Most small business owners know that there are ways to use a blog for business, they just don’t know how to put one to use for THEIR business. It’s common for entrepreneurs, for example, to think along the lines of, “Well, it makes sense for a huge accounting firm that has a marketing department, because they have plenty of changing regulations and laws to write about – and the means to assign someone to do it. But I’m just a small … (fill in the blank: retail store, Realtor, ecommerce business).”
The truth of the matter is that almost every business can benefit from having a blog, and you don’t need to have an entire marketing department to create a good one. All you need is a plan!
If you’re one of those people who enjoys acronyms and easy-to-remember mnemonics, here are the three things to focus on for your blog’s editorial plan:
• Content (what you’ll write about, keywords to use, voice, length)
• Customers (who you’ll be writing for/distributing to)
• Calendar (how to develop consistency and unique topics)
Here are some specific steps to build your editorial calendar:
- Choose a spreadsheet program and create eight columns (the last 4 can be narrow columns since they’ll just be used to check things off).
- Label each column as follows:
• Column 1 = DATE
• Column 2 = TOPIC
• Column 3 = TARGET PERSONA
• Column 4 = KEYWORDS
• Column 5 = NEWSLETTER
• Column 6 = FACEBOOK
• Column 7 = TWITTER
• Column 8 = LINKEDIN
- Under the DATE column, fill in the dates you’ll post a blog. This should be realistic (perhaps twice a week to start) and consistent (say, Tuesdays and Thursdays).
- Under the TOPIC, choose a very specific, narrowed down subject that will give your readers at least a tidbit of advice. Think “lowest common denominator” here. In other words, if you’re a Realtor in Evergreen, Colorado, you could write about a specific neighborhood’s attributes (school district, mature trees, low taxes, low crime, etc.) So your topic might be: “10 Attributes of Evergreen Highlands.”
- Under the TARGET PERSONA, you’re going to list several specific readers you’d like to attract. In other words, who are you writing this for? In this case, since Evergreen Highlands offers a minimum of two acres (some zones for horses) and access to tennis courts, a pond and a barn, you might break “potential homebuyers” down to specifics like: “homebuyers with horses” and “retirees with incomes over $150,000 annually” and “wealthy homebuyers who play tennis and/or swim” or “wealthy homebuyers who enjoy seclusion.”
- Under keywords, you’ll want to think of search words and terms that your ideal reader might use: “Evergreen mountain property,” “Evergreen ranches for sale,” or “Colorado mountain property for sale” or even “Evergreen gated community.” (Remember, it doesn’t matter if Evergreen Highlands is a gated community; you’re putting yourself in the potential customer’s shoes for SEARCH TERMS.)
- The last four columns are for distribution purposes. After all, you need to let people know your blog post is up! You can add other forms of social media, of course, but Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are probably the most vital platforms to get your link out to the public. If you don’t have a newsletter, there’s no better time than the present to start gathering opt-ins! Be sure to include that option at the end of every blog post.
Remember, blogs aren’t about selling. They’re about providing useful information to position yourself as an expert. Keep your posts specific so you don’t run out of topics, include your keywords and search terms throughout, post consistently and don’t be afraid to see what your competition is doing, or better yet … not doing!