There is a clear correlation between publishing frequency and the number of leads generated. In fact, a study conducted by HubSpot showed that “companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5x more leads than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.” But despite the proven benefits of creating consistent blog content for business and marketing, creating high-quality blog content can be a real struggle for small businesses. There are always a million of other things to focus on. So blog writing gets pushed down the priority list.
This is a really common challenge amongst small business owners and something I’ve struggled with as well. So in this article, I’m sharing some of the methods I have implemented to simplify my blog writing process.
Keep a “blog post ideas” list
Coming up with good blog post topics can be a challenge. Especially when you decide to start posting more frequently. To make sure you never run out of inspiration on what to write about next, I recommend keeping a “blog post ideas” list. Here is how it works:
- Pick 3-5 themes or categories that you want to focus on. As an example for the Outventure Hub blog our themes are marketing, entrepreneurship and outdoor business. Having categories in place will help you maintain a consistent brand message across all your articles.
- Once you’ve selected the categories, create a simple document (in Word, Excel or Notes – whatever works best for you) with one list per theme. This is a live document that you’re going to be adding on to very regularly so keep it in a place that’s easily accessible. If there are multiple people within your team who will be contributing to creating blog content, make sure each of them has access to this document.
- As you’re having conversations with colleagues and clients, listening to podcasts or reading articles, new ideas for blog articles will pop up. Every time that happens, add the topic onto your list. And before you know it you’ll have a long list of blog content to create.
Plan your blog content in advance
Having a blog content calendar in place will help you stay on track with your article creation and publication goals. It will also enable you to manage your blog more efficiently. Here are some of the key elements that you should include in your blog content calendar:
- Article topic
- Category or theme
- Due date (especially important if you’re working with guest bloggers)
- Planned publication date
- Target reader (especially relevant if your business has more than one customer avatar)
- Target keywords (important for SEO)
- Title (make it engaging and keyword rich)
- Status (in progress, written, approved, published)
Try to get the entire team involved in the content planning process. It will help bring new ideas and fresh perspectives to the table.
Create a blog post creation checklist
This is a checklist that you can follow every time you create a new blog post. It will streamline your blog writing process and greatly reduce the time it takes for you to turn a blog post idea into a ready-to-publish article. It will also ensure that all of your articles are consistent in terms of style and format. And if you decide to outsource blog writing, it will make the handover process much more efficient.
Include the following elements in your checklist:
- Target word count (remember that a higher word count can improve SEO)
- Text formatting guidelines
- Video and image formatting guidelines
- The number of internal and external links to be included in each article
- Guidelines on SEO elements like the meta description, excerpt, featured image and tags
Click below to download a checklist example:
Have a system in place for promoting your blog posts
Writing blog articles is only part of the blogging process. Another, equally important but often rushed, part of the process is the promotion of new articles.
Having a written out system in place that you apply every time you publish a blog post will help you to cut down on the time it takes to get your new articles in front of more readers. All you will have to do is follow the same step-by-step framework every time an a new post is published. Similarly to the blog post creation checklist, having a blog post promotion process in place will also make it easier for you to outsource this workflow.
Here are some of the key elements to consider when developing your blog post promotion system:
- On which social media platforms will you share new blog posts?
- If you’re using Instagram, will you share new blog posts in your feed, in your stories or in both?
- What guidelines will you follow to create the post captions (call to action, number of hashtags,…)?
- Aside from your company page or profile, will you share the post in applicable social media groups?
- Will you email your website subscribers and/or include a link to new articles in your newsletter?
- Will you send the article to specific people in direct messages (this can be applicable if you have referred to certain people in the article)? If yes, do you have a template in place to reach out to these people?
Set time aside in your calendar for content creation and publication
To make sure you stay on track with your blog post calendar, I would recommend setting time aside in your calendar for writing and publishing articles. Depending on how frequently you decide to publish blog posts you might set aside a few hours or even a whole day a week for content creation.
Personally, I find that batching all of my weekly content creation (i.e. blog posts, social media content, articles for other publication) works better than spreading it out over the week. It allows my brain to go into “creation mode”. I turn off all social media and other external distractions and just focus on writing. But I know that some people don’t like to spend multiple hours on the same task. They prefer to go all-in for an hour a day and then move on to something else. So just figure out what works best for you and organise your calendar accordingly.
Aside from scheduling in time for writing the blog posts, make sure you also set time aside for publishing and promoting your new articles according to your blog post promotion process. This can be further automated by using a social media like for example Hootsuite.
Outsource blog writing
Depending on the size of your team, your marketing budget and your content marketing goals it might make sense for your to outsource all or part of your blog management process. This could include getting an expert to write a number of articles on a specific topic that your team currently lacks expertise on. It could include getting an external writer on board to complement the articles written by you and your team to help you increase your blogging frequency. Or it could even include getting an external marketing professional to look after the entire blog management process from blog post creation to the sharing of articles on your social media channels.
If you decide to outsource blog writing, having a blog content calendar, a blog post creation checklist and a blog post promotion system in place will make it much easier for you to hand over these tasks in an efficient way.