Because You Have Better Things To Do Other Than Blog

We’ve talked a lot about people making a shift from micro-blogging to real blogging of the past few years. For us here at Design Theory I think it’s an awesome shift in acknowledgement in a fantastic medium. The main reason why this is great is because we now have so much great content online about almost any thing you can think of. From a business prospective, blogging is continuing to place smaller businesses ahead of their bigger competitors because of their rich content being read and shared by many.

That’s all fine and dandy, but what about all the other “more importing” things you are trying to keep a focus on in your business?  What I’d like to do is sympathize with you because I feel your pain. You want to be out there, you want more people to know about your products and services, but to take the time to write something special about them every once in a while is just not in you schedule.

Well let me first explain that blogging is a great free way to advertise about your business. Not to say that all your posts need to be just about your business, they do need to be informative and offer ways to solve problems for people in your industry. But while you’re explaining the how to’s, instructions, and shortcuts, your readers are engaged and that’s the best time to offer them to seek your products and services that do just what they’re looking for.

The use of social media helps to push your posts out to areas and people who you normally wouldn’t have direct access to.  I shouldn’t have to explain more on this as by now you should understand how this can snowball from a post to a tweet, to a comment, to a share, to a forum, to Google search, and more.

So time right, that’s usually the biggest issue. I’m here to offer you a free Blog Editorial Calendar. An editorial calendar is basically a really easy way to control the content being published from your website. If you sometimes get ideas on things you want to write but don’t have time to write them, jot them down on this calendar and when time comes for you to write you’ll be able to pick up where you’re initial thought started. Fill out the form below to get your free custom copy of our editorial calendar that you can easily edit in Microsoft Excel to use for your own media.

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Getting over the Hump – An Inspiration for Blog Writers Block

Even those who have great aptitude in writing sometimes find themselves with literally NO WORDS! Unlike our verbal language, writing is actually one of the most difficult activities that we humans use to formalize communication sin la boca (without your mouth if you don’t speak Spanish).  It sounds simple but as Wikipedia has defined it:  writer’s block is “a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand.”  Uh, yeah- I couldn’t have said it better.  But what does one do when the deadline is looming and the children are to bed and it’s man vs. machine and you realize…I’VE GOT NOTHIN’!  Thank God writing pro’s like Mike Rose (famed UCLA Graduate School faculty member and author) even acknowledges that it truly is “an inability to begin or continue writing for reasons other than lack of basic skill or commitment“. Whew…I’m off the hook a little!  But now what do I do about it?

Why do you we do this to ourselves…it‘s supposed to speak back to you right? Like in some gone from a book to the big screen movie—the leading character is some highly paid British actor/actress paid to throw their laptop out the window of their 5th story NYC walk-up in utter despair.  Yeah…in the real world most of us don’t have the kind of money that allows for those despairing moments.  So I have opted not to spend hours wasting good wine or time employing this useless tactic. Instead I think it’s best to stare at something else.  Walk around your house- look at some pictures, clean, cook, do a little laundry or run an errand.  Heck, play with your kid or a game of chess with your spouse.  Do something else besides stewing in the quagmire of I have no clue. You would be amazed how making the best salmon with a lemon dill sauce can jump-start a blog idea.  Personal Example: One day I was frustrated about a concept I dreamt about (and DID NOT GET UP & WRITE IT DOWN.. I know bad, bad, bad) and was about to scream when my daughter asked me to color with her.  As I was taking note of how precise my “staying within the lines” was and how the unbridled charm of a child’s Crayola skills were, yes the cliché lightbulb went off.  And before you knew it, while she was still coloring outside the lines, I was pecking away on my laptop.  Writers cramp over came writers block and I was grateful for it.

You know what they say in real estate…Location, Location Location.  And I agree. After a very busy weekend and stressful morning I found myself not able to color in anybody’s lines or muster up enough energy required to even stare at a blank page.  So what else could I do to get the boost usually relegated to a high-priced cup of Starbucks coffee?  I went outside. Yup in the lovely 70° weather, I listened to the sounds of a almost perfect May day  in Connecticut.  And before I knew it, several titles/concepts came to me which enabled me to write this blog AND  birth 2-3 ideas for some other projects.  Fantastic right!  Sometimes a simple change of location can do wonders for inspiration.  Being jailed at your desk is not worth it when you can get some fresh air and use the objects/sounds/feelings around you to motivate your imagination. Like an artist who can use a host of colors or materials to create their masterpiece, so can writers.  And I’m not talking laptop vs. plume…I mean what you use to connect ideas/concepts/words together to tap into your linguistic intelligence and unlock the door to your next novella. 

1.) Interview a customer about particular concerns/challenges as well as solutions and then blog about it.  I’m sure they will love the attention & it gets their name advertised in social media for free. Or you can opt to share an anecdote about an issue that occurred in your own business, from the problem to the solution.

2.) Dialogue with industry-friends via social media and let the responses shape a blog post or video blog with them weighing in on topics relevant to industry news items.

3.) Consider product or service comparisons, a Consumer Reports of sort but on issues like social media, graphic design, use of WordPress themes vs. traditional HTML websites.

