“My favorite thing about the work I do is when I sit down at the end of the week and write my blog.”
Said no business owner ever.
Seriously, I have yet to meet someone running a small or solo business who actually looks forward to blogging. They love the idea of blogging; they understand the need to communicate their expertise via a blog; but sitting down at the computer and actually writing one is another story.
I was working with a client recently who was enthusiastically agreeing with all of my recommendations – a jazzed up Facebook page with more engaging posts, an occasional e-newsletter to her customers, a larger presence on LinkedIn, and a foray into Pinterest.
“Yes! Yes to all of these things!” she said, in so many words.
“Now, let’s talk about blogging,” I said.
You would have thought I had suggested she walk through fire while juggling china cups. She refused to even consider it. I told her the benefits of blogging (all 500 of them). I told her what she’d be posting on LinkedIn would be halfway to a blog post. I gave her 10 blog topics off the top of my head that she could write in her sleep. I offered to write the first two for her. I offered to bake her a cherry pie. She wouldn’t budge. (I really thought the cherry pie thing was going to do the trick.)
On another day, I’ll write more about how to break through those chains and kick the no-blog habit, but for now, let’s say you’ve decided to dig in your heels and not blog. There are some alternatives that could come close to getting the job done without the full commitment that a blog commands.
Starting out, you can write a short e-newsletter with some things you want your customers to know about what’s new with your business: sales, specials, new products, changes in how your business is run. Write a one-paragraph welcome, the same way you would write something at the start of an email in which you’re sending a friend a recipe or a link. You’ve just communicated with your customers in a way much like a blog would, but to a smaller, more select audience.
Guest blogging on others’ sites
If you can’t bring yourself to blog weekly or even monthly, you might wrap your head around blogging once. Or twice. One-off blog posts written for other bloggers can get your message out there, broaden the scope of your audience reach, and forge new relationships with others in your field. Anyone who has a weekly blog will welcome the chance to take a week off and turn the wheel over to you.
Start by coming up with a topic that’s timely, relevant and on which you can write with experience and authority (in other words, something you know a lot about). Think about some blogs you follow that would be a good fit. Shoot the owner an email, asking if you can guest blog. When writing, be sure to end your blog post with a short bio of you and your business, and link to your business website.
Long, bloggy posts on social media sites
Have you ever been writing a quick Facebook post and suddenly you look down and you’ve written a 500-word soliloquy? (The fact that that is a blog post is probably not lost on you.) That won’t fly on social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram, but Facebook and LinkedIn roll out the welcome mat for posters like you.
On LinkedIn, you can run that post as an article. LinkedIn articles are treated differently than regular LinkedIn posts and will show that you are promoting your expertise.
On Facebook, your post can be 63,206 characters long — that’s long — and you won’t be penalized for adding photos, so there’s a lot of room there. Super long Facebook posts aren’t ideal, especially considering that many Facebook users are “on Facebook” on their phones. Long posts can be off-putting, because they’re not what users are expecting. Traject says the ideal Facebook post is 40-50 characters. But if written well, if you draw your readers in and keep them interested in what you have to say, you can write what amounts to a blog directly on Facebook.
If you know you should blog but aren’t there yet, set a goal: This month, write an e-newsletter and send it to everyone in your life and work. Next month write a guest blog and find someone to publish it. The month after that, take something you were going to post on Facebook, expand it and post it as an article on LinkedIn and as an expanded post on Facebook.
As you’re doing these things, you may find yourself thinking you have more ideas for these non-blogs down the road. And that might just lead to a real life, living, breathing blog.
And then? You might get a cherry pie from me.
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Diane Laney Fitzpatrick of Digital Content and Services helps small businesses DIY their social media and digital media. She can be reached at email@example.com.