I have cautioned people about starting a blog without a plan. The first month is always easy as there is a backlog of ideas to share with people. After those ideas have been flushed out, what is next? Without as answer to that question, maybe a blog isn’t the right choice.
What if you don’t have a choice?
What if you are someone who makes a living upon your reputation? Maybe you are a freelancer in a creative space like web design or a professional speaker/writer trying to own part of the industry’s mindshare. What if you are spinning-up a new company and you want to prove to potential clients what you bring to the table?
In those situations, a blog can be a powerful marketing tool. I’ve had a few conversations on the topic in the past month and I thought I’d share a few tips.
Blog that Presentation
Presentations are great. You get a chance to speak to a group of people. Whether you use slides, a whiteboard, or just free-form it, you are front and center. Those ideas make great fodder for blog posts.
- Test Your Ideas: Often I will take an idea I am introducing in a presentation and test it out in a blog post. I want to see people’s reaction so I can tweak it in the final product.
- Extract Your Key Points: Every presentation has several key points that you want your audience to take away. Whether they are things to do on Monday or key strategies to keep in mind, these points make great blog posts. For new presentations, you should be able to pull out three posts…at least.
- Share the Conversation: Presentations are not given in voids. There are people that watch them. There are questions, reactions, and conversations that take place. Blog about those aspects. Share what people were thinking.
Those are three simple areas that presentations can start to stimulate ideas for posts. That doesn’t even include presentations that you watch, the mood at a conference you attend, or the conversations held after hours. All are ripe with fresh posts.
Blog that Meeting
Have you met with a client or a prospect? Did it go picture perfect? Likely not. That conflict, however minor, is perfect blog material. While it is critical to not share too much about any client, you don’t want to violate their trust, you can still use the material. Here are some tips.
- Write Today, Publish Later: Often I will have a situation where I have some great material but I cannot blog it because it will be obvious who I am talking about. In those situations, I draft the post and sit on it for months. Once sufficient time has past, I edit the post and publish it. This allows me to share the lessons while protecting the privacy of my clients.
- Group Experiences: Sometimes you encounter a meeting that feels a lot like some previous meetings at other clients. This is great because you can now write about a trend. You aren’t talking about a single organization but many of them.
- Focus on the Positive: Never write in such a way that would make a client or prospect look bad. Focus on what was learned and how hurdles were overcome. If a past client looks at a post and sees themselves in the story, you have to make sure that they, at worst, appear neutral. It doesn’t matter how long you wait, this should always be the case.
The key concept here is sharing experience. You earn it every day. Share it with everyone.
Tying it Together
Remember when you started your blog? You had all those great ideas that were quickly published? How many people read your blog when you started and writing? Those ideas and posts still can help you.
Take the above opportunities and tie them back to your original posts and ideas. Use them to illustrate your ideas and build on them. Link back to the original posts. Look for others writing about the same concepts and tie them together on your blog.
When done correctly, your blog becomes a pyramid. You have the foundational concepts of who you are and what you believe shared in the beginning. The rest of the time, you are building upon that foundation, reinforcing and refining those concepts until it is clear for all to see.
So get up off your duff and go revive your dead blog.