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Monday, 21 July 2014

6 steps to fit blogging into your busy schedule

Running a business takes a lot of time, for many businesses writing blog posts can come way down their list of priorities. Which is a shame because creating interesting content for your website is so important to its success in search engines – so how can you streamline your blog writing process so it fits into your busy schedule?

1. Decide how often


Consistency is key. Decide how often you want to schedule blog posts, which day of the weeks and what time you want your blog posts to go out. Hubspot research showed that you’re likely to get more views, links and comments if you publish in the morning.

Once you’ve decided on your schedule you need to stick to it! Block out time in your calendar and be consistent with it.

If you can have a couple of back up articles on the ready then you'll have something to fall back on if you miss the odd deadline.

2. Always be on the lookout for ideas


Have somewhere to store your ideas. It’s hard to think up ideas on the spot so collect and jot down ideas through the week when they come to you. These could be questions that customers are always calling to ask, inspired by an interesting article you’ve read or a different spin of on article that’s done well on a competitors blog.

The key to a successful blog post is to create value for the reader. Every single blog post you write should help your reader in some way. Every single one.  Use this rule to judge if your article idea is a good one… or not.

You’ll end up with a bank of ideas to choose from when you come to putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard. Spend just 5-10 minutes choosing one of your ideas.

We’ve also written a whole blog post on blog post ideas here.

3. Start with an outline


First decide on your title, keep it under 65characters and make sure it’s compelling. There are some more tips on blog headlines here.

Next write your introduction, conclusion and list the points to include in the body of the blog post.
Your introduction should be clear and engaging; it should tell your reader why they need to read the post and what it will teach them.

Conclusions should be a simple summary of the main points from your post and include a call to action. Calls to actions are really important, if the reader has enjoyed your post you want to keep them on your website moving along the journey to becoming a customer. The call to action could link to a related product, webpage, or another relevant blog post.

4. Write


Now it's all about adding meat to the structure you have and since you’ve already decided what your points are you’ve already done the hard bit.

When you’re writing be sure to keep things simple. That means no jargon! Jargon only alienates readers, you want to reach out to them.

Keep your writing to the point, if you can say it in half the words then why don’t you? Longer content is only a good thing if it tells the reader more.

Back up what you say with stats or links to studies. This both substantiates what you’re saying and it tells the reader that you are well read on the subject.

5. Get someone else to proof and schedule it


There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, it’s really hard to spot your own typos because you know the article you’ve written too well. A fresh pair of eyes is needed.

Secondly, proofing, adding pictures and scheduling a blog post can take an extra 30 minutes – which is time you probably don’t have when you’re busy running a business. Getting a member of staff  to do this for you solves this problem.

6. Don’t forget to promote your content


If you’re a busy person, you want to see the largest return for every minute you spend on something.

Promoting your blog posts will not only get it in front of more people it will also make it more discoverable in search results. You can promote your blog posts by including a link from your newsletter, Tweeting it, putting it on Google+ and Facebook. Again, this is something you can delegate to one of your team. (We could actually write several articles on this... I'll add it to my list of blog post ideas!)

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So that’s it; decide how often, get your creative juices running with ideas, outline, write, get help proofing and promote your articles.

Hope we’ve made blogging sound a little less scary and a lot more manageable! It really is something that can benefit your businesses’ online presence tremendously so if you can crack the art of producing great content efficiently, you’re on to a winner.

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