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Most of us, even if we don’t make formal resolutions, like to use the new year for a brief pause and reflection on how we’re making progress on our goals. If you’ve carried that practice over to your business, you may have caught yourself making a few silent promises when it comes to your 2018 marketing plans.
Maybe you tried a few things in 2017 that didn’t turn out so well, or maybe you haven’t even started. Either way, we’re not here to shame you for not having a perfect content marketing strategy last year. We get it: you’ve had a lot on your plate with your business, drumming up new clients and managing the ones you already have. With all the chaos, it’s no surprise your marketing took a hit. But the beginning of the year is a great time to pause and assess your marketing strategies and find ways to improve them for the future.
Our experience with business marketing blogs has helped us identify the usual suspects when it comes to bad content marketing habits. If you want to do better in 2018 but don’t know where to start, here are a few habits to drop.
You don’t have to publish at exactly 9AM every Monday morning. But you should have a schedule, and you should stick to it. Consistency matters, for you and for your readers. It helps you keep your blog running and it signals to your audience that you’re serious about providing value.
Without a regular schedule, it’s simply too easy to push a post back. You can tell yourself that you’ll publish in a day or two, or you’ll make up for this week by putting out an extra post next week. Pretty soon your workload has built up and you’re skipping posts altogether. Without a regular posting schedule, it’s simply too difficult to build a blogging habit.
Find a good day to publish, and stick to it. Also have a time when your blog goes out. It doesn’t need to be rigid—“before 5PM” or “in the morning” will do. But follow through with your schedule, and you’ll have one last task hanging over your head every week.
Blogging is like exercise. When you first start out, it takes a lot of effort to get going. Your writing muscles are sore after just one post, and you can’t imagine getting up and doing it again next week, let alone a day or two later. But your blog needs feeding. If you only update it at a frequency that’s easy and comfortable for you, it will starve.
Many businesses don’t seem to have any conception of how often they should update their blog. For some reason, once a month often sounds like a respectable, manageable goal. But updating at such a sedate pace will get you nowhere quickly. Think about it: with only one update a month, you only have twelve blogs a year. That’s simply not enough space to dig deep into the nitty gritty of your business.
We have found that twice a week is a moderate pace for most small to mid-sized businesses. It’s enough to cover specific topics and build up long-tail keywords without exhausting their entire marketing budget. If twice a week sounds like too much, commit to once a week. That will still get your creative juices flowing and it will help you stick to a regular schedule.
Let’s say you have been blogging relatively often. Who’s seeing them? Your blog posts should gather organic search traffic over time, but in the meantime you are missing a significant opportunity if you don’t publicize your posts on social media.
It’s not hard: when your blog goes live, simply grab the link and post it on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter with a short sentence about what it’s about. Now your customers can see your blog even if they don’t visit your website all that often. If you don’t share, your people may not even know you have a blog.
Writing blogs posts is one thing. Writing good blog posts is another. And by “good,” I don’t mean “pristine.” (Perfection is the enemy of good, after all.) What I mean is: not lazy fluff.
You should have a quality standard on your blog, and the litmus test must be “does this provide value for my readers?” You can publish a perfectly proof-read blog with absolutely zero typos, but if the content matter is just another useless puff piece that fails to offer real solutions, insight, or expertise, then what’s the point?
Bottom line: Don’t publish stuff no one will want to read. Stop expecting a 100-word blurb about your latest sales product to “count” for your blog for the month. Cut the long, self-serving press releases full of dense corporate jargon. Be useful, engaging, and authentic. Anything less is a waste of time.
We’re writing this post on January 2nd. If you don’t read this till July, no worries: most of us who begin resolutions in January don’t make it through the first month. Who cares? Pick yourself up and keep going. There’s never a bad time to change your ways.
Content marketing is an important way to improve your business prospects for the better. We’re firm believers in the power of high-quality content, delivered in a timely manner, to people who actually want to read the wisdom you’re dishing out. Any time you realize you’re slipping on your blog, reset and begin again. There’s no reason to wait for 2019.