For businesses and the people who run them, habits are the foundation of everything you do – both good and bad.
Successful businesses and business owners are those that understand and work to develop GOOD habits while mitigating the effects of bad habits.
They are the ones that create a culture that fosters creativity and productivity from their staff, provide a clear guideline for how to act and treat each other and customers, and regularly review and make changes to improve these things.
In short, you can’t wing it when it comes to habits, even if it’s just you and a partner or a couple contractors.
So, why do so many businesses act as though they can do just that when building a blog?
Have you seen the state of the modern business blog? The vast majority have one of two problems:
- They aren’t updated often enough
- They’re loaded with impersonal news releases and product details
Just because blogging is an effective online tool doesn’t mean merely having one is enough. Your blog needs to be good. It needs to reflect your personality, the brand of your business, and the goal and ethics of your organization.
And it needs to do all of those things consistently.
What a Successful Blog Looks Like
A successful business blog will have a handful of traits in common, regardless of what industry you are in or who is writing the blog.
Here are a few of the most important:
- Frequent Posts – Write often. Every week at least, more often if possible. More importantly, be consistent. If you post twice a week, pick two days and stick to them.
- Funny and Personal – Be yourself. Don’t gloss everything over and hide behind the corporate line. Be funny and personalize your posts with stories. People eat it up.
- Engaging – Look for ways to engage people. Ask questions, mention comments in your posts, run Q&A sessions and build relationships that last with your content.
- Integrated with Other Content Channels – Link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube channels. Post content from there back and always list your blog posts on those sites.
- Uses Multiple Content Types – Create multiple types of content to reach different audiences. Videos, text, infographics, images – whatever you can think of.
Do these things and your blog will attract the kind of traffic you desire. More importantly, it will mobilize that traffic to take action on your website, return to read more and interact with YOU and your brand more often.
Creating the Habit
Step one in creating a habit is to identify the following:
- The Cue
- The Routine
- The Reward
The cue is simple – when you have something to say, write it down. Keep a notepad or install Evernote on your phone and computer and jot down ideas whenever they come to mind. Start looking for them at work, at home and in the world around you.
Take photos, record videos of your staff at work, ask for testimonials from your customers, interview other leaders in a related vertical – write and record the things that YOU would like to read or see on your blog.
The routine is the act of putting that content on your blog. Create one that works for you. I post to my personal blog AnthonyChatfield.com once a week, but I do 4-5 posts at a time in one day. It’s easier for me to keep up with and it gives me an excuse to sit down for a couple hours at Starbucks and write about something I want to write about (as I’m doing with this post).
Find what works for you and carve that time out of your day – or, if you simply can’t, hire someone to do it for you.
Finally, the reward.
The reward is NOT fiscal. At least not at first. Inbound marketing is about creating relationships with your prospects, providing valuable free information and engaging them in conversation about that content.
Nowhere in there do you “sell” or “schmooze”. You ask what THEY need and you give it to them.
It’s a new type of marketing and it is embodied best in a blog and supporting social media campaign. It’s also very hard for existing businesses to use, especially if they have existing marketing campaigns focused on outbound broadcasting.
But it works and in time, those people will become loyal readers. If THEY don’t buy your products, they’ll recommend you to someone who will.
Cementing Your Blogging Habit
Don’t expect results on day one…or day ten…or day 73. A blog’s popularity can explode in one night or it can take six months. The key is to remain consistent, help the people who do read it and keep putting value out there.
Do those things and I guarantee you’ll see the kind of surge of activity and engagement you’ve been looking for.
What do you see as the biggest challenge to your blog and inbound marketing plans? Do you have a plan in place and if not, what’s holding you back from getting started?