Last night I went to a great local, business focused, Meetup to see what the presenter Owen Clark of ByzHub fame had to say about creating blog content. The title of the presentation was How to Create 60 Days of Content in 60 Minutes and as someone who has multiple blogs this seemed like a great way to spend an evening. Plus, I’ve been subscribed to Owen’s blog ByzBlog for about a six months and have attended other events he’s organized. In fact Owen has fueled a few of my blog posts including this one about Cameron Herold and more recently one about Google Places so I knew my time would be well spent.
The presentation began, as most do, with a PowerPoint type of presentation. Owen speaks well and he knows to avoid bullet points so we were off to a good start. Better yet within a few minutes he had the 2 dozen of us break into small groups and actually “do” something. Thank you Owen!
He had us use each other to create a list of blog topics. Here’s how this worked.
- Get in small groups, 4-5 max.
- Person 1 gives their 45 second elevator speech about what they do.
- The people listening to the elevator speech then spend 2 minutes asking questions that Person 1 DOES NOT respond to. This is harder than it looks because we are all conditioned to answer question that are asked of us.. It’s polite 🙂 Person 1, instead of answering the many great questions, simply writes them down.
- The next person now gives their 45 second elevator speech.. Lather, rinse, repeat…
By the end we all had a dozen or more questions that can be reframed into great content for blog posts. Brilliant, eh.
I don’t feel bad for sharing this, this isn’t new, I’m not giving away Owen’s tightly held secret to successful blogging. This is a common practice among professional (and often team) bloggers, writers, journalists, newsletter writers, etc. What is new is bringing it into the business community. This is the very type of information that those new to blogging need to get going in the right direction and it’s not something you inherently know or are exposed to, unless you spend some time in the writing community. This is also THE way to present this type of information when you get the chance to. Interactively, hands on, lets do this, kinda stuff.
Other great take-aways from the presentation include:
- Blog regularly – Once a week really is a minimum to make it a habit.
- Blog briefly – 300 words or less (I have proven this is impossible for me).
- Blog connectively – in other words, make sure your blog posts get shared throughout your social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc and your posts are easy to share (use WordPress to do this easily.. seriously, just do it).
- Blog with a purpose – For business that means to get people to buy from you.. eventually.. so a clear call to action is key for business bloggers.
- Blog for others – Find out what your customers and potential customers want to know and blog about that.
- Blog ownership – Remember your website and/or blog is most likely the only real estate that you actually own on the internet. Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn.. We’re all just squatting and can be tossed at any time. This is big – own your domain name, ideally it’s your name or your business name, or both and all derivative of AND own your website. Make sure your name(s), content and your site are yours, always!
For a fuller and more accurate reflection of Owen’s thoughts on this check out his post on Blogging. It’s great advise and if followed will get you off to a good start.
As for me.. This isn’t a purely business blog. Ok, it’s 25% business, but it’s also 50% school and 25% just stuff I want to share so I feel ok breaking most of the “rules”. Having said that I do blog for other businesses and you can bet your boots that I do exactly what Owen suggests on those sites.
Do you have any blogging tips for new bloggers or business owners thinking of adding a blog to their marketing plans?