If you made any resolutions for your small business this January, one of them may have been to increase your blogging activity.
Whether you’re launching a new enterprise or trying to improve the online presence of your current business, blogging is a key part of your digital tool kit. Good digital content is a great way to communicate with customers, build the online character of your brand and boost search engine optimisation (SEO).
To be really effective, you need to do it regularly. Not only will this make your website copy look fresh and active for the benefit of search engines, you could also increase your social media followers. When someone becomes renowned for writing good, engaging blogs, people start looking out for those updates.
But blogging takes time, energy, ideas and a bit of skill. Making space in your schedule and creative brain to do this often is no small task. If you’re looking for topic inspiration, here’s a list of 20 quick ideas for blog content.
But how do you get into the habit of blogging regularly?
There used to be a widespread belief that habits, of any kind, take 21 days to form. So, if you wanted that daily run to become an automatic part of your routine, instead of a constant battle with your lazier self, you’d need to do it consistently for three weeks before your subconscious took over.
Sadly, this idea has been challenged by research that claims the process of acquiring a habit could be a much more longwinded affair. A 2009 psychological study found that on average, it takes at least three times as long – 66 days, in fact – for an activity or action to become second nature.
Oh, and the more difficult or arduous the activity, the longer it takes to become ingrained in your psyche.
If you found that all a bit depressing, never fear – here are five useful tips for staying on top of your blog:
- Block out diary time for blogging. If you view writing your blog as an afterthought, that’s what it will remain. Like anything that should be prioritised, treating it as a priority will help to get it done. Telling yourself that you’ll quickly knock out a blog post at the end of the day, if you’ve got everything else done first, will result in a blog page that stays empty.
- Try to see blogging as a fun, enjoyable job. Maybe you don’t naturally enjoy writing but remember, you’re not really writing. You’re communicating with your existing customers and potential new ones, telling them what’s brilliant about your company or products. You love doing that, right? Bam – blogging just became your new favourite job.
- Reward yourself every time. If you really can’t get to a place where you enjoy blogging, tie an enjoyable outcome to it. Whenever I bath my dog, I give him a treat afterwards. We humans are no more complicated, really. Can’t stand blogging? Grit your teeth and plan to do something you do enjoy as soon as it’s done. This could be your favourite work-related task, taking a break to chat to your best pal or something to tempt the tastebuds. (There’s a Toblerone in the fridge with your name on it…)
- Think about the visual impact of not updating your blog. The deal is the same with blogs as it is with social media. If you post a few items, then go silent for weeks, months or years, visitors to your website may conclude that the business has stopped trading. It’s okay if you decide that you don’t want to blog more than once a month, but it needs to look deliberate. Consistency is the key. Remember too, blogs don't have to be essays. Short and snappy is definitely better than nothing.
- Last, but not least: don’t bother. Delegate the task to someone else who will get it done regularly, to a high standard. Bring in a capable member of your team or hire a freelance writer, agree a strategy and let them take care of the hard work.
Then you can sit back and congratulate yourself on acquiring such a smart new habit!