content lessons from publishing 100 blogs
One of the best days of my life was when my longest-standing client and I published our 100th blog together. First and foremost, this was a team effort. Every one of those posts was reviewed and edited by my PIC (partner in crime) on the team, most have had the input of the company VP, and many included collaboration from various departments and specialists within (and sometimes outside of) the organization. It’s the literal definition of teamwork making the dream work. But, as the consultant ultimately responsible for maintaining the production, I’ve learned some amazing things from the process that I’m hoping you all can use to make your content marketing strategies stronger to infinity, and beyond!
[PROTIP: TRUST ME ON THIS, YOU WANT TO READ TO THE END WHERE I SHARE MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BLOGGING TIP OF ALL TIME]
There’s a very important place to begin.
And it’s at the beginning. Look, I guarantee you that this blog is not going to be 100% marketing fluff, and this might seem extra-strength cheesy for all of my business owners out there who just want to get the info you need and move on with lifeeeee. Hear me out: if you are boss enough to run a business and picky enough to make it amazing, odds are you’re a perfectionist who won’t settle for less than the best.
But as that super smarty pants Voiltaire says,
“Perfect is the enemy of the good!”
So just start. When I look back at the first few blogs, they were pretty “meh” compared to the plethora of technology goodness we’re posting now. But we never would have gotten to this place without the processes and information we gathered by just starting the freaking thing. We’ve refined, we’ve experimented and we’ve mistaked and we’ve improved.
The ultimate reality is that whether you’re blogging to:
- Improve your SEO ranking or drive traffic to your website
- Give your target market valuable content they need
- Demonstrate your authority or expertise to your target market
- Contribute to your sales funnel
- All of the above
…it looks a LOT better to have 100 less-than-perfect-but-pretty-freaking-good blogs than 2 amazing blogs + 1 you’re going to publish as soon as you have time to write and edit and format it. Pinky swear this is the truth. Cheat code: You can get a lot more traction by working with someone who has the experience (and honestly has made enough mistakes) to know exactly what she’s doing and help you put together a process to expedite results. Just sayin’.
You’re cool breaking the rules, right?
Because I’m about to break one of my golden, unbreakable and constant rules: strategy is the only time we get to start by talking about you. 99.999999999999% of the time, my job (and ultimately yours) is to determine what your customer wants and needs and deliver that value to them. BUT in order for us to decide how you’re going to do that with a blog, we need to know: what do YOU want to get out of it? Think about it. I’ll give you some ideas to get started.
Find New Customers
- Increase your search engine rankings with frequently published relevant and keyword rich posts
- Provide a source of value and information for people you would like to work with someday
- Contribute to a part of the buyer’s journey as a part of a sales funnel
- Maintain top-of-mind awareness with frequency and consistency
Be Valuable to Current Customers
- Answer FAQs and helpful hints so they get the most out of your product/service
- Provide a platform for relevant brands outside of your own
- Post additional content that they can use to meet the goals that align with your business
Become an Authority in Your Field
- Post frequently (and quickly) about industry trends and news
- Demonstrate your vast wealth of knowledge and tell stories your customers can relate to
- Invite other thought leaders to join you
Making this decision before you write a single word is everything because it informs your overall strategy, production schedule, communication about new posts and the format of the information you write about, so it’s super important to figure this stuff out first.
But will anyone read the stupid thing?
That felt weird for a second, but I’m back to being all about the customer. And to answer your question, I actually have no freaking idea if anyone will read your blog. I can promise you they won’t read a blog that you don’t write. But there are also 4 million blogs published every. single. day. Let that sink in for a sec: 4 million blogs are published daily, so how on earth will you make yours stand out?
Here’s my formula:
Headline + content + promo = viewers.
Think of your headline as a giant STOP SIGN that makes your viewer stop and pay attention
I actually don’t care which reason you choose for one of those reasons – no matter what, your content has got to include value. Period. Write about something that matters to your target market and they will follow. One simple trick is to think “what problem can I solve for my customers today?” before putting pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard. Or nose to meatball. You do you, boo.
(Side note: it’s way better to have 60 readers who religiously engage with your content than 6,000 subscribers who delete your email the second it comes into their inbox).
I’m seriously embarrassed to admit this, but it took us a couple of YEARS before we created an automatic blog update email with my hundred-blogs client. I will never make that mistake again. You need a promo system that’s a part of your larger sales funnel/marketing strategy to get this sucker in front of who needs to see it.
My super-secret trick
I REALLY wish I knew this 100 blogs ago. Are you ready for this jelly? Here it is: give the people what they want. No, really. Give your readers info they need. “But Becky,” you say, “you already told me that. You’re smart and everything, but that’s old news.” Well, astute reader, allow me to elaborate on the best process for providing your customers with what they need.
Step 1: Open a new Google browser and DO NOT DIRECTLY GO TO FACEBOOK.
Step 2: Start to type in a subject, topic or phrase that is relevant to your business AND your customer
Step 3: Use the Google autocomplete function give you the direction you need to take in your piece.
The Google autocomplete is based on the top searches around the world on any given subject, so this is by far the easiest way to determine what your audience wants to see. It can inform your headlines, the outline for your blog and the keywords you enter on the back end.
Note: if the top Google search in the world is that “Foo Fighters is not the best band of all time” and you are not a monster and therefore vehemently disagree with this statement, I’m not saying that you need to change your stance. But you do know how to phrase your post for maximum exposure:
“Foo Fighters Is Not the Best Band of All Time and Other Lies You Want to Stop Believing Now!”
Leave me a comment below and tell me: what is the most challenging part of starting/maintaining a blog for your business? One owner to another, I get it.