This is especially bad because my blog is still relatively new. It’s a cardinal sin, really, like dead air on the radio, or not showing up on time to unlock the doors at the train station in the morning (if you’re from Lancaster, PA you’ll get that one).
OK, so how did this happen? A death in the family three days after my last blog post hit me pretty hard, and I lost my desire to communicate. Pretty simple really, but my reaction did take me by surprise.
Now I’m taking stock and asking what lesson there is to be learned.
Everyone has problems, issues and distractions that compete for our time, attention and energy. But unless we have three fundamental things in place, the first task to hit the shredder will be communicating online. Which is bad for marketing one’s business. The three things are:
1. Commitment. You have to commit to regular posts online, and that means blogging if you have a blog, posting to Facebook, showing up in LinkedIn, tweeting your beak off on Twitter, or pinning things to your board on Pinterest, or doing whatever else you need to do, wherever you are trying to be seen. Got to keep the promise. Got to keep muddling through even when you don’t feel like it.
2. A plan. This is where I fell down. Without developing a plan to get over the dry spells, you will go silent when life intrudes. You need to have a well-thought-out list of things to say, and fall back on it when necessary. You need an editorial calendar for your blog (with at least ten topics), a list of ideas for smaller posts on social media, and a metronome-like schedule for hitting your marks (for me it’s weekly for blog posts, and Monday and Thursday for social media posts ). Tip: when you sit down to write a blog post, write the next one too. Have it in the can, ready to spring on the world.
I’ve known and preached these things for a while; the difficulty I’ve had with editorial calendars is that ideas that seemed brilliantly inspired when first written down looked stale when I return in need of a good one. In my experience, the best blog posts are fresh and raw, based on current thinking.
The trick is to become re-inspired by your list and make it fresh. That takes work and practice, but it can be done. Top bloggers do it all the time. Take Ken Mueller’s bottomless idea bag. I will never approach his prodigious output– he blogs pretty much every day of the week– but most of us could learn by studying the processes he uses to keep the flow going, even if it’s only once a week or once a month.
3. A sense of who you are. This means, who are you in the context of your business, and what are you in business for? Do you primarily enjoy helping people? Or perhaps what really floats your boat is creating an excellent product, and the only way to do that is to listen to your customers. Not the same thing, but equally valid.
Most likely your blog exists as a support tool, part of marketing for your business. Only a tiny percentage of blogs are a stand-along product which the blogger has figured out how to “monetize.” So all you have to know is what your business is about, and communicate that in an interesting and helpful way.