The one word that I keep reading over and over again when it comes to marketing is consistency. In order to grow a successful online business, you need to show up. Every day.
It isn’t enough to post a little something here, share about your product over there and add a few new listings. Your audience needs to get to know you. They need to see you and your products. Often.
Writing a business blog is one of the most effective marketing tools that you have. But, like every other marketing strategy, it’s only grows you shop if you show up.
I know you’re busy. I get it. And writing another blog post might not be your top priority this week. Or even next.
So, you skip a week. Your audience probably won’t notice. And then you skip another and another.
By the time you return to your business blog, it’s been awhile. Your audience is now tuned out and doesn’t really remember who you are or what you sell.
If you choose to write a blog for your business as a marketing strategy, you need to show up. A couple of articles sitting stagnant on your website isn’t really a blog. It’s just some pieces of writing that may or may not continue to drive traffic to your business.
After spending many years blogging, I’ve found the hardest part is creating great content consistently. It’s not always easy deciding what to write about, writing the post, taking or collecting photos and hitting publish.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget the SEO, social media shares and letting your audience know about the post in your weekly newsletter.
But the best part about blogging is that once you hit publish, your blog enters the Internet. It’s there for all to read (if they can find it). And it never goes away (unless you delete it and even then, I’m not so sure it completely disappears).
Unlike a social media post that lasts a few seconds in your feed or an email that may or may not reach your readers’ inbox, your blog post is something they can always go back to. It is a wonderful investment of your time and energy.
For a business blog, there’s no exact number of posts you need to publish each month. I usually recommend aiming to post weekly if possible. You’ll find faster results for driving more traffic and you’ll have more content to work with.
But if you can only post quality content once a month, then try for that. It’s better to have one amazing post that interests potential customers each month than four average ones.
The most important part about posting on your business blog is being consistent on when you publish. No matter how many times you choose to write, select the same day of the week and time. Your audience (and Google) will know when to look out for new content.
But how do you find the time in between all of your other business tasks to write a blog post? Here are some ideas to figure out how to blog consistently for your business.
Setting Aside Time Everyday
Writing is one of those things that improves over time. Many writers, such as Nathan Berry, find that setting a word goal every day helps keep their writing on track.
I’m not as much into setting word goals myself. I find it a bit stressful. Probably because the amount of time I have to dedicate to writing varies each day.
I work better with a blog post goal. I know I need to write three blog posts a week – two for this blog and one for my shop’s blog. So, I set aside two hours every morning for writing to get those posts completed.
I’ve been doing this writing regimen for almost a year now and have found my writing quality has improved. More importantly my speed is a lot faster. I can write exponentially more words in the allotted time than when I started.
If you’re trying to blog consistently, I think the biggest impact to your success is to set aside writing time every day. Include writing in your morning routine, during naptime, lunch break at work or even time after the kids are in bed.
Even if you can only write for 10 to 15 minutes, these short writing bursts add up. Before you know it, you’ve completed a blog post.
Batching your Writing Tasks
Although it helps to write a little bit every day to improve your writing, you might find that batching your writing tasks helps you blog consistently.
If you have a morning during the week or full day a month, you might find more success in batching your writing tasks. Batching let’s your brain focus on one task at a time. This makes you more productive to getting your tasks done.
You can batch your writing tasks in lots of different ways. One idea is to write four blog posts in a morning or spend an afternoon editing your blog posts.
To create a batching schedule, make a list of all the different types of tasks that you need to do to get your business blog posts ready for publishing. Then, assign one set of tasks to each time you have to work.
For example, if you have Friday mornings to work on your business blog, you could write your blog posts on the first Friday, edit on the second, add photos on the third and create social media graphics on the fourth. By the end of the month, you would have completed four blog posts to publish the following month. It’s very efficient way to get tasks done.
Since I enjoy writing every day, this isn’t a task that I like to batch. I find that when I do batch my writing, my posts start to sound the same after awhile.
I do use time batching, though, for my other writing tasks. One morning I’ll spend creating Pinterest images and another morning is focused on editing my posts. You can find more details on using time batching for your business here.
Keeping a List of Ideas
One of the things that holds many business owners back from starting a blog is that they lack ideas of what to write.
It’s kind of funny because when I talk to them about their business blogs, they actually have plenty of ideas. But they don’t write them down. When they sit down to plan their blog posts, there’s only crickets. Nothing comes to them, so instead they abandon ship.
Don’t let this happen to you. Keep a running blog post ideas journal where you write all of your blog post ideas down. If you find that many of your ideas comes to you when you’re on the road, keep a document in Evernote or another note taking app. Then you always have a place to write your wonderful ideas and are ready to plan your next blog post.
Setting a Schedule
Even business owners that have the best intentions to blog, find their efforts thwarted if they don’t have a schedule to follow. A blogging schedule helps you know what to write next and plan upcoming posts.
