Public relations can seem out of reach for smaller or fledgling firms. However, PR as a way to raise your profile and that of your business is always a good idea.
If hiring a PR agency isn't in your budget, it simply means you must do your own PR, and one way to do that is by creating your editorial content. You must, in one word, write. Write blog posts. Write and post articles to LinkedIn. It's called owned content -- as in you own it, so do it. Caveat: I'm not saying you could or should try to manage your own reputation or manage through a crisis. If those are the things you need, then you need to hire a pro. But writing to raise your own profile a bit, you an do that.
Of course, if you aren't a writer this can seem daunting. How do you even get started creating your own content?
Here are four ideas for churning out blog posts or LinkedIn articles. Lately I've had to remind myself of them, because even professional writers can get out of the writing habit-- although hopefully not for long.
1. Make writing a priority.
Put writing time on the calendar and hold yourself accountable for producing content. For this given time every day or every week you let yourself just write. Maybe you start out with a word goal or a time goal. You can stop as soon as you've hit 200 words or 15 minutes or whatever else you want.
By the way, if you've made it this far (thank you for that), you've read just over 200 words-- more than a third of this column. Nobody's suggesting you to write a novel.
2. Mine for ideas.
If you are lacking for ideas, read more. Maybe it's general news or a trade magazine for your industry. Maybe it's a memoir or a business book. Just read.
I recently resubscribed to the New Yorker magazine for a change of pace. Harvard Business Review has provided writing ideas for me and my clients.
Reading sparks ideas -- ideas for topics or how to turn a phrase. You should also peruse your social media feeds, especially LinkedIn, to find out what other professionals in your industry are sharing, writing and thinking about. Full-time writers have to do this all the time.
3. Create an editorial calendar.
To make sure you always have ideas at the ready, plot them out in an editorial calendar. It's a good way to organize a topic for every month or week, depending on your desired frequency for posting your articles. A natural place to start is to think seasonally.
For example, May marks National Small Business Week, Mother's Day and graduation season. In June, you have Father's Day, Pride Month and the start of Summer. Additionally, what conferences are happening or are you attending? What's happening in your industry or at your company? Use these events to inspire content ideas.
4. Start with your headline.
Now that you have some topics you want to write about, think about how you want to structure your article. Think about your headline. If you've been mining for ideas then perhaps you have noticed which headlines pique your interest.
What was it about the headline that got you to read someone else's story? Did it offer 10 things to know about a topic you wanted to know more about? Did it include the name of someone you admire? Did it offer answers to a problem you've pondered? Once you have your headline, you're halfway there -- figuratively speaking. Good job.
Bonus encouragement: When you are writing more regularly and know you have things to say, the writing gets easier. Your writing gets stronger, too. It's called writing muscle for a reason.