Do you have a fear of blogging? It may seem like an odd question. I meet with clients regularly and discuss the benefits of sharing their great stories through blogging and the reaction I get is not very encouraging. It's either "I don't know what to write", "I don't have time", or "Who's going to read it". As we dive into these thoughts, it tends to boil down to one single theme, their fear of blogging. I get it. It may surprise you to learn that it happens to me from time to time. I utter the same words.
This year, I had the privilege of working with the volunteers for the JoomlaDay Chicago event held August 9th at the Microsoft Technology Center in the AON Center building in downtown Chicago. It was also my first time attending. Going into the event I didn’t know what to expect and I have to admit I was a little awestruck. I have been using Joomla for many years and a lot of the speakers and guests were names I’ve seen over and over on whitepapers, articles, extensions, etc. To see them in-person was a little surreal.
Ok, so I tried out a bit of alliteration with the title. Creating content for your blog can sometimes leaving you blank. Often the issue is not that you don’t have anything to say, it just when you sit down to say it, the words don’t come. I see this with my clients with telltale signs of blank stares, phone silence or unanswered requests for content.
Here are my 5 tips for beating blog block:
1.) Embrace it
You’re stuck trying to string words together to create coherent sentences. Just stop. Write down any words that come to mind, it could be your to do list, grocery list, random movie quotes. Write down how you feel at that moment. Pick a letter on the keyboard and hold it down to fill the page. The point is to lessen the pressure to create a perfect post and just start writing and get out of your head.
You probably have trade journals/magazines, newspaper (digital or otherwise), gossip sites/magazines that you enjoy reading. Read an article or two, write down your thoughts or do a review. If it happens to relate to your industry or business, perfect. Now edit and post. If not, then it was a great exercise for your writing chops.
3.) Update Content Map
You may call it a Content Calendar, Editorial Calendar or Social Media Marketing plan. Whatever the name is, the purpose of it is to provide a roadmap for developing your content. Look it over. When you put it together the topic, timing and tags made sense to you. Do they still? Are there new topics you’d like to add? Change it, the content map is meant to be a “living” document.
One “trick” I use with my clients is just get them talking, about anything and everything. During a lunch meeting where we chatted about their family, their work, their hobbies, we came up with several “easy” topics for them to write about related to their business and customers. Sometimes the mere act of verbalization spurs ideas.
Share an anecdote, funny quote, or image. If something made you laugh, got you thinking or was perplexing. Share it along with why you felt the way you did. Others probably had a similar experience. You know what I’m talking about. How many times have you seen a funny image that someone else has shared and found yourself chuckling. Pass it along.
These are a few I use, there are many more out there. What works for you?
You haven’t updated Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/<insert social media channel here> since the day you opened the account
You have a blog but haven't updated in several months
You didn’t know that updates could be scheduled
Your eyes glaze over looking at your social analytics
If any of those statements resonate with you, then it’s time for a social media manager for your organization.
Today, it’s widely accepted that to be in business means to be engaged in social media. From brand awareness and marketing promotions to community involvement and customer support, social media can be some or all of these things for you. Having someone who helps define the goals, oversees the content, monitors the social media channels, and helps determine which channel(s) are best for your brand, is no longer a luxury.
So, I have to admit this post is a little out of the norm. I saw something a little geeky that I just have share. I ran across an article about the new words being added to Oxford Dictionary Online for the month of August and I was a little surprised. From what I understand typically only a few words are added each month but this time more than 60 were added and they were very techie.
Words like bitcoin, selfie and phablet were defined in Oxford Dictionary Online. I embarrassingly admit how happy I am to see a bunch a new terms added both so that I can send beloved friends and family to a dictionary the next time they ask me to define a tech term but also new words for my word games - competitors look out!
I may be showing my age but do you remember "video killed the radio star" back from the early days of MTV? Back then they played music videos all day? Nowadays many websites have videos embedded on their landing page, should yours? There are several schools of thought on this as more and more content marketing is going "video".
I love reading Seth Godin. The powerful simplicity of the message in the entertaining package. I've read a number of Godin books savoring each word. My favorite still today is The Purple Cow. I've read many others but I still come back to that one. I am sorry that I missed the webinar but thankful for the recap.
Today, there is no shortage of ways to create a website, it's almost like getting fries with your sandwich at your favorite restaurant it just comes on the plate. Everywhere you look there is a free website attached. The problem with that is, what you do with it once you get it. A client said to me once that they built their own site but was stuck on the content. Looking around the web I've seen where a site is made up of several social media widgets with very little original content.
It's like the site owner knew they needed a web presence but didn't know what to do with it or underestimated the time it takes to maintain it. Having a web presence is great but having a good web presence is even better.