Over the past two or three decades, blogs have transformed into must-haves for businesses due to their long list of benefits. Jayson DeMers of Forbes, for example, notes that a good blog can add a human element to your brand, support what you're trying to do on social media, establish you as an authority in your field and boost conversion, just to start. Nicole Beachum of Social Media Today further asserts that, as "learning centers", blogs help companies stand out among competitors, ensuring that you have content Google's search algorithm will consider relevant. But when you're time crunched, how do you make sure your blog doesn't fall by the wayside? Marketer Jason Quey, founder and owner of The Storyteller Marketer, shares the answers he's figured out and gathered from others along the way.
1. Create a content strategy.
A content strategy is just a systematic way of approaching your blog that aligns with your goals. What works for you isn't necessarily going to work for somebody else because everybody's objectives and preferences will be slightly different, but having a clear-cut plan will help you spend less time figuring out what to write and how to promote the content effectively.
2. Know how you will get both short- and long-term traffic.
Some blog posts are more relevant for certain events or periods of the year, but you also want people coming to your blog over time. "Short term traffic tends to be traffic via social media," Quey says, "unless you're a media publication. Long term traffic tends to be SEO and email marketing." He recommends creating an SEO keyword-based calendar to make sure that you're content matches what people are searching for through specific times of the year.
3. Get yourself some tools.
Not everything associated with your blog has to be manual--let technology save you time and spark your creativity. With the right site or app, you can check your grammar, easily convert documents into HTML, and even get insights on how to compose an email based on the Web-analyzed personality of the intended recipient. (For specific tools that could help, check out Quey's guest post on Mad Lemmings).
4. Don't let a bunch of opportunities steal your focus or overwhelm you.
"We all get a lot of random requests," Quey points out. "Defend your time. Say no more often than you say yes."
5. Stay a month ahead of your publishing calendar.
Working a little in advance translates to more flexibility, as you have extra time to tweak or even replace content as needed. You also can head off potential technical glitches and won't have to worry about disrupting content if other concerns end up eating more of your day.
6. Get rid of distractions.
Those notifications on your phone? Yeah, nix 'em. That song you're crooning along with? Turn it off. The Pomodoro technique, which compartmentalizes work into intervals of about 25 minutes, is great for getting yourself to realize when there are too many distractions and you need a refreshing break. Quey recommends using the simple "tomato timer" app based on the technique to stay on track.
7. Get your rest and eat right.
What you're eating and how well you're sleeping play into your brain's ability to recharge and, subsequently, to focus. The more you take care of yourself, the more you can concentrate and crank out your content the way you need to.
8. Prepare first, write second.
Chefs have a technique called mise en place (French), which translates to "everything in its place". The idea is to get everything you need to cook set up before you actually start the cooking process. Apply the same method to your blog to speed up the writing and ensure a focused train of thought. For example, get your quotes, gather statistics and draft an outline.
9. Prioritize the content for the morning.
Yes, your urgent emails honestly might be urgent. But your content is important, too. Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media suggested to Quey that you should write early in the day when you are fresh. Jump on the other important stuff as soon as the blog is out of the way.
Keeping your blog updated and engaging can seem like a pipe dream given the demands of the modern workplace and overall society. But getting it to work is really just a matter of maximizing your focus and managing the time you have better. Give Quey's tips a try and you might find that creating and posting great content is the easiest work you have to do.