By Jeff Kline

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How to Blog Faster, Better and Stronger

Thursday, September 13, 2012

7 TIPS FOR BLOGGING MORE EFFICIENTLY

Does the phrase, “Not enough hours in a day,” mean anything to you? For chamber directors of marketing and communications the answer is always YES!

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So when you’re faced with 80 hours of work to finish in 40 hours each week, something is inevitably going to be kicked to the curb. Maybe you’ll decide to cut the monthly newsletter, or maybe it will be the direct mail campaign. But whatever you do, don’t give up on blogging.

In last week’s post, I discussed the reasons why blogging should be a priority - you’ll establish credibility, ignite conversations with your audience, and improve your website’s SEO. 

But how do you make blogging a priority without consuming all of your time? (Because let’s face it, that Business Leader of the Year luncheon isn’t going to promote itself.)

In today’s post, I will address a chamber director of marketing's biggest blogging pain points – lack of time, lack of people, and lack of ideas – and provide solutions to help you blog faster, better and stronger!

7 TIPS FOR BLOGGING MORE EFFICIENTLY

Tip #1: Schedule an appointment with yourself.

Pencil in a daily 30-60 minute meeting dedicated to working on your blog – alone. Treat it with the same level of importance as a meeting with a chamber trustee. Set a goal, ensure that you won’t be interrupted, and get some quality writing time in. As Isaac Asimov once said, “Writing is a lonely job.” 

Tip #2: Structure your brainstorm sessions.

Make your brainstorm meetings more efficient by following this format:

Step 1 – If you haven’t already, determine your blog categories. For example: Economic Development, Business Leadership, Member Spotlight, Workforce Development, The Best of (Your City)

Step 2 – Determine topics for each category. For example, under the category Business Leadership, you could write a post directed at CEOs and share tips for hiring innovative employees. 

Step 3 – Come up with format ideas. Instead of writing every blog post in traditional paragraphs, consider formatting posts as numbered lists (as I do often), questions and answers, or even a video. Interview transcripts also make great blog posts, particularly if you are writing a Member Spotlight post.

During your brainstorm session, create an Excel spreadsheet and organize your new ideas. Try to come up with a fairly equal number of topics for each category.

Tip #3: Outline each post.

The secret to efficient writing is creating an outline. As an example, I have created a mock-up outline based on the article 5 Tips to Find True Innovators from Inc.com:

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Tip #4: Plan ahead.

First, determine how often you will be able to post. If you post once a week (as I do), that’s 52 posts a year. Twice a week = 104 posts a year. Twice a month = 26 blogs a year.

You also need to think about what you’ll post when. Look through your categories and topics and assign publish dates to each. 

Put all of your plans into an spreadsheet and refer to it as your “editorial calendar." Start writing upcoming posts NOW, and try to get at least a month ahead.

Tip #5: Crowdsource.

Even if you’re a one-person marketing department, there are plenty of other potential bloggers in your office. Your Member Retention manager could share her sales expertise, your Research Director could write a data analysis, and even your chamber president might have time to write a quick note of appreciation to members. You could also reach out to your members and make a request for guest bloggers..

Tip #6: Repurpose content.

Don’t waste your time writing content that already exists. Instead, always be on the lookout for things that can be repurposed. Whether it’s a video of last month’s speaker, an article from your local newspaper, or a 2012 Economic Outlook factsheet, you can turn it into a blog. (Just be sure to provide a reference for any information obtained from a third-party source.)

Tip #7: Carry a small writing pad with you at all times. 

In my experience, long walks often lead to big ideas. Even when you’re not at work, your blog will be in the back of your mind. Have a notebook ready when an idea strikes. 

***

The inspiration for today's post comes from a comment I received on last week's blog. One reader brought up a problem many chamber marketing directors are facing – she understood that blogging is a valuable marketing strategy, but a lack of resources was making it difficult to implement. In response to her comment, I have shared the 7 tactics I use to increase my blogging efficiency. I hope they help you, too. 

Come back next week for the third installment of my Blogging for Chambers series!

YOUR TURN

  • What is preventing you from blogging?
  • Which resources are you most lacking - time, people, or ideas?
  • What aspect of blogging do you find to be most challenging?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and inspire upcoming posts!

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