Remember all of those wonderful blog post ideas that you wrote down on your list. Review them and decide which ones fit best with your current marketing plan.
Choose blog posts that fit the upcoming season, products that you’re introducing to your shop or ones that you hope to increase traffic to. You can find more business blog post ideas here.
After you decide what you want to write, add the posts to your blogging calendar. Although everyone likes to make their blogging schedules differently, I find creating my blogging calendar at the beginning of the quarter helpful. I usually schedule 3 to 4 months of blog posts at a time. I can then use my time efficiently to write instead of worrying about the content I’m going to write next.
Hire a Freelancer
As all business owners know, there’s always some tasks that you don’t like to do. For me, I hate web designing. I don’t understand much html code and don’t really want to take the time to learn it.
For you, there might be things about the blogging process that you don’t like doing. It could be writing, planning posts, SEO optimization, making Pinterest images or infographics.
As you write more business blog posts, you’ll start recognizing which tasks take too much time or you hate doing. Consider hiring a VA or freelancer to help with these tasks. They are specialized experts who can get the stuff you don’t want to do done a lot faster.
No matter what, don’t feel like you have to do it all. Remember, in order to grow you need to spend time working on your business not in your business. Focus your hours on tasks come naturally and produce more sales. Leave everything else to experts that can help.
Solicit Guest Posts
Sometimes it’s hard to get a blog post up consistently for lots of reasons. Life is full, right? It might be because of family commitments, lack of interest or just being busy with your business.
If this is you or you see a season coming when you won’t be able to post consistently, consider asking others in your business and blogging communities to write a guest post for you.
A guest post is a win win for both you and the guest blogger. You get a variety of content to post on your blog. The guest blogger reaches a whole new audience and gains followers. And most importantly receives back links, which improve your ranking in Google.
Having others guest post on your blog also helps you build relationships with other bloggers. These relationships can help grow your business in other ways in the future.
To find bloggers to guest post, make an announcement on your blog, social media or even Facebook Groups you participate in. Have an application process to make sure that the other blogger creates quality content and has ideas that relate to your niche. You’d hate to bring your blog down with not so great writing or topics that are completely different than what your audience is looking for.
Make it a Priority
As with many marketing strategies, they tend to fall by the wayside after awhile if you aren’t consistent with them.
The most important thing to remember with any marketing strategy that you use for your business… you have to show up. Every day. Or potential customers – who have short attention spans – forget about you.
So, make blogging for your business a priority. It is a marketing strategy. Use some of the time you set aside for marketing to blog for your business. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to write a blog post when you make it a priority and give yourself the time you need.
Find a Quiet Corner
If writing for your business isn’t your favorite thing to do, maybe it’s your surroundings. Many people write best when they aren’t in the office. I remember during my first consulting job. There was a distinct difference in the quality of the writing I completed in the office and the writing that I did at home. My writing at home was so much stronger. Mainly because I wasn’t interrupted by my colleagues every few minutes.
If you find yourself avoiding writing, change something up. Create a quiet corner in your home or office to work. Or take your work outside.
I love writing sitting in our Adirondack chairs in the backyard. You can even go to your local coffee shop if you enjoy a noisier environment. I usually use that as a treat for actually getting my blog post writing done.
Get a Writing Buddy
When I attempted to write my first children’s book many years ago, my writing coach suggested that I find a writing buddy to keep me accountable. Writing is one of those activities that you have to do every day to improve. But it’s also something that you tend to avoid if it isn’t a priority.
A writing buddy is someone, usually a friend, who also has writing goals. It can be someone who lives locally or far away.
The purpose of having a writing buddy is that you encourage each other with your writing. You might do daily check ins, share your work for editing or get together once a month to talk about your progress.
You’re more likely to finish your writing tasks when you have someone to hold you accountable.
To find a writing buddy, talk to your other business friends, join a writer’s club (our co-working site offers one every month and it’s great place to meet other people) or check your Facebook Groups. You’d be surprised how many others want someone to keep them on track.
Studies show that business blogs are one of the most highly effective content marketing tools today. It’s one of the best ways to grow your audience and build trust with them.
But blogging is only effective if you create fresh content. Regularly.
The problem with owning an online shop is that you’re busy with many different tasks each day. It’s hard to find the time to do everything.
If you haven’t started writing yet or are ready to jumpstart the process again, start small. Aim for one or two posts a month. Warm your audience back up and remind them that you’re there.
Keep a list of blog post ideas, use a blogging schedule and make writing a priority. And if you find it hard to blog consistently, find a writing buddy. It always helps to have someone you’re accountable to.
Remember, that blogging for your business is a marathon. Depending on your business niche, you might not see immediate results.
Don’t give up on this marketing tool too soon. I hear a lot of frustrated shop owners tell me it’s not working after a few months. And they’re right, it probably isn’t.
Your business blog will take time to grow. A lot of time. Commit to the long game, show up to bat regularly and you’ll hit your business growth out of the park.