3 Strategic Blogging Tips for 2016

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There are a lot of things in business that feel like a grind because you have to keep repeating them over and over and over again.

Take for instance, writing blog posts. This is a pain point for most business owners because they 100% know the value of publishing on the regular, but it takes time, energy and a plan to actually make it happen.

And while you know all of that, your blogging may still look something like this:

Night before the day you usually publish. It’s getting late. I’ve got NO ideas. In fact, as I sit here trying to conjure up a post idea, ideas are as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster. And really, I just want to eat popcorn and watch Scandal.  And whoops, hold on, what do you mean it’s midnight? (As you wake up hugging the popcorn bowl after a power nap on the couch.)

Two weeks since your last blog post.  Still not sure what to blog about. Well, I’ve not blogged for a couple weeks, so what the hell, what’s another week? I’ll get to it later because there’s sooooo much other stuff. (Blogging avoidance going on right here, because if you’re cleaning out the linen closet instead of blogging, that’s a sign.)

One month before you need to launch. Oh crap, I’ve not blogged for 12 weeks. Now I need to find a way to blog to warm people up for my launch, and I’ve not emailed my list, and OMG, I’m gonna look like a total d-bag.  (And yes, now you’re going to look skeevy and your community may feel like a ATM.)

The truth is, if you’re going to blog, you need to show up consistently and deliver the goods. The proverbial goods being high quality content, great value and a regular message in your subscriber’s inboxes.

But how do you make that all happen?

With a new year on the way, and blogging in your sights for 2016,  now’s the time to lock in your blogging plan so you’re not avoiding your blog come January 1st.  Get started with these three blogging tips:

#1.  Start by Mapping Out Your Goals

If every week you’re picking a topic out of the air, let’s face it – the content you’re creating isn’t as strategic as it could be.

Blogging is part of your content marketing strategy, and that strategy should be supporting your business goals.

Maybe the goal is to grow your email subscriber base, book more clients or boost your bottom line, but your content needs to have a specific goal in mind.  Sure, your content can entertain, but it also should be tied to a clear business goal.

Once you’ve figured out your goals, then you can start to reverse-engineer your content. For example, going into the launch of the Inside Scoop Academy: Marketing School this year, all of my blog content was related to topics we would cover in the course including conversions, storytelling, copywriting, email marketing and more. The goal was to get my readers thinking about those areas of their marketing in a new way and open them up to my approach.

With clear goals for your blogging, creating content gets a whole lot easier as you’re able to see exactly what your readers need from you.  The purpose of each piece of blog content is to be a key part of the customer journey.

#2. Execute Quarterly Content Storming

Your goals are ready, so now you’re on the way to better blogging. But before you get carried away creating an editorial calendar, please close that Google spreadsheet.

Before you create that editorial calendar, you need a big dose of creativity.

The goal isn’t just to create content and check it off the list.  The real goal is to create the type of content your readers can’t resist, makes your business stand out and serves a real need.  Also, to create content that isn’t so cliched or vanilla that your people roll their eyes when they see it in their inbox.

Which is why you need to put at least an hour or two each quarter on the calendar for a Content Storming session.

This is a brainstorming session where you go wild and just come up with ideas.  The end result is to create a stockpile of blogging ideas for use in the weeks and months to come by answering questions such as:

  • What core themes are important to my clients and business?
  • What business goal(s) does each theme support?
  • What are five topics for each of my themes?
  • What are the FAQs I get from my community and clients?
  • What are the top things people need to know about what I’m offering?
  • What are three things that I feel strongly about?

My favorite way to content storm is to get in my office, play some tunes I love and then bust out my sticky notes. As I answer each question, each one goes on a sticky note. From there I can organize them to see how 12 weeks of content can come together and support my business goals in the process.

From there, I then place them into an editorial planner document that my team uses for the quarter as part of our overall content plan.

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#3. Create a Blog Process that Holds You Accountable

Having ideas for each week’s post isn’t enough to make sure you actually write and publish your posts. Which is why I recommend you create some type of blog post process that holds you accountable. If you have a Virtual Assistant (VA), clearly document the steps and deadlines for each part of the process. It may seem like a lot of “needless” work, but you’ll be thanking me once you have weeks of content actually published. In my case, I know I have to write my posts by the end of the day on Monday to ensure that my communications coordinator Lizzie has time to prepare them for publishing on Thursday. Many times I’m ahead of that schedule, but knowing it’s due to someone helps me ensure it gets done on the weeks where I’m tempted to bail. If you’re a party of one, this is the perfect thing to work with an accountability partner on.  Make a plan to exchange blog posts each week so you both actually publish them. And if you don’t have an accountability partner, get one for the new year. It can be a peer or a friend, but it needs to be someone who will hold you to what you commit to getting done. (Think of them as your gym buddy, but for your biz.) That’s it – three steps that can help you get on your way to better blogging in 2016.  Get your blogging ready for 2016 with the FREE Blog Planner Kit full of templates and more to get you on your way to better blogging.