A Writer's Life/Writing

Why June Was A Blogging Bust

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
Why June Was A Blogging Bust

Like many bloggers, I have good intentions to blog at least once a week, and my earlier goal was to try to tap out two a week for my own blog.

But now, here I am at the end of the month and I’ve not a single post to my credit. This is my attempt to save face for June.

Here’s what my workload looked like this month:

  • Three blog posts for tree.com, my last as they are shutting down
  • Two articles and four emails for a high-tech lead nurturing campaign
  • Two press releases for a financial crowdfunding company 
  • Two Case Studies for RainToday.com, plus two interviews for an additional two case studies
  • One newspaper story for the La Conner Weekly News, on the the adoption of the last turkey in La Conner
  • Completition of a re-write of a patient guide for a LASIK practice.

 All total, that’s 11 projects for the month.

The list  doesn’t count the continuing work I’m doing to create a white paper and several web articles for a large consulting firm or the marketing outreach I’ve done to several prospects for new projects.

On top of these assignments:  

I also read or finished reading:

  • The little Big Things by Tom Peters
  • eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee 
  • Selling to Big Companies by Jill Konrath
  • Conversations with Tom Robbins edited by Liam Purdon and Beef Torrey

 I also welcomed three new distractions to my office in the middle of June, which is when my three teenagers went on summer break.

With the Fourth of July on Monday, I’m sure blogging will be way down on my list.

But I’m going to make an editorial calendar of all the ideas I’ve been noodling, and have saved all over the place – notes, in notebooks, on my computer, etc.

I really want to share what I learned at MPU’s bootcamp, the emerging trend of corporate journalists, and of course, what makes great content.

I promise to do better in July. Really. Honestly.

How Was Your June? Are things picking up for you or are they slowing down? I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

Flag and Too Late Photos copyright M. Sharon Baker

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Content/How To/Writing

What Should You Write About? Five Blog Post and Website Content Ideas to Explore

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
What Should You Write About?  Five Blog Post and Website Content Ideas to Explore

One of the biggest problems small businesses and solo professionals have when they start to blog is figuring out what they should write about.

The second is what they should write about after they run out of ideas from their initial list.

As a writer and a journalist, I was trained to constantly come up with ideas. (My problem is finding time to write for me rather than for clients – but that’s a good problem to have!)

I am currently blogging about small business for Tree.com, a new site launched earlier this month by Lending Tree.

 As I looked over the posts I’ve written, I noticed several patterns that you can use to generate new blog post ideas of your own.

You can use these ideas to generate content for your website as well.

1) Write About Lessons Learned From a Book

I recently checked out Tim Ferriss’ book, the Four Hour Work Week. While most of his plan is a bit unrealistic for me, I did learn a few tips about time management, which I turned into a post called How to Work Less By Working Smarter.

Anything you learn from a book is good fodder for a blog post, whether it be nonfiction or fiction, related to your profession or not.

2) Steal an Idea From a Topic Discussed By a Group

Sales is not my forte, so I joined 100 for 100K, a group created by Sales Detective Lori Richardson and her partner in crime Peter Notschke of Score More Sales. My blog post called 5 Ways to Gain Trust and Grow Sales was generated from the group’s discussion of that very topic.

Think about the groups you belong to and examine what’s important and what’s being discussed. Write about what you learned or about shared observations.

3) Interview Experts to Share Their Expertise

As you connect with people, and learn about what they do, I’ll bet you are learning something new that others might be interested in too. Why not honor your new connection with a blog post that can help them establish their expertise while at the same time teaching others? Ask them what they’d like to share and then interview them.

Lori Richardson/Score More Sales

That’s what I did with Lori Richardson and Diane Bridgwater of Visual Communication for blog posts called Three Reasons Your Small Business is Failing and Are Print Marketing Materials Dead?

I have two more blog posts penciled in on my calendar, one on webinars, the other on promotional give away items based upon this idea with two more new 100 for 100k connections.

4) Review a Cool Site, Tool or Resource

A past client of mine created a cool site every retailer should know about, especially small businesses needing financial help during the recession.

ROI is a Cool Financial Resource for Retailers was a no brainer post for me to write.

Think about tools you use or sites you dig – although you may think everyone knows about them, I’ll bet half or more of your audience doesn’t. Write about a site and let people know why you like it and why they should go there.

5) Write about What You Know, Ideas Related to Your Expertise

Every small business that wants to increase their website traffic or increase their exposure to the media needs to create great content.

 The following four posts ideas were Ice Cream Cart for Sale photo by M. Sharon Bakergenerated from my own expertise and based upon the case studies and white papers I write, the content I develop for others and based upon my experience as a journalist.

Create informative posts about your industry or services you offer in a generic way.

Don’t talk about the services you offer but why something might be beneficial or how something works.

 A good example of this is the post Use Customer Stories to Grow Revenues.

This post doesn’t talk about my love of writing case stories or why you should hire me to write them.

It talks about why case studies are important, it gives you a couple of examples, and I give you the basic four-part formula to write one.

 

Tell Me: How do you develop new ideas for blog posts? Do you have any tips to share?

Ice Cream Cart Photo: M. Sharon Baker

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Content/How To/Writing

Great Content Idea: How to Work with Me

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
Great Content Idea: How to Work with Me

Biasto Restaurant's Orange Confit by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures

Do your prospects know how to work with you?

Creating “How To Work With Me” content for your blog or website may give prospects the information they need to hire you, shortening the time it takes to hire you.

I’m creating How To Work With A Writer content for my website, and case studies that demonstrate what benefits my clients have achieved by working with me.

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