Part 1 of the Series: Preparing to Start a Business Blog
In part 1 of this series, we examined why a business blog is important and how to build one. After living in the space, deciding on a topic, and building your blog on your domain, it's now time to actually start writing posts and publishing them for everyone to read.
How Often and How Much Should You Post?
One of the first concerns that many of our clients have about posting a blog is the "time factor." They're scared that blogging will be too much of a time commitment and they don't have sufficient resources to posting thoughtful content. This is a valid concern and I always appreciate people not wanting to get in over their heads, but blogging isn't really as much of a time commitment as many people fear.
Our general rule of thumb is that you should write at least one post every seven days. This guideline can differ based on what you're truly trying to accomplish with your blog (for example, we post daily, as this blog is one of our main marketing efforts), but we think once a week is a good baseline to start with.
A post every seven days ensures that your site is frequently updated with fresh content, and you also acclimate prospects to the idea that you're dedicated to your business and generating quality content on a regular basis.
Furthermore, your posts don't have to be the quality or length of Moby Dick - we generally recommend making sure each post is between 300 and 700 words. It's fine to occasionally have a shorter summary post or a longer thought-leading post, but people are generally coming to your blog to be informed quickly, so 300-700 words ensures you generate good content while not alienating readers with your verbosity.
What Should You Post?
One way to help ease the time burden associated with the weekly posts it to repurpose content you've previously written and turn it into posts. Some good sources of content are:
- Emails to clients and colleagues. Did a client or colleague write you an intriguing email that prompted you to write a thorough and thoughtful response? Does it seem that this question comes up pretty often? Make some changes to the email to make it more generic and post it to your blog. It will then serve as a permanent reference for the question in the future, and the poser of the question will likely be flattered that you deemed their question worthy of an entire blog post.
- Previous Articles Written for Other Publications. Have you been a guest columnist or blogger for another publication? There's no reason that this content or similar content shouldn't also live on your site, especially if the original article only appeared in print form. Make some changes to the column and post it to your blog, so people can always get access to the useful information from your site.
- Summarize Important Industry News. Was their big news relevant to your industry or your clients' in the past week? Post a summary of the article (be sure to link back to the source!) and how it affects you and your clients on your blog. Clients will appreciate that you've provided them with valuable information and were perhaps helpful in decoding a confusing news event and how it affects them.
By repurposing previous content, you can be sure that you didn't write that long email in vain or write a column for a rarely read publication, and you also cut down on the weekly time necessary to maintain your business's blog.
So, while a blog is certainly an undertaking that you shouldn't take lightly, I think the overall committment is not nearly as intimidating as many people think. By posting 300-700 words every week, you have the ability to infinitely expand your footprint on the web, increase inbound traffic, and gain thought leadership with your target.