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How you can make your blog work harder for you

Make your blog work harder for you.

I know that a lot of you probably think that writing a blog sounds like a lot of effort. I’m not going to lie to you, it can be. There are plenty of people out there who’ve told me that they spent an entire afternoon trying to write a blog only to end up with something they weren’t happy with. It’s had them sending their blog post straight to the bin and they never try again. After all, you’ve got enough to do creating the rest of your marketing content without spending hours on one blog post, right? It doesn’t have to be like that. If you can write one blog a month (or get someone like me to write one for you) it can go much further than you think. It could even make creating the rest of your content much easier. I decided to see how far one blog post can go, so that you can discover how to make your blog work harder for you.

So, here’s my guide to some of the ways you can take one blog post and turn it into much more.

Video

I’ve started with this one because it creates the most work. You can use a blog post to inspire your videos and share a link to your post. You could use a live video to give a brief introduction or offer some tips. I create tips based videos with Ripl using still images so it’s not just my face on camera all the time. You could also share one tip in a weekly live if you want to go into greater depth.

Blog images

A good blog post should have at least one striking header image so why not reuse it? You can share an image with a snippet from your blog’s introduction on multiple platforms. If you use a DIY graphics platform like Canva you can create multiple images to showcase different bits of your blog, or even relevant quotes.

You can also share behind the scenes images. They can reflect your theme and show your audience the person behind the business.

Share your blog on other platforms

If you’re only marketing on Facebook, you’re probably missing a trick. That said, I don’t believe in spreading yourself too thinly either. Creating content for multiple platforms can get stressful very quickly. However, if you’re on Facebook and Instagram with a side order of LinkedIn, there’s no harm in sharing edited versions of the same thing as long as they’re not completely identical.

It makes your content go further and lets you see what kind of content works on different platforms.

Ask a question

Asking questions of your audience is a great way to get them engaged. It’s even better if you can get them talking about your blog post topic. You could ask about the things they struggle with or if they use any resources that could help. Of course, sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. For example, I could ask who writes a blog and who doesn’t. If lots of people say that they don’t I can follow up by asking why. It doesn’t just get people talking – it could also inspire future posts.

There you have it – I’ve set myself a challenge to create most of my content for this month from this blog post. If you don’t already follow me on Facebook come over and see how many posts I manage to create from just this one.

If you’d like me to create a blog post for you (and give you some ideas on how to reuse it) just email me to get the ball rolling. Or sign up to my email list here for a step by step guide to writing your own blog.

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How do you write a blog and keep your privacy?

blogging privacyOne of the many benefits of writing a blog (if you want to know the others read this) is that it helps your future customers get to know you. You can talk to them about the stuff they’re interested in like a human being rather than a corporate cardboard cut-out. A lot of people love the idea of buying from a small business but they’re wary of being ripped off. The end result is that they go and buy something from a reliable big name brand and not you. A blog helps you to overcome that by letting them see the person behind the business. Of course, the downside of this is that you have to put yourself front and centre. The idea of sharing your story is all very well but what if there are still parts of your life that you want to protect? The good news is that you can write a blog and still maintain your privacy. You just need to follow a few simple steps.

Consider the law

There are certain professions where you need to be careful about what you write. If you offer any kind of medical or psychological treatment, it goes without saying that your patients’ information is confidential. You could potentially still write case studies but they’d have to be heavily anonymised. You’d also still need the patient’s permission.

A lady at one of my workshops had signed an NDA which meant she wasn’t allowed to talk about her former employer at all. Even an anecdote could potentially be recognisable. In circumstances like that you should probably stick to referring to something that an experience taught you rather than the experience itself.

Set your boundaries

Before you start writing your blog it’s a good idea to consider what you’re willing to share. The ultimate aim in writing a blog is to promote your business. Your focus should always be on your customer and what they need to know. Personal information is where it helps you to show your customer that you’re their kind of person.

If you work with parents and have children yourself it gives you common ground. However you can still draw a line. Think about how much of your family life you’re willing to share and set your personal boundaries early on.

Give the edited highlights

Once you’ve decided how much information you’re able and willing to share, you can start getting specific. One of my key priorities is to protect my children’s privacy. As you can see, it doesn’t mean that I can’t mention them at all. There are so many common reference points between parents that you can be a bit generic and still strike a chord. (In fact it’s one of the few places where cliché can sometimes work.) Every parent knows the struggle of a non-sleeping baby or trying to get small children to put their shoes on.

