One of my highly successful friends, who also happens to be a small business owner, sighed with weariness to me the other day, “I just can’t do it all.” After consistently publishing 1-2 blog posts per week for six months, she ran out of steam, both in terms of time and topics. “I’m taking a break. There’s too much other stuff going on right now. Isn’t there ever an end? Are you sure I need to blog ad infinitum?”
Personally, I marveled at her ability to keep a blog going that long. Unless you have a team of contributors, how is any small business owner supposed to keep up with the production of content if it’s not part of her job? As a veterinary oncologist, she is already busy seeing patients, following up with patients, and managing a small staff, not to mention the myriad administrative tasks and pressures of running a business. Where is she supposed to find time to write a blog?
It’s a valid question. Has the past six months of blog writing served her well? Has she seen an uptick in web traffic or in client referrals? Has she even had time to look at her blog stats and analyze them to learn anything about who’s reading the blog and whether their needs have been fulfilled?
So I’ve done a little research to help my friend out and try to re-inspire her. Because it IS important for her to have a digital inbound marketing strategy. Below are my top five recommendations for invigorating her blogging – and why she should stay the course the best she can.
1. Look at your blog stats. Either you’ll find that the blog is working and it is worth your time or you’ll start to identify the areas where you might be able to make improvements. To help you figure out what you should be looking for, take a look at this SlideShare that analyzes a variety of posts and compares which ones are the most popular. Once you start looking at your stats, I guarantee your curiosity will be piqued. “Hmmm…I wonder why that post did so well, maybe I should write more like that…” See, I’ve got you thinking already.
2. Create an editorial calendar. Many of the sources I consulted suggested this, and at first glance, I thought, “Duh, of course.” While this might seem like an obvious step to fellow content marketers, for a small business owner who has spent her career specializing in a completely different discipline, there’s no reason why she would know what an editorial calendar is, much less how it can be helpful.
In addition to keeping track of content, I like to use an editorial calendar because it provides a visual representation of topics, making it easier to see connections between blog posts as well as gaps in topics. The Content Marketing Institute has generously shared their templates. Here’s an example:
More importantly, it can also help you get clear about how often you post. Once you overlay your schedule with your editorial calendar, it might help you set more realistic expectations about how often you can create posts. For professional bloggers it makes sense for them to create posts every day, but for a small business owner with a multitude of competing priorities, it may be more important to set a schedule and stick to it in order to create an audience that anticipates your blog posts.
3. Set realistic goals and a pace for posting. In this fast-paced word of social media, it’s easy to feel like you’re always behind. This makes it even more important to remember: you don’t have to do it all. Find a format that works for your industry and build an audience.
4. Remind yourself why you wanted to do a blog in the first place. Clarifying your purpose may serve to re-inspire you. Consider these questions: who is the audience and what are their needs? Based on review of your blog stats (see #1 above), what topics and types of posts is the audience most interested in? Does your original purpose still apply?
5. Know and apply SEO basics so your hard work gets discovered. SEO often comes off as intimidating and can be without proper coaching. So get the basics down and seek out a good coach when you get in over your head. If you’re on WordPress, here’s a great resource to begin your quest for SEO supremacy … SEO For WordPress: Getting the Basics Right. If you need help, consider our SEO team of choice Digital C4 for consulting on the issue.
And don’t forget that there is no crime in taking a break. Go ahead. The world won’t end because you don’t publish a blog. However, it’s a smart idea to set an end date for your break, or you might not ever go back.
For more fabulous ideas about how to get over blog burnout, check out this post by SlideShare: “30 Ways to Avoid Blogger Burnout and Get Ideas for Your Blog.” It’s jam-packed with good ideas that will help you come up with posts anytime you’re stuck.