Do you have a business website? If so, chances are good that you also have a blog page, after hearing how important they are for SEO and building customer rapport. And, if you elected to go it alone instead of hiring marketing experts to write for you, the chances are equally good that your blog is now gathering virtual dust in a corner of your site, with two or three odd articles posted ages ago, or worse, abandoned with its “Hello World!” placeholder still intact.
If your blog is like that, you’re not alone. The Internet is a veritable boneyard of neglected and abandoned business blogs. While blogging remains one of the strongest online-marketing methods available, many businesses simply do not maintain a consistent blog presence. However, by neglecting one of the most effective online marketing tools at their disposal, these businesses are leaving money on the keyboards of potential customers.
Although there are many reasons businesses neglect or abandon their blogs, one of the most common causes is simply the lack of time to write consistently. In the first part of this series, we’ll talk about ways to help deal with the time crunch in blogging.
Mix Your Media
Writing a strong blog post takes time; there’s no getting around that. As a business owner, your schedule is crowded, and it’s probably rare that you have the time, or the desire, to spend hours at your keyboard drafting a new article every week or two.
However, your blog doesn’t need to be confined to the written word. In fact, many of the best blogs use a variety of media, such as photo selections, audio clips, and even videos. Indeed, mixing media on a blog tends to make it more engaging for the visitor, while providing other ways for you to connect with your customers. For example, a post with a few (tasteful) photos of your company’s employees at an event humanizes them to your customers in ways that words can’t. Hearing you discuss a relevant topic can solidify a connection that might never occur if those same words appeared only on a computer screen in Times New Roman font.
Perhaps more importantly for you, these blogging methods can also be easier and less time-consuming than writing a full article. Photos with catchy captions are simple to upload, while free recording software makes it easy to produce and post professional-sounding audio tracks.
While it’s important for SEO to have written content too, alternative blogging methods can help you keep up with your blog when you simply don’t have the time to write. Further, excerpts from audio and video clips can be quickly transcribed, serving as additional, SEO-friendly, posts for the future.
Many business owners have trouble maintaining their blogs because they focus only on current topics. When a hot, current issue isn’t available, or when they simply don’t have time to draft something fresh every week, they fall behind, and the blog eventually withers.
Typically, however, writing solely about current topics is not the best way to drive visitors to your blog. Instead, a steady mix of current and “evergreen” content, or content on issues that are timeless, strengthens your online marketing presence more than an uneven stream of current-events discussion. While posts on current topics might drive visitors to your site in large numbers early on, they typically have a relatively small window of relevancy. Evergreen content, on the other hand, can pull visitors to your site for years. If you’re an investment broker, for example, the piece you do on the importance of diversifying your portfolio will be sought long after your article discussing the Federal Reserve’s latest decision on interest rates.
Further, and perhaps more importantly for you and your busy schedule, while evergreen content can be read at any time, it can also be written at any time. When you have a block of free time, you can write a few short evergreen posts to tuck away and publish when you’re too busy to draft a new article. Thus, maintaining a little forest of evergreens can help keep your blog consistent when your schedule becomes hectic.
Beyond the Boneyard… and Back in Business.
The fact is, because of changes in search-engine algorithms, effective blogging is arguably more important than ever to online marketing. In Part 2 of this series, I’ll discuss how to find high-quality topics to blog about consistently. For now, while effective blogging always takes time, following the techniques here, or hiring a strong online marketing service, can help your blog out of the boneyard and put it to work strengthening your business.