4.) Report on a conference or webinar you attended giving perspective to real issues facing people in your own industry or some great highlights and tricks of the trade that you learned.

5.) Address customer questions you’ve received on the same topic/aspect of service.  This lets them know that you’re listening and are willing to receive feedback once it’s out on the www.

6.) Expand upon a comment you wrote on someone else’s blog & parlay that into your own blog post. Tread lightly here, these are your peers after all.  But bringing in a different angle never hurts.

7.) Correlate what inspires your daily life into the business world and create a blog connection. Hence, look out for my upcoming blog “Coloring In and Out of the Lines in Social Media” – thanks to my daughter’s crayons.


Branding To-Do’s & Tidbits

For those outside the marketing realm, let me help define “branding”. Branding is a signature ‘look and feel’ that leverages all of the resources our industry has to offer to make sure that you will be noticed and recognized by consumers and like industry companies.

  •  Branding is an essential component to any business therefore it’s something you should consistently think about and ensure it evolves on an ongoing basis.  Taking time to think about and employ opportunities to promote your brand is both fundamental and key to its success.
  • Your brand and marketing materials should precisely detail & sell your product and/or service.  If they’re not, they’re wrong.  You know the old adage of “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it”…well if it is, it’s time to re-think and re-brand.
  • C’mon, get focused!  Your view of your product/service can sometimes be narrow and if it’s your “baby”, it can be hard to be a tough critic. So if you can’t afford to pay for a professional focus group, here is a suggestion.  Get together a group of professional friends from various industries and present your products/service. Offering hors d’oeuvres and beverages is a nice form of compensation. What’s most important though is getting their feedback in writing and implementing their suggestions (if they are good ideas…) into your brand/marketing strategies and promotions.
  • Know your street credibility ~ Your brand image as well as its reputation is vital.  It’s super important you know what your client base is saying about you…and even your competition.  Being armed with this information will allow you to evolve your branding & marketing strategies to thwart the effects of the good or bad press.
  • Promote your brand across all landscapes. This should include at a minimum:
    ∞ direct marketing via mailers;
    ∞ email campaigns and promotions;
    ∞ online & in-store promotions; and last but surely not least…
    ∞ social media, etc.


Promote Your Peer Blogs More! (instead of celebrities)

BlogWhen you think of some famous blogs that you frequent during the day, I’m sure many names come to mind. Some of those blog authors have followers and readers in the thousands if not more. We all follow them, waiting to hear some tidbit about the next big thing, or some advice on how to do something you already heard elsewhere. They’ve been around for some time and so we trust their judgements and opinions. All of that is fine and dandy, but what about some peers you may have met recently at a local networking or social event? I’d like to challenge you to read on to see a different perspective on this topic.

With all the mediums for sharing content and social media, I’m sure you have many connections to people you’ve met or network with. In person these people can tell you a great deal about their products, services, insights, and tactics to what they do best. Of course not too much data, but still some really informative stuff. Check to see which of them has a blog or some type of frequent distribution of content. Read a few posts and see if what they’re talking about makes sense. See if it sound relevant to your current business needs or hold some great tib-bits you can use in the future.  If you’re not already signed up, I suggest you do so now.

Why Your Comments Are Important: With the various types of publications, there are also many ways for a reader to comment on his or her thoughts. This is a great option because it allows for a conversation. This gives you a voice to either compliment or challenge the content given. Nothing stirs up multiple reply comments on blogs more than when different people have different views on a topic and continue to weigh in to try and prove their points.

Share and Promote: If you found the post thought-provoking, share it with your peers and associates. This is where social media is at its best. Use the Tweet or Facebook buttons to share the post.  Coming from you, it will seem like a good and relevant read to your associates. Get them to weigh in or validate the discussion.  Think of it as community building. We all know word of mouth is the best form of advertising, so the same benefits apply here.

How Much Time It Really Takes: You may think it’s a painstaking process of hours when really it isn’t. You’ll be able to tell within the first paragraph whether or not the rest of a piece will be worth your read. Once read, take 5 minutes to write a comment. It can be a short as a few words to a paragraph if you feel led to write more. Most blog sites have their comments section ready to go without the need for you to sign up with some service before you’re able to post. Sharing on the internet is takes about 30 seconds with the help of pre-installed social media buttons.

What’s In It For You: Think of the “Golden Rule” here. If you’re already blogging for your business, wouldn’t it be great to hear from people within your community whenever you publish a post? I’m not going to set a false expectation that for every comment you place, or post you share you’ll in turn receive the same for your own.  However it does make for good recognition when you are at networking events where these other bloggers are attending also. It’s a great ice-breaker for striking up a conversation. Aside from being a part of the conversation and that warm fuzzy feeling, you have a few things to look forward to. You’ll also get a track-back to your own website or blog if you entered it into the fields when submitting your comment.

No time like the present, so start now by commenting below. Our blog even has this cool feature where it will mention your latest blog post if you check the “Comment Luv” box. And of course if you have something of value to add to the conversation, we’d love to hear it!