As the owner and director of a small business, I am very well acquainted with the difficulties of trying to maintain a consistent and well-managed online marketing campaign. The creation of fresh, interesting and relevant content can be very difficult indeed for small businesses to achieve on an on-going basis. It requires a lot time and energy – time and energy that can be hard to find in the packed schedule of a managing a small business in a difficult economy.
My own blogging efforts have me writing, editing and posting on three primary outlets every month: liamdempsey.com, my company website and chickenmonkeydog. In addition to those sites, I post periodically on other blogs including Brainshark’s Ideas Blog and The Governance Partnership’s AOB (Any Other Blog). This list does not consider the posts that I write on monthly basis for clients. So, yes, I get it: it’s not easy to allocate resources to developing a convincing and valuable online marketing presence.
Here’s a short list of tips that I use to help keep me on track. (Confession: there are times that I fail to meet my own marketing targets. I admit that. It’s not easy to always stay on track.)
1. Plan, plan, plan
I cannot say this enough: strategic planning is key to a successful inbound marketing campaign. Knowing in advance what needs to be done and when makes it so much easier to ensure that there is sufficient time, resources and ideas for blogging. I review and update my own online marketing strategy every six months.
2. Keep an ideas list
Ideas for great blog posts pop into my head all the time. “Oh, there’s a blog post in here …” is a little phrase that regularly runs through my head. If I don’t take a minute to jot that thought down, I’m likely to lose it. I store my ideas list for blog content in Evernote. I can’t tell you how many times that list has proved hugely valuable to my blogging efforts.
3. Develop a method for writing
Those who write for a living tell us over and over: have a system for writing so that when the writing gets tough, the writing still gets done. For me, blog posts always start on paper. Generally, it’s bullet points in my work notebook. I’ll work through that outline to the point where I have a detailed picture of the complete post in my head. Then it’s onto the computer. I write directly in WordPress, or in Inbound Writer. I complete a draft, leave it for a day or so (or at least for a few hours), then edit and publish.
4. Carry a camera at all times
Have you ever seen a sign, a product or a landscape that captures that exact point you’ve been trying to drive home with a client for what seems weeks? Yeah, me too. With increasingly more powerful smart phones and point-and-shoot camera prices dropping like rocks, it’s now easier than ever to always carry a camera. Take a moment to stop and snap that picture. Capture that message. Photograph that moment. It could make that blog post we’ve so been wanting to publish.
5. Get back on the horse
I admitted it earlier in this post: Sometimes I fail to meet my own blogging targets. That’s life in the small business lane. Yet, I’ve learned that the sooner I force myself to get back on the blogging horse, the sooner my inbound marketing efforts will get back on track and delivering returns.