How’s your summer been so far? Enjoying the sunshine? Working hard, blogging regularly and keeping your social media on schedule?
Nope, me neither. In fact rather bashful look here.
I had a blissful week down on the Dorset coast where the sun shone every day, and I swam in the sea as often as possible.
I didn’t publish a single blog post.
Very few tweets.
Very few Instagram posts.
This is absolutely not best practice. I should have read my own post about what to do with your blog when you go on holiday. Like many things, some of that works perfectly if you’re not working flat out right up until the last minute.
And after such a great break, it’s hard to get back into the rhythm, especially when you’ve got a business to run. There’s so much to catch up on and do, and maybe blogging just feels too much like hard work.
And the longer you put it off, the harder it seems to become.
How do you break out of it? Here’s some pointers:
Sometimes it’s the thought of writing that’s the hardest to get over. And sometimes the very best way to do that is just to start. Like most things, the act of starting breaks the inertia.
So, log in and just start writing a new post. Write without editing and just get the thoughts flowing. Don’t judge it, don’t overanalyse it, just write.
And then for heaven’s sake don’t push “publish”!
More than ever, this is the time for a pause before publishing. Step away from the laptop and come back to it. Do the quality checks you’d usually do, but also ask yourself now if it’s the right post to publish. It might be, it might not be. If it is, you’ve got a post ready to go. If it isn’t then it might well have set off an idea on what is the right post to write.
Either way, you’re up and running.
Review your data
If you have no idea on what to write, then it’s a good idea to remind yourself what’s worked in the past. Get into your Google Analytics and have a look at your most successful posts in recent months. Which ones grabbed your customer’s attention? Which ones got the most comments or shares?
Is there a pattern or a common theme? Is there something here you can extend or revisit? Reread them and see what makes them good. It’ll help remind you why you started blogging in the first place.
Re-read your content strategy
Ok, don’t roll your eyes. If you’re a smaller business, then there is no reason why you can’t have developed a content strategy. But if you haven’t then don’t beat yourself up about it. Like many things about owning a small business, there’s always another thing to add to your to-do list.
If you do have one, then top marks! Remind yourself why you started and what you wanted to get from your content. Look at your customer profiles and think about what they want from you. Finally look at the results from your previous efforts.
If you’ve been tracking your results, then you’ll have a feel for the payback from your actions. That should help boost your motivation to start again. If it doesn’t, then it’s perhaps time to revisit your objectives, and then your approach.
Oh yes, I already mentioned this one. But procrastinating is the enemy here. I don’t believe in writer’s block. I don’t believe in waiting for the must to strike.
Nothing beats starting