ve learned — in five blogging tips.  If you like, it’s what I wish I knew a decade and a half ago.

1. Be Yourself. You Can’t Be Anyone Else, and It’s Exhausting to Try.

You’re blogging for a reason – to promote your business, or a product, or a cause. (If you’re blogging for self-expression, you don’t need these tips. Let yourself go, and blog.)

Make a list of your goals. Most blog posts will include a Call to Action (CTA) to enable you to meet your goals. Beyond that, be yourself. The more you blog, the more traffic you will get.

Bloggers worry about how often then should blog. Mike Allton has the ultimate answer:

In order to finally answer this question, a business owner must first decide how much more traffic and leads they want. Using the data above, a business can look at what they’re getting from their website now, how much they want to improve, and quickly determine where they need to be with their blog campaign.

Blog as often as you can, and do the best you can on each blog post. Write the way you speak. Beyond that, don’t worry about it. I’ve written throw-away posts in 15 minutes which struck a nerve and got lots of responses. I’ve also slaved over blog posts which no one ever cared about – at least as far as I can tell.

2. Write Every Day. Some of That Writing Will Auto-Magically Turn Into Blog Posts.

I write every day. In my early years as a writer, I struggled with writing. Endlessly. I waited for inspiration… and waited. I waited to write books I wanted to write until I was a “better writer.” Finally, I gave up worrying about things I couldn’t control and wrote. I developed the writing habit, and a writing process which works for me, and my students.

If you say to yourself: “I’ll blog every day”, you’ll freeze. Just commit to writing something every day. Some of those snippets of writing will turn into blog posts. Use Evernote or OneNote to store your snippets. Then scan your snippets to see if they trigger anything when it’s time to write a blog post.

Create an editorial calendar, but don’t sweat it.

3. It’s Your Blog. Say What You Like (Be Kind!) Remember That You’re Responsible for Everything on Your Blog.

Some bloggers troll and write link bait. If that kind of thing appeals to you, ask yourself why. No, this isn’t a moral issue. To each his own. However, over the years I’ve come to appreciate Elwood P. Dowd’s philosophy:

Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

(If you haven’t watched the movie Harvey, go and watch it. James Stewart is wonderful in it.)

I recommend pleasant over smart, too. Be nice. You need other people, in this social media world. If you make trolling a habit, you’ll not only put off readers, you’ll alienate other bloggers.

4. Trust Yourself. If You Think It’s Important, It Is.

Trust yourself and your blogging. In 1999, I read blogs, and wanted to blog, but I couldn’t think of a reason. At the time, I was writing business books for Prentice Hall, taking care of my copywriting clients, and writing for magazines too. I was a busy writer. Why on earth would I want to take on unpaid writing?

Although I tried to talk myself out of it (others did too), I started a blog. I can’t remember what it was about. Nor do I remember the platform. Then I started a blog for a weekly ezine I wrote for creatives, Creative Small Biz. I liked it, and the ezine got subscribers via the blog. More blogging and blogs followed.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to blog, not even your own. If you’re inspired, blog. :-)

5. Be Interested. Enthusiasm Will Get You Everywhere You Want to Go.

Follow your passions. Yes, you’re blogging for a reason: to promote your business or whatever. You’ve got plenty of leeway inside your basic parameters. You can include your private life in your blog, or not, it’s up to you. As long as “cat” (irrelevant) posts don’t take over your blog, you can blog about anything you choose.

Of course, if you’re a lifestyle, or “mommy” blogger, you’ll blog about your insights with your life as your source material.

Whatever you choose to blog about, be passionate, and stay enthusiastic. Your enthusiasm will make blogging easy.

So, there you have it. My best tips after 15 years of blogging. Have fun with your blogging.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.