Blogging in 10 Minutes a Day
A website is an important business tool – it’s a way to present and sell your products or services and to connect with your prospects and customers.
In the earlier days of the web, business websites were relatively static: Organizations would put up a site and people would come and look at the site if they were interested in the product or service. If they weren’t interested, they wouldn’t look. It was like having a brochure of your services on your prospect’s coffee table.
But the web grew up. (That is: It grew up a little although no one is suggesting that it has matured; it’s still growing). Part of that evolution meant increased interactivity between the business and the customer. And, the business soon learned that one way to keep a customer coming back to their site – even when they weren’t actively shopping – was to offer fresh content. Additionally, fresh content helped to earn search engine love.
Enter blogs, stage right. Blogs are a way to create a web presence easily, connect with prospects and customers, and encourage them to think about your business even when they’re not shopping. Instead of a brochure on their coffee table, it’s like having a magazine on their coffee table – something that they’ll flip through from time to time (which subtly promotes you).
Businesses of all sizes are using blogs as a key customer-connection tool.
Blogging is a great way to connect and interact with customers without taking a lot of time in your day. As you blog regularly about engaging topics, your readership will build and you’ll enjoy more readers (and, subsequently, more clients). But it takes time and consistency.
So, how do you blog? And, how do you blog regularly in only 10 minutes a day?
First, you’ll need a blog. There are some free options out there, which are okay, but a business running a website on a free host may seem less legitimate to a customer than a business running a website with its own domain. So, for a relatively small sum of money, you can set up a hosted blog with your own custom domain. There are sites like GoDaddy.com or Register.com that sell domains and hosting and you just buy them and put them all together and build a site.
Creating a blog will take more than 10 minutes, but once you have one, you only need ten minutes a day to blog.
So, once you have your blog, here is how to become a blogging master in just 10 minutes a day.
Start with a plan. Think about the range of topics related to your business and industry that your prospects and customers would be interested in reading about. Make a big list.
Then, schedule 10 minutes a day to blog. Scheduling is an important factor because lots of blogs are started with great vision but die quickly because the blog owner neglected to maintain his or her blog. Regular writing is paramount.
“What do I write about?” is always a perennial question asked by new bloggers. One of the easiest things to do is to find someone else’s writing on your topic, link to it, and then give your opinion. Blogging can be informative and professional, but it is also successful when your personality shines through.
So, bookmark other blogs about your topic, follow people on Twitter who are talking about your topic, look in article distribution sites (just Google “free articles” to find them), subscribe to newsletters, read Google News and subscribe to Google Alerts (which is a free service where Google emails news articles to you on keywords you specify). Within a day or two of doing this, you should have plenty of material to choose from.
After you’ve created a list of sources, here’s what’s next: During your scheduled 10 minutes of blogging, sit down and scan some of the content you’ve received. Find something you can blog about and read it. Then either embed it in your blog or summarize it, depending on the copyright permissions. If you can embed it, do so (article distribution sites and many blogs and news agencies give you an option to do this with their content). If you can’t embed it, summarize it in a paragraph and reference it appropriately with a link.
Then, after you’ve either embedded the article or summarized it, give your opinion.
Here’s an example of something I read and summarized then added my opinion:
The Bloomberg article “General Motors Bondholders Clears Path to Bankruptcy says NYT” shows us just how dire things have become in the automotive industry. The article discusses what’s next for GM. The bottom line: It will be controlled by the US government (with others, like the Canadian government) buying in as well. My take? Not that long ago, everyone would have loved to see more privatization of business. I would have been right there with them. Today, that cry for privatization is softened because of the wheezing and sputtering of the largest industry in North America. No one wants to think about what life would be like if it does collapse. But I wonder: If the government own GM and it is elected by the people, does that mean we own GM? Next time I’m shopping for a new car, I’m going to tell the salesperson that I’m a part-owner of the company and see if I get a discount.
One paragraph summarizing the article. One paragraph of your opinion. Hit “post” and repeat tomorrow. If you stay current on your industry anyway, it will probably take you less than 10 minutes.
Of course, you won’t always want to do this. It’s nice to build up a bank of articles that will publish while you’re busy or on vacation. Many blogging systems will allow you to pre-write and schedule blog posts. So, although most of your blogs are going to be fresh and “newsy”, think about some ongoing “evergreen” topics that you can write about. Here are some ideas you might consider:
- Book reviews. Find a book you enjoyed, write a review, link to it on Amazon.com, and schedule the blog for the future.
- Featured clients. If appropriate, write a brief blurb about your client and link to their site.
- Highlight special days. Write blogs about all the big days of the year – Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., and don’t forget about important days in your business’ calendar.
You can probably think of others that fit in this list, too. One colleague of mine keeps 4 lists:
1. A series of topics he can write about for the entire year, including book reviews and client testimonials.
2. A series of topics that he can schedule for the next quarter. These are “bigger picture” content that won’t change much. For example, he might include industry analysis.
3. A series of topics that he can schedule for the month. This includes content about clients and market trends.
4. And lastly, a series of fresh and news-related topics that he can draw from daily (as I’ve outlined above).
With this material planned and pre-written, he can walk away from his blog for a couple of weeks and it will still post daily. In fact, he has material that will post automatically 2 or 3 times a weekly for the next 12 months. Of course, he’s not going to walk away from his blog for 12 months (and you shouldn’t either) but having some buffer blogs, and timeless articles “seeded” through your publishing calendar are helpful for those busy times.
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