Whatever you want to say, think about the ways you can offer a shared experience.

Other people in your blog

The way you talk about other people in your blog doesn’t just apply to your children. There’s a potential story in every encounter you have with a client, networking contact or even someone in a Facebook group. There are certain types of conversation that you might have on a regular basis, but others will be unique. Think about whether the person you’re writing about could be identified from the information you’ve given. If they are you might still be able to talk about them, but get their permission first. (In case you’re wondering, I’ve been in touch with NDA lady to get the OK from her.)

If you’d like to learn more about putting your personality into your marketing, sign up to my mailing list for useful hints and tips every month. You’ll also receive a copy of my free guide ‘Stop hiding your business!’

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The end of an era

end time to leaveThis week has a bit of an end of an era feeling for me. I’d only been in business for about 6 months when a friend got in touch to ask if I’d do some consultancy work for her. She worked in the legal department for a large company and they needed some support as one of the team was on maternity leave. It had left a gap that my expertise could fill. It was one day a week for about 6 months or so, which meant I could still build my business and work around my family.

There were a few changes in the business which meant that I ended up staying longer than originally planned. 6 months or so has turned into three and a bit years. Now the time has finally come for me to say goodbye and tomorrow will be my last day.

In a lot of ways this is a good thing. The work I was doing has nothing to do with writing and it’ll be good to get back to focusing on the business that I intended to build. I will miss the people though. One day a week in a normal office was actually kind of fun.

Don’t panic

It would also be easy for me to panic. When you’re self-employed it can be easy for big holes to open up in your income at incredibly short notice. It’s the sort of moment where you need to dig deep and possibly even resort to some motivational memes. (If that’s your thing.)

Why am I telling you this story? It’s because I know that most of you will have been in this situation. You’ve worried about falling off a cliff. Don’t give up. Keep going and you’ll be OK. (In all honesty, I’m writing this down so I can look back at it if I ever need a reminder.)

Start where you are

I’ve taken a bit of time to remind myself of the things I have going for me. A brilliant network, for one thing. Friends who will listen and business contacts who have my back. Even the roof over my head and the food in the fridge make me wealthier than a big chunk of the planet’s population. If my story strikes a chord with you, take a few minutes to consider what you already have. If you need to build something new, you can only start where you are.

The other thing to remember is that it’s easy to let worry make you desperate. There are plenty of powerless people in the world but I’m willing to bet that you aren’t one of them. You always have choices. I’m choosing to remember why I started my business in the first place and the boundaries that I’ve set around myself. Unless I’m down to my last pennies I’m still going to say no to a client that I can’t help. There are enough great people in my network that if I’m not the writer for you I’ll probably know someone who is.

When it comes to running a business I believe that we’re all in it together. So if you ever need a pep talk, a rant or a cuppa (virtual or otherwise), just shout. Have an amazing day.

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Why you need a blog for your business

you need a blogI’m generally not a fan of stating the bleeding obvious. I don’t like it when people talk down to me so there’s no way I’m going to do it to anyone. The trouble is, sometimes it leads me to credit people with knowledge that they don’t already have. This is not a criticism. When you’re a small business owner there’s a massive amount of stuff to learn. Even if marketing is towards the top of your list of things to get to grips with, the benefits of writing a blog could still be a long way down. If that’s the case for you, here’s why a blog could do wonders for your business.

It’s great for SEO

If SEO makes you want to hide, don’t worry. It’s basically increasing your chances of getting found in a Google search. There’s a lot out there about how Google algorithms work so I won’t repeat it here. However, if you write a blog that focuses on words and phrases that are key to your business then you’re more likely to be found when your customers search.

The words you choose depend on your business. You can choose words that reflect your services or target a particular region. It won’t surprise you to learn that blogging and writing both feature in my list. Just think about what your customers will be searching for.

It builds your profile

Profile building can be a massive amount of work if you let it. You can promote yourself in any number of ways, from online marketing to networking, public speaking and a whole host of PR strategies. You could, in theory, spend so much time promoting yourself that you don’t get any work done.

