Is it just us or can blogging be kind of weird? Maybe even a bit intimidating? If you’re struggling with the idea of starting a blog for your business, you’re not alone. Your marketing maven has put together a cheat sheet to a home-run blog post.
You can break down a blog into four parts. Think of it like this:
SHAREABLE CONTENT + CORRECT TYPE OF ARTICLE + RIGHT LENGTH + GOOD IMAGES = A GREAT BUSINESS BLOG
PART 1: SHAREABLE CONTENT
Make sure your posts are “shareable” meaning you have a Social Sharing option at the beginning and end of your blog pieces. This will allow interested people to share with their friends and in return increase your blog’s exposure.
The topics need to be interesting and relevant. Below are some ideas of what types of articles you should get started on! Start your blog off with a catchy headline. This will immediately provoke interest and engage your reader.
PART 2: TYPES OF ARTICLES
#1 - Relevant Q & A’s
What questions do you receive from new clients over and over again? These are the questions you should answer in a Q & A blog! Start keeping track of repeat questions and begin an archive of answers. Having answers to these common questions make you look like an expert and a resource!
You could also reach out to leads and ask them what they want to know about your business. One way you can do this is through a short survey via. Survey Monkey or another survey service.
#2 - Break Down Hot Topics
Explain a “hot topic” or a topic that you’ve found most of your new clients don’t know much about. You can make a series out of a topic so that you articles stay short and sweet -- this strategy piques audience interest and offers you more opportunities to post.
#3 - Interview Guests
Sit down with one of your favorite business consultants and ask them questions about their process. Get some great advice that can prepare your current and/or potential clients. Depending on what your business is, these guests will change drastically. So make sure your guest is connected enough to your business that it makes sense to post about them. It should not be a stretch for your audience to connect them back to your business.
#5 - Puff Pieces
Also known as success stories. Yes, those feel-good stories you get to be a part of everyday! When you have an exceptionally great experience with a client should write about it! Of course you should ask them for their permission first, but real client stories are a great way to tell your audience you truly care about the people you serve and that your work MATTERS.
PART 3: LENGTH
The ideal length for a blog is something your audience can read in under 10 minutes. This is usually around 1,600 - 2,000 words. Anything longer you risk losing their attention. Even shorter articles broken down into easy to read sections, ie. “5 Tips to [Insert Topic Here]” are best for quick reads and are easily digestible.
PART 4: IMAGES
A high-quality featured image is important as an aid for your text. These images should be crisp and clear, no blurry or pixelated photos. They should also match the topic of your article. Generally, lighter and brighter pictures are better than really dark photos. Also, make sure that you are not “stealing” photos from the internet. Taking your own images is best, but you can also purchase stock photos for relatively cheap or find public domain photos online.
Originally written for Montana Association of REALTORS® as “How to write a good Real Estate Blog” and adapted for A & M Marketing.
“Doodling is just a visual map of what you see, hear, and think.” - Melissa Hughes
I love getting podcasts from my friends. Most recently I was gifted episode 62 of Chris Spurvey’s podcast, Leverage Neuroscience to Become a Better Entrepreneur with Melissa Hughes. Dr. Melissa Hughes is the Founder and Principal of the Andrick Group and author of Happy Hour with Einstein. She recently facilitated a session at the “No Longer Virtual” conference in Atlanta where she met my gal pal Sarah Elkins. Sarah was the conference organizer and is a huge podcast fan.
The episode covered a lot of stuff from the anatomy of the brain, gratitude, productivity, multitasking, and doodling (my personal favorite). Melissa connects doodling with successful brainstorming and big thinking.
I’ve been doodling for as long as I can remember. As a kid I would choose drawing over just about anything. In college, my notepads and planners would be filled with not only words, but drawings. When I heard this podcast I finally knew that my doodles were more than just graphite on paper, they were my brain trying to remember, solve, and understand the world around me. Here are some powerful ways you can implement doodling in your everyday life and/or your business.
#1 - Taking Notes
If you’re at a conference, in a meeting, or listening to an online class, then sketch noting (as Melissa calls it) is a great alternative to typing out plain notes. Doodling will allow you to capture things that words could never illustrate. I suggest using more than one color in order to highlight important things or to add contrast to your drawings.
#2 - Problem Solving
Step away from the Word document. If you have a problem you are trying to solve and you take a chance to draw it out, then you can see how the problem and the solution comes together as you put it down on the piece of paper. Melissa claims that doodling is the essence of “whole brain thinking” and uses more areas of your brain to allow you to tap into deeper moments of cognition.
#3 - Brainstorming
Doodling is not linear, which allows you to reach ideas outside of the one-way path that you might be taking. I almost always doodle my ideas when I am just beginning a project, it helps me visualize and construct a tangible idea out of my thoughts. Try it out! Get your group of core project participants together, give them some different colored pens, and see what happens.
Learn more about doodling in Melissa’s book Happy Hour with Einstein.