Whenever someone asks, “How can I increase traffic to my website?” the answer is invariably, “Regularly post new content.” You could be alone in the forest where the proverbial tree fell when you ask this question, and you’d probably get the same answer from a passing bear. The bear might even offer you a course on making website content for only $49.95 USD, involving three easy web seminars.
People keep saying that your company blog needs to be more than press releases, and they’re right. They’re often kind of short on details, though. So, here, with no need for seminars or payment from you, I’m here to let you in on the super secret recipe for blogging success that I mostly learned by reading other blogs. Oh, and there was some personal experience, I guess.
No, but seriously, some of these tips for maintaining a stream of regular content have worked quite well for me. Other ideas on this list worked really well for other people. If you’re just starting to put together a blog for your company, there’s a lot here that you’ll probably find useful.
1. Keep Notes
New writers and creators might have lots of ideas of things they’d like to try. and that’s great! Start with that. But once that initial pool of ideas is exhausted, you will most likely find that coming up with new ideas is one of the harder bits of being creative.
Now some people like me can only come up with new ideas when we sit down and force ourselves into a certain idea-finding mindset. Others, however, come up with ideas all the time, and then forget them. Don’t let that happen to you. Grab a note-taking app on your phone, for example, and write that stuff down! Keep all of your content ideas in one place, so you can pick and choose from them when it’s time to sit down and work.
2. Look for Contributors
This option requires a bit of a budget, if you want to do it right. But, if your company is large enough, you might consider investing in hiring a writer/creator part-time, or on a freelance basis.
This is not as easy as it sounds, though. You want a writer who knows at least enough about your field or industry that they don’t sound like complete amateurs. You want a contributor who can meet deadlines. You want one that can take suggestions. And ideally, you want one that has their own voice, a distinct style to create a personal connection with your readers/listeners/viewers that they’ll keep coming back for. And then you want one that’s within your price range.
As they say: cheap, fast, and good. Pick two.
3. Start a Series
One of the easiest ways to keep regular content going is to start a series. I don’t mean a series of articles that has two-to-five articles and that’s it. Those can provide some content, but they have an ending point by nature. I’m talking about a series that can be continued nearly ad-infinitum if you make a new installment every week, every two weeks, or every month.
Easy ideas for this kind of content include:
- State of the industry articles
- Compilations of resources (ie the 25 best tools for X)
4. Start a Podcast
Don’t let anybody tell you that you have to spend a ton of money to start a podcast. There are some decent ones out there that have been recorded (and even filmed) on higher-end mobile phones. Just grab some friends and colleagues in your field, sit down, and talk about your industry.
It helps to have a short outline of topics you’d like to discuss, but otherwise, keep it fairly casual, and don’t make it too long. Then just put up an episode on your blog regularly. Once a month is fine to start with, if you’re quite busy.
If the podcast in particular really takes off, then you might consider investing more in equipment.
5. Contribute to the Conversation
In every industry, the people who blog about it tend to follow some trends. Whenever a big story comes up, read what others have to say on it, and write a response. Well, you could try to be first to get your opinion out there, but that’s a rough game that would require some sleepless nights.
Responses can take a few forms. You can politely point out things you disagree with other people on to provide a different perspective. You can respond to people you agree with, but try to build on the points they made, and look for things they might have missed. Lastly, you can just point your own readers to content that you can’t find any fault with. Yes, that’s an option.
6. Editorial Calendar
Put together an editorial calendar. It’s like an outline for your blog, but you put in a calendar format. Simply put, an editorial calendar does for your blogging what any calendar does for the rest of your life. Once you have your regular posts and already-written posts on the calendar, you can immediately see where you might be missing anything.
You can make one with a tool as simple as Google Calendar, and keep it synced with everyone who contributes to your company blog. If you use a CMS like WordPress, there are plugins like the appropriately-named Editorial Calendar to give you an easy calendar overview of posts that are actually in your CMS. From there, you can move posts around as you see fit.
7. Build Your Writing Confidence
One of the things that was most difficult for me as I started writing was the simple yet panic-inducing fear of failure. Nothing kills a writing/creative habit like just being sure that you’re is going to suck anyway, so why try?
Practice is one of the more obvious answers to this conundrum, and it’s absolutely essential. However, you can get some confidence by just preparing yourself correctly. Prepare yourself by reading, a lot. I’ve mentioned CopyBlogger maybe a thousand times, and I’ll reference a thousand times more. They offer good writing advice.
Prepare to write by making sure you have a solid outline that covers everything you want to mention. Get some good music going, or find a quiet place to work. Just make sure you’re calm and feeling good. It makes it a lot easier to just focus on making something that will keep your users coming back.