A blog can be a great way to share your knowledge and demonstrate your expertise. Write regularly and share your blog on relevant social media platforms and your reputation will start to grow. The best part is that you can outsource it if it becomes too time consuming.

A blog talks to your customers

The great thing about a blog is that they’re designed to be persuasive but not to give people the hard sell. Sometimes a potential customer will find your blog because they’re looking for a specific piece of information or a particular service. At other times they might start reading because it’s a subject they’re interested in. Reading a blog should feel a bit like chatting to a well-informed friend. You learn something but also come away feeling entertained.

The point is that a blog enables your customers to get to know, like and trust you. That can result in sales further down the line but it can also reach those people who need help straight away.

It’s endlessly reusable

I’m willing to bet that every piece of marketing advice you’ve ever heard has mentioned consistency. Wherever you share your message you need to be doing it regularly to have an impact. The main reason for this is that drip feeding allows people to absorb information slowly. That’s much more effective than dumping everything in their lap at once.

The problem with this is that it creates constant demand for content, even if you don’t post every day. It can get pretty tiring over time. However, if you create a blog once a month you can use it in lots of different ways. Use your blog post as a central theme and you share snippets with images, as tips and in videos. (I’m contemplating producing a template to show you how this works, so watch this space.)

If you like the idea of starting a blog but would rather get someone else to do it, let me help. You can find out more about my blog writing packages here or just get in touch at info@kirstyfrancewrites.co.uk.

Alternatively, sign up here to find out more about my 1:1 training and small group workshops to learn how to do it yourself.

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Is blogging dead?

blogging deadEvery so often you get a little flurry of articles about blogging and they all ask a variation on the same question. Yup, you guessed it. ‘Is blogging dead?’ Now, obviously I have a bit of a vested interest here. Writing blogs is a core part of my business so if everyone suddenly decides that blogs aren’t worth bothering with I might have a bit of a panic. Only a small one though. My granny was a farmer’s daughter and always taught me never to put all my eggs in one basket, so I do other stuff too.

So, is blogging dead? I don’t think so. Here’s why.

Blogging has changed

When blogging first emerged as a marketing tool it was easy to stand out because there weren’t that many people doing it. Audiences who were tired of hard sell marketing loved the fact that blogging offered useful information without the pressure. Since then it feels as if everyone and their budgie has a blog. The market is saturated and it’s harder to stand out.

The good news is that ‘harder’ is very different from ‘impossible’. These days, the key to building a successful blog is to treat it as part of a larger strategy. Frankly, if you want to succeed in business it’s exactly what you should be doing anyway. If all of your marketing posts have the same focus your blog can be a central piece of content that helps your audience get to know you and builds your reputation.

Video isn’t for everyone

If you really don’t like the idea of a written blog you can still do a video version. Even Facebook were taken by surprise at how quickly video has taken off and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere just get. The issue with a video blog is that you can’t say as much. Videos on social media are generally better in bite size form. You’ll probably be able to read this blog in about 5 minutes but if I sat in front of a camera and read it out to you then you’d swiftly nod off. I’ll generally do a video that gives a quick summary of a topic with a link to the blog if they want more detail, so they have a choice.

There’s also the fact that some people still prefer to read things. One of the main advantages for me is that I can read something while the kids build a Lego fortress around my feet. Try that with an unmuted video and I’ll suddenly have a 5 year old on my shoulder asking for YouTube. The point is that presenting your content in different ways means that you’re more likely to get the message across.

People are still searching

I keep hearing that SEO is dead, with keywords coming in for particular abuse. If you suspect that might be true, here’s a statistic for you – at the last count there were just over 63,000 searches on Google every second. That’s around 2 trillion searches a year. Google is still using its search algorithms to rank websites and individual pages into order of importance. That makes SEO important in my book.

What has changed are the techniques you need to use. Writing SEO content used to mean stuffing your blogs and website full of as many keywords as possible, regardless of whether they made any sense. When you’re blogging now it’s more important to create useful content that people will want to read. That way, when someone asks Google a question they’re more likely to find you as the answer.

If you’d like to find out more about how to use blogging as part of your marketing strategy, sign up to my mailing list. You’ll receive a copy of my free guide ‘Stop hiding your business’.

Further reading

If you’d like to read some interesting stats about blogging, here you go