Transcript Below Infographic
When you do it right, the combo of Blogging and Social media marketing is not only the most effective, targeted way to connect with your potential customers and client that has ever existed until now, but it’s absolutely necessary in today’s business world if you’re going to stay competitive -and it’s true in nearly every industry.
Even a local “mom and pop” shop can benefit from social media and the real-time networking it can offer.
But while some bloggers have the luxury of working full-time on just their blogs, most don’t – and it can become very overwhelming if you don’t find ways to simplify and streamline your blogging process.
If you’re feeling that way now, you’re not alone – heck, I’ve been there myself and I’m always working on ways to make my life easier. I hope my experiences will help you to transition much faster and avoid the pitfalls I found myself in along the way.
Are you ready to get started?: Get those tapping fingers ready to show some love – I’m about to break it down for you!
Let’s start by helping you to figure out the best process for your blogging responsibilities – the one that fits into your life.
Tip #1: 3-Pronged Approach to Creating the Process
So, I suggest that you start with focus on three primary areas when you’re creating your process.
First, get everything organized. If you’re scattered on your blog, it confuses the readers, search engine spiders – and even you.
Then you want to map out a schedule for your blogging efforts.
Having a deadline for yourself can benefit you and help you work toward a specific goal, not just something vague.
Last, you want to begin creating your content – and if you visit the Periscope page at OnlineWritingPro.com, you’ll find a full list of resources that will go over three different types of posts for you to choose from – a series, an individual post, or a guest blog post (and you can mix these up – you don’t have to choose from just one).
- Start with an editorial calendar. You might choose a physical calendar, such as a big desk calendar or a teacher’s planner (my personal choice for planning out my posts in advance) – but you should also have some kind of electronic calendar in place for easy reference when you need it.
- You can use Google Calendar, or add the WP Edit Flow plugin to your blog – or you can use a number of other methods, Just find one you’re comfortable with and get moving – you can always change your mind later.
- Regardless of which method you choose, this will become your blog planning calendar. You can use this to fill in the days with whatever you’ll be blogging about (and we’ll go over that in a future ‘scope – but you can get the info now if you visit that Periscope page at OnlineWritingPro.com).
- This helps you plan what needs to be written, and when. This is perfect for using yourself or for whenever you’re using a freelance ghostwriter to create your blog content and you want to share it with them so that they can plan for publishing dates.
Tip #2: How often you should blog
Let’s talk about frequency – how often do you really need to blog?
First let me say this – if you hate to write, you should just stop where you are – this business isn’t for you! But if you still want or need a blog to make your business work (and chances are, you do), you ought to just consider outsourcng the work – via a pro blogger or company, or if that’s outside your budget, consider using a platform like Fiverr.com – but be careful to check your posts for plagiarism and content quality before you publish it – you do often get what you pay for.
If you ask me, the ideal blogger is someone who can’t WAIT to wake up in the morning and share more information with people.
If that’s not you, it could be a sign that you’re in the wrong niche. Maybe you need to rethink your focus – there are niche-selection tools at OnlineWritingPro.com if you want to reconsider your current choices,
But let’s talk about traffic and authority.
Don’t get me wrong – you’ll see some leaders in a niche who blog very infrequently.
This is sometimes because blogging is a side tool for them. They primarily use other things like television, radio, webinars and live, in person seminars to attract and cultivate an audience.
But for bloggers who want to use this platform as their primary source of audience engagement, then you need to make a commitment to show up and share on a regular basis.
The more, the better – but there’s one exception to that rule: It’s only better when there’s more if there’s something valuable that you’re sharing.
In other words, don’t blog just to blog. Don’t slap up meaningless content that dilutes the truly valuable blog posts you have just because someone told you to blog 3 times a day.
What you ought to do is go through and develop your editorial calendars to see how much content you can conceivably create – this will really help you to streamline the process. Knowing is half the battle, right??
Tip #3: What you should write about
SO Let’s talk about brainstorming and how to get new post ideas.
