Blogging is a terrific tool for small businesses, but the work of blogging eventually can get you into a rut. That’s why so many blogs stagnate and even die after a while.
Long-time friend Chris Brogan asked a pointed question about this, on Twitter.
Is your blog phoning it in? Are you tagging along in a pile of similar content? How will you break out?
Here are some of the techniques I have used to keep blogging through four years and over 1000 posts, even when my enthusiasm waned.
1. Go to an in-person event.
In early 2008, my energy for writing Small Biz Survival dwindled. Then I went to South by Southwest Interactive. A conversation there with Chris caused me to write my most popular post ever, and that kicked off one of my most productive blogging periods.
And this still works for me. In October this year, I went to BlogWorld Expo and had a great time. I hit a couple of really standout presentations, had wonderful conversations with friends old and new, and had a great time presenting a panel on real small businesses using interactive tools for marketing. When Rick Calvert asked for links to posts and photos that came from the event, I realized I had a small set of photos, and six posts so far. (I have another one in the pipeline for tomorrow, too.)
- Three speaking tips for wired audiences
- Six big Facebook tips for small business
- Is it worth paying for help with free tools?
- Starting small at Eyes-Lips-Face (video)
- Managing your social media marketing time
- Connecting Across (at Out Standing in my Field)
2. Quit writing at your site for one week.
Give yourself a break, and set a time when you’ll deliberately return.
3. Comment on other people’s posts.
Spend the week reading other people, and adding comments on their sites. Lots of times I’ll start leaving a comment and realize that I have enough to add to also turn that into a new post.
4. Be interviewed.
When other people ask me questions, they are coming from a new perspective. The questions frequently lead me to new answers or new ways of putting things together. That just happened again this week, this time with questions from @newentrepreneur.
5. Have conversations.
For the same reason as interviews, in-depth conversations also help me create new connections. When I roomed with Jean Warner (@jeanwarner) at BlogWorld Expo, she asked a lot of questions. She was also full of ideas and new concepts. It was incredibly helpful for me to try to see from her perspective.
6. Make room for other voices.
I was lucky to have started with my co-authors Jeanne and Mom, and I have become a collector of guest posters and regular contributors like Jon. Everyone has their own voice, their own perspective. Avoid the temptation to over-edit these contributions. Let the author shine on their own. Difference is a good thing, in this case.
What techniques help you break out?
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Great advice, thanks Becky! Sometimes just reading other blogs prompts me to write my own take on topics. I bookmark interesting posts and reflect on them later.
Ari Herzog says
Speaking of other voices, if you’re interested in sharing my voice on your blog, you know how to reach me.
Becky McCray says
DeepDish, that’s another good idea, especially if you use some system to manage and be able to find those posts later. Sheila Scarborough is making excellent use of delicious to track travel and tourism posts and articles as a resource.
Ari, I’d love to have you. I’ll get some ideas to you via email.
Having an editorial calendar has helped me a lot. I save ideas, links, thoughts in an Evernote folder, then use these notes to set up the calendar. When it is time to write, I don’t have to come up with an idea, and the writing is easier. I can always change the calendar if something new comes up, but I need the structure to stay fresh.
I also find it helpful to be around people (in person and online) who are enthusiastic about blogging.
Innkeeper Seely says
Going to an event is energizing. I just returned from an innkeeping conference that focused heavily on social media. The “big names” (Tim Brady, Scott Crumpton, Jeff Logan, and TripAdvisor co-founder Stephen Kaufer – all are big in the innkeeping web world) presented interesting materials that were “aha” moments for me. I can finally see how to integrate the blog with FB and Twitter. Now to schedule the time to implement the plan…
Becky McCray says
Gladys, I like the way you add notes as part of your calendar. That adds a new level of usability.
Seely, that’s exactly what I’m talking about! Now, as for finding time… that is a whole ‘nother series.
Mark Ijlal says
Three tips that work to re-ignite my blogging passion:
1. Reading blogs on topics (both business and passions) that simply don’t interest me. I would go to Alltop and simply click on an alphabet, select a topic that I would never visit and read 4-5 different blogs. It always exposes me to new ways of looking at things and reboots my own thinking that how I can bring these ideas back to my own world. On a side benefit you also get to see great design and layout in different blog niches.
2. Reading and re-imagining classic books. How would David Ogilvy’s principles (from Ogilvy on Advertising) apply to advertising on Facebook today? How about Secrets of Closing A Sale by Zig Ziglar strategies work in a world that frowns upon cold calling that used to be the method of prospecting for most businesses not too long ago?
3. Reading USA Today. Seriously there is so much happening in the world at any given point that you can find a starting point to trigger a blog post or a series of them right from this ‘light’ newspaper that actually does a great job of collecting headlines from all over the place.
Becky McCray says
Mark, thanks for sharing your own techniques.