2013 is rapidly drawing to a close, and you’re probably thinking about some of the positive changes you’d like to make in the new year, both personally and professionally. When it comes to smart strategies for marketing your online business, we’re huge proponents of regularly updating your blog—providing interesting updates about your company, products, or services, giving useful and original advice, answering frequently asked questions from potential customers, sharing cool news from your industry, and so on. If you feel like your blogging efforts have been on autopilot lately, we hope these suggestions will breathe new life into your writing. No need to wait until the ball drops in Times Square to kick your blog content development into high gear—you can start on these great New Year’s resolutions a few weeks early.
Set a Blogging Schedule and Stick to It
Do you want to build a regular readership … or, if you’ve already succeeded in doing so, expand it? Make sure your readers know that you’re passionate about writing for them, and they’re more likely to feel strongly about what you have to say. One way to communicate that you’re serious about blogging is to post on a regular basis. Just how often you blog is up to you (and is dependent on your workload and resources, among other things). If a potential new customer finds your page and sees that you haven’t posted anything new in over three months, however, he or she isn’t very likely to come back and check to see if you’ve gotten around to it. Don’t give your readers the impression that blogging is something you do once in awhile, when you get around to it—if they see that you don’t care, neither will they. Updating your blog at least once a week tells readers that you’re enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and communicative.
Maybe posting something every Tuesday is your goal—or maybe you have enough time and ideas to make daily or twice-daily updates. You can also consider the possibility of having several members of your team make regular updates on a rotating basis, which means sharing the responsibility with employees who have more bandwidth than you do—and fresh ideas and opinions of their own. At any rate, resolve to post and/or have others post to your blog regularly, and put it in your calendar as a recurring event.
Look for Inspiration Everywhere
So, you may have read that last paragraph and thought, “How am I going to think of new topics three times a week?” The good news is that whether you realize it or not, great subject matter is all around you. Use a smartphone app (or, if you’re feeling old-school, a notebook and pen) to keep track of the ideas you have throughout your day. Stuck on the train to your office and staring blankly at the advertisements in the car? If one of those ads inspires you to tell your customer base about something important that’s happening in your industry, make a note so that you won’t forget by the time you make it to your desk. And see where else you can find ideas for posts—casual conversations with friends and family, store window displays, the Sunday paper, or your Facebook feed. You just might surprise yourself.
Keep Up to Date
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of staying “in-the-know”: in your specific niche and broader industry and in general. After all, if you’re the first to share exciting news about a new product release, event, or promotion, your reader base will quickly learn that they can count on you for the up-to-the-minute information they want. And keeping on top of what’s happening in the world—whether you get your information online, from TV news, or even (gasp!) the morning paper—will give you new ideas for blog posts. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, either: if the news of the day is the upcoming elections, and you’re an online cosmetics retailer, you may not see an immediate connection. But maybe your readers would be interested to know what skincare and beauty products prominent political figures use when they’re about to deliver an important address—and how they might achieve similar results for less cash with your merchandise.
These are just three resolutions you can make for your blog for the coming year. We’ll have great suggestions for your writing in 2014, and you probably have some terrific ideas of your own, too. Remember, it’s helpful if you don’t see blogging as a chore. Write about what you find interesting, and you’ll be interesting. Cheers!