You’ll be surprised at how many ideas you generate once you understand how to look for good blog ideas – and I’ve actually collected plenty of free tools to help you with that over at the Periscope page at OnlineWritingPro.com.
So, the thing is, you can definitely sit down and brainstorm ideas, and you should. I’ve become so good at this that I can create 30 days worth of titles in 30 minutes or less. But there’s another kind of brainstorming that in some cases can prove to be more effective – and it involves a constant mental “eye” on your life to watch for blogging ideas.
I call this the 24/7 blogger mindset – and it really works for me. I use various tools to streamline my process – it’s actually a free app called evernote, in this case, that helps me to retain this mindset. I am always
As far as search engine bots (spiders) are concerned, they like to see a certain amount of “freshness” in your blog.
They typically start off visiting your blog once every couple of weeks, but they narrow their visitation schedule to index your site if you blog regularly, and this looks good and helps you get content indexed faster.
It’s also helpful to your blog subscribers if you blog frequently. If this is a topic they’re interested in, then you want to be the go-to authority figure in your niche – the person they know will have continual updates and fresh information.
A daily schedule is best. Some people post several times and day, and this is great too.
Don’t burden yourself trying to reach that goal, though. Just be consistent.
If you can only manage to post 3 times a week, then do it three times a week. However, there is such as thing as blogging too little. When you start going weeks or months without blogging, don’t expect a blog audience to stick around and become subscribers and fans of your content. In fact, they won’t even know who you are!
Tip #4: Write once, publish multiple ways
Let’s talk about repurposing content – that’s another way you can streamline your blogging process! Once you have a few posts built up and you see which ones become popular, you can start to repurpose your content. You can do this for things like these Periscope broadcasts, as well as YouTube videos, podcasts and more.
Seriously, it’s worth it and not only can it save you time, but it can actually end up bringing you more loyal followers as well as helping you to further establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
I mean, consider this: did you know that the second largest search engine in the world is YouTube? Yep.
And it’s only topped by Google (which, as you likely know, also owns YouTube).
Adding video content to your site on the regular van seriously increase your exposure and visibility in the online world and that can lead to increased success for you as a blogger as well as a business owner – it’ll definitely benefit your bottom line if you work it right.
You can create your own videos or even just share related ones from YouTube on your blog for added traffic. Or, start your own podcast and share those posts as well.
Also, there are various plugins, such as the one called something like “Evergreen Tweets” and another called Tweet Old Posts that are ideal for automating tweets for your old posts that are still relevant – you can select by categories or tags.
Tip #5: Let’s talk about guest bloggers
Guest bloggers will often seek you out once your blog becomes a traffic hub for a particular niche. In a lot of cases, this can be a real win-win situation – it helps you (free content) and them (free links to their own sites).
You won’t want to accept everyone who requests a spot on your blog. But you may want to use a guest blogger from time to time, as long as they continue with the purpose and direction of your own blog.
Once you get a budget, you can approach people or post blog topic jobs – sometimes you’ll pay for the post, but often, the blogger will be happy with a link back to their own site.
You can ask someone who is an authority figure in your niche to provide a guest blog post – this reflects well on you as a blogger because you’re pulling in valuable resources for your own readers, which they’ll appreciate greatly.
Or, you can find new bloggers who are eager to get some experience under their belts. Either way, make sure the piece is suitable for your audience and don’t let the topic veer off course.
But how do you make sure you don’t have a bunch of drama when you reject a post or a proposal? Simple – you get yourself a good, strong set of editorial guidelines.
I have editorial guidelines for all of my sites and enforce them without fail – if a submitted guest post doesn’t fit my mission, I send it back and tell them why – and I won’t publish it until it does. You’ve gotta have standards if you ever want your readers to trust you enough to become clients in the future right?
Okay, let’s move on to Tip #6: User-Generated Content – also called UGC
Has anyone heard of UGC before?
This is actually a tip I learned during my 3-year run with AOL’s Patch.com before they were bought out.
SO, UGC is a whole other animal – one I learned the value of as a Patch editor.
This is when you actually ask your users for content – or you repurpose their feedback into new content.
For example, at Patch, we had a weekly column that collected the best, most interesting and/or most outrageous comments on our sites. Not only was this always a fun read, but it also highlighted our readers – the very ones who were participating in our conversation.
By doing this, we not only improve our relationships with our existing readers and saved some time with repurposing the content (UGC), but we also encouraged other readers to interact with us, because they could see that not only did we value our readers and their feedback.
Not only that, but they could see that they might also find themselves featured, especially if they were to really comment in a way that would make us notice – and that meant they had to really read the articles and offer thoughtful, constructive comments.
By publishing these types of columns, we were able to make our readers feel VALUED, and we also played the vanity card, because who doesn’t like to see their name in print?
Of course, the added benefit was that this led to increased user interaction and increased site traffic. It’s one of those things that literally every blogger could do to reduce blogging time and increase both user interaction and your bottom line.
Time for Tip #7 – I call this one “time-blocking” – and it’s a great way to manage your time and still make your blog reach the next level.
I’ll make this quick – it’s a pretty simple concept that’s exactly what it sounds like.
Basically, you simply sit down and do all of your blogging for a specific period of time at once. Some people like to do this on the weekends (especially if they are blogging while trying to work a standard 9 to 5 job) and others choose a specific work-day each week or month to do this.
Once you’ve handled your writing, you can do your edits, upload to your site and schedule the post, then schedule your social media updates for it in advance with a tool like Buffer or Co-Schedule. There are also plenty of great plugins that help with stuff like this – they’ll allow you to schedule your social media stuff right through your wordpress dashboard .
Tip #8 – Treat blogging like a job (or a second job).
If you want to actually use your blog to make money or to increase your ability to get, retain or re-sell to your clients and potential clients, you have to prioritize it in a way that indicates that level of commitment.
So, treat blogging like it’s a job. You have to do that if you want to succeed with the help of (or entirely because of) your blog.
Tip #9: Yes, you should treat blogging like a job, but it also has to fit in your own life. Don’t over commit!
So, that’s another big thing that’s important to remember – you can’t over-commit. If you do, you might as well not even start, because chances are that you won’t succeed if you constantly feel overwhelmed by the level of your own expectations.
So if you’re a new blogger, you might look at publishing just a few times a week at first, or less, until you get the rhythm down. The most important thing is consistency anyway, as I mentioned before.
You have to remember that not everyone’s life is the same and whatever process you end up with has to actually work FOR YOU and YOUR LIFE.
The level of priority you can assign to your blog is going to directly reflect your personal and professional commitments – and this is especially true if you’re blogging in addition to a “regular” job, but also if you’re a small business owner who blogs about his primary business.
We all have other responsibilities to consider, so just be sure that your blogging process fits into your REAL LIFE.
This brings me to Tip #10 – Refine and Evolve
You obviously want to develop good habits and systems as a blogger, but what you don’t want to do is get stuck in your ways. The very nature of a blog is that it is published on an ever-changing, fluid medium.
A blog that is successful is always an ever-evolving life form of its own, and that seems to be pretty much non-negotiable.
So stay up-to-date and always look for ways to make your process smoother and more effective. You can always be doing something better – and don’t be afraid to try new ideas and fail. Because you only truly fail when you stop trying, you know what I mean?
So, for example, I’ve mentioned automation a few times during this scope – there are a lot of simple tasks that can be automated as long as you offer up some human feedback in conjunction with the automation. Like I said, it’s pretty safe to automate your social media updates and to schedule your blog posts – just don’t forget to respond when you get feedback from readers. They always like to know there’s a real person behind the brand.
So, you can make your blogging life easier if you focus on embracing positive change. Use what works, but don’t think it’s the only way – what if you could save hours per week with a simple tweak in the way you set up your plugins on your site? Wouldn’t it be worth a try? Imagine what you could do with an extra three or four hours in your workweek!
Okay, that’s it for me today.
Thank you for joining me and please don’t forget to head over to OnlineWritingPro.com/periscope to pick up your free blogging tools.