Blogging doesn’t have to be hard: 3 lessons from a content marketer

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Every business owner or Marketing Director will tell you they struggle with making blogging a priority.  Why? They certainly believe in the power of content marketing. They certainly want to nurture and educate their prospective and current customers with targeted, intelligent, insightful information.  They certainly want to gain the attention of Google to improve their organic SEO.

But, it’s HARD to make blogging a priority because of several reasons:

  1. It’s tough to come up with lots of different topics.
  2. It’s HARD to be the one that writes every blog post.
  3. Everyone in your company SAYS they’re going to help, but they never do.

I run our Content Marketing division here at Bell Media, so I run into these comments every day in my job (frankly, it’s the reason I HAVE a job!!!)  

So, I’ve decided to “open the kimono” and share with you how we are able to blog for clients month in, month out, without repeating topics or having problems generating enough quality content for a multitude of businesses.  I’ve been doing Content Marketing for years and have developed a few tried-and-true methods of creating consistent, exciting blog campaigns that’ll spike your SEO through the roof and genuinely delight and nurture your prospective customers.  Here’s some of my best advice:

Create a Blogging Content Calendar – but don’t do it alone

There’s nothing like sitting at your desk on a Friday afternoon around 4:00 pm, acutely aware you have a blog article that needs to be posted by Monday, and having NO idea what you’re going to write about!!  Don’t do this to yourself – create a Content Calendar. My advice is to gather together enough blog topics to last you at least four months. But the trick is, don’t do this by yourself. Schedule a 30 minute meeting and invite at least 3 other people to attend who are considered “experts” in your company.  I like to have representation from sales, administration, customer service, and at least one member of the senior management team in the room. In that 30 minutes, instigate a discussion among the members present on THEIR ideas for blog posts.

And just to help you along a little further, some good topic ideas include:

  1. Dispelling common myths that exist in your industry.
  2. Comparing and contrasting different products or services that you offer.
  3. Testimonials written as stories by happy customers or patients.
  4. Answering commonly-asked customer questions.

And to get the room’s buy-in for this brainstorming session, let them know that they’ll never be asked to write a single word for you.  That’s right – you’re going to do all the writing, but I’ll cover that in the next section. If they know their commitment is only their ideas and thoughts, they’ll be a lot more willing to participate in your brainstorming session.  

Do your blogging through the lens of your “experts”

After you’ve done your blog brainstorming and you’ve identified who the “expert” is on each topic, go to work interviewing them.  To save time, if you have one “expert” who is also the expert on 2 other blog posts over the next 4 months, interview them for all articles at the same time.  They don’t need to prepare in advance, they don’t need to write anything down – all they have to do is show up and talk. For your preparation, write down 2-3 questions about the topic  just to get the ball rolling. Believe me, you’ll think of other questions to ask based on what they say! Keep these interview meetings to no longer than 30 minutes, so you don’t burn anyone out.  At the end of the 30 minutes, you should have enough blog content to write a robust article.

Vary the types of articles you write

I like to make sure that my team writes articles in a variety of different kinds of styles.  The ones I use most frequently are:

  1. Feature story style – this is an article that’s written to really tell a story about an event or a fact.  It can feature quotes from the “expert”, or it can simply work in the subject matter expertise they shared.  This is an example of a feature story style blog post.
  2. News story style – this is written much as you’d expect a newspaper to write a story.  Just the facts, ma’am. Here too you can feature quotes from the “expert”, or you can simply work in their thought leadership.  Here is an example of a feature story style blog post.
  3. Ghost-writing style – in this method, you actually write the article as though you yourself are the “expert” who you interviewed.  They get the “byline”, and you get a great article! These are some of my favorite types of articles to write for a number of reasons.  First of all, telling a story in first-person is powerful. Secondly, the person who is now the author of their own article is more likely to share the article on social networks and can use it in future conversations with clients (why I just wrote a blog post about that very topic, Mr. Customer – let me share it with you.)  This is a great way to showcase the strong Thought Leadership you have within your company, and really get strong buy-in from the “experts” so they’ll want to brainstorm with you again in the future. Here’s an example of a ghost-written blog post.

Hopefully you can see how these three tactics can save you from ever again missing your blog deadlines while creating compelling, relevant, and targeted content for your customers.  With just a little bit of rigor and some buy-in at different “experts” levels in your organization, you can have a Content Marketing strategy in no time that you can be really proud of.  

Of course, if this all sounds a little daunting, you can always call us at Bell Media, and we’d be happy to embark upon a Content Marketing strategy FOR you!  

Bell Media is a leading digital marketing agency that is focused on delivering desired business outcomes for clients. We are a Google Premier Partner, and a 3X Inc 5000 Company, with offices in Montgomery, Birmingham, Nashville, and Houston. We consult with businesses to determine where they want to go with their businesses, and then recommend the best product mix to help them achieve their goals. Check out more of our thought leadership in the Blog section of our website.