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Once upon a time, in an Italian garden far, far away…. a very thirsty Crow spies a pitcher of water on a round wooden table in the shade of the garden. Happily, she lands, and hops over to the pitcher. She tries to sip the water, but her beak cannot reach the water. The pitcher is too small for her beak.

She’s so thirsty…  Crow sits and thinks for a minute. She tries again and again. But she cannot reach the cool water. And her thirst is getting worse. The water is so close…. She’s getting a little cranky because she can’t reach the water. And cranky crows are very unpleasant creatures.

She sits and thinks again.

Taking a break she looks around. She sees lots of stones and pebbles in the courtyard. An idea hits her.  She starts hopping around to gather the pebbles and rocks. Then, she drops them one by one into the pitcher. She tries again to drink.  The water isn’t high enough yet.

Hmm.  Some progress, but not enough. She adds more pebbles and rocks.  The water slowly rises. Finally, the water is a the top. She’s able to drink. Ahhh…wonderful relief.

The moral? Bit by bit, Crow figures out her problem, and with persistence, she solves it.

And so it is with blogging  

One of the most valuable (and inexpensive) marketing strategies is your blog.  It helps showcase you as being an authentic expert.  It shows you care about your customers and how willing you are to help them.

It’s filled to the brim with opportunities.

But, here’s the reality. 

Most people don’t figure out how to succeed with blogs. Blogs are part of everyday social media. Developing influential blogs that reach your customers takes persistence.

Too many business owners get distracted by managing their business. Somethings fall to the side of the desk, and sometimes right off it. Blogs are often the first to fall.

If you’re hoping to use blogs as part of your marketing strategy for lead generation and engagement you need to be reliable and consistent.

First problem – neglect

There’s something very sad about a neglected blog.  It shouts out to browsers and searchers that you’re not really interested, or you don’t care.

Maybe that’s not fair.

There’s lots of reasons why blogs end up being abandoned. Perhaps you’ve:

  • overestimated the time commitment required to publish good content reliably
  • hit overwhelm and just don’t know what to write about anymore
  • discovered you just don’t enjoy blogging  

But search engines and customers don’t know that. They simply click on something only to discover the last post was months or weeks ago.  The result, future customers walk away.

What can you do?

Develop a writing calendar. It’s often called a content calendar.

Try to do a for plan 3-6 months in advance. All you need to do is identify your subject, tentative headline, and purpose. Then decide on how often you’re going to publish and be consistent.

Finally, include where you’re going to publish Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snap Chat, Reddit, Medium or other platforms.

You can decide where to publish because you know what social media your customers enjoy using.

If you create your content calendar (take a couple of hours to do this ) and it helps you avoid the “what now?” thinking.

Second problem – too big or too small?

Are you writing too little or too much?  How long should a blog be?

Well, here’s interesting data collected by Optinmonster for you to consider:

“HubSpot’s research indicates that blog post titles with 6-13 words get the most traffic. And Orbit Media suggests that the average blog post is 1142 words long. ” And further on, Optinmonster reports that research by OKDork shows “the posts that get the most shares are more than 3,000 words long.” “(Optinmonster Jan 2020)

This translates into a few thousand words written every week of the year.  

As part of your planning, you need to figure out how much time your need to write a 1200-word blog. And, remember to factor in editing and research time. 

You might choose to start with shorter blogs (800 words) to get your creative brain working. You can gradually work up to 3,000 words.  You can mix it up a little.

Remember, one of the biggest reasons blogs fail is the business owners underestimate the time needed to write and maintain them.

Best second tip: start small and maybe just post one blog a week until you get in the habit.  Aim to do this consistently (weekly).  Then, as the habit forms and as you get stronger (and quicker) in your writing skills, you might start writing weekly two blogs. Consistency, though, is the secret to success.

Third problem – boring

The other problem many bloggers face is content creation.  It takes a lot of content ideas to build a successful blog.

“Optinmonster (Jan 2020) highlights research from Zazzle Media revealing that 60% of people find it hard to produce content consistently.”

OK. Now you know you’re not alone in this quest!  A key point to remember, is your blog is providing your customers with something they need. It’s not all about you. It’s about them.

Sometimes it’s hard to find that line between talking about how you help the customer rather than simply helping the customer.

For example, can you remember a time in your own life when you were looking for information? Did you want to know everything about the business and the owner, or did you just want reliable useful information? 

People want answers to problems. Write your blog to help your clients solve problems.

Here are a couple of ideas of where you can find content:

  • Check out what questions your customers are asking.  Then, write a blog to answer one question and help your customers solve a problem
  • Talk to your customers and ask them what they want to know – then, provide it. While surveys float in and out of popularity, they can be a simple way to get answers to your questions.
  • Offer relevant background information that can help educate your customers in an arm and helpful tone
  • Look at your competitors and examine their content. Do you notice common themes, are there trending issues?  Use your competition to inspire (not copy) your content
  • Celebrate something! People like reading about success. You can integrate a case study or testimonial into a blog showing how someone solved a problem

Are blogs worth the work?

Ultimately, this is a decision you make. 

What kind of value can you potentially reap from developing a strong blogging and blogging routine?

Here’s two statistics from November 2019, thanks to research from blogger Ryan Robinson (with his comments included) for you to consider:

“71% of B2B buyers consume blog content during their buyer journey. (Demand Gen) Blogging is no longer simple a top of the funnel inbound marketing strategy. When properly utilized, you can put blogging to work in the middle and at the end of your sales funnel, to help answer critical questions, reinforce credibility and guide your prospects into sealing the deal.

“Companies that publish 16 or more blog posts per month generate 4.5X more leads than those that publish 4 posts (or less). (HubSpot) That means you’ll need to regularly come up with compelling, clever and engaging blog post ideas that still relate back to the overall mission of attracting readers who can eventually convert into becoming email subscribers and potential customers for your business.”

If you’re just getting started it worthwhile to work on your blogs from the beginning. If it’s time to refresh and reboot, it’s a good time to start the process. 

It’s never too late to start.  

Wrapping it up…

Blogs are almost a magical key to connecting to customers.

Great blogging skills help you stay connected to existing customers and to the ones you’ve not met – yet!

To do well, blogs will take time.  If you’re not used to writing every day or writing in conversational and persuasive language, it might feel overwhelming in the beginning.  Be realistic, unless you have a writing team, it will be quite challenging to write 16 or more blog posts a month (see Hubspot above).

Business who accomplish this have copywriters on a team, nd that what they do.

Be practical in what you can manage on your own.  It’s easier to start small (and be consistent) and gradually expand, than it is to go nuts in the first two weeks and then fade away.

The biggest secret to successful blog s it needs to become a constant helpful resource to your customers.

And, the best common-sense advice at the end of this? If you’re not sure about how much time you can manage for this, it’s a great idea to check in with a freelance copywriter.

Talk them about what you need and see how they can help you succeed!

Ms Charron is a certified copywriter with more than 35 years experience in a variety of industries. She’s a copywriter focused on remembering the human heart in advertising and enjoys working in self-improvement and personal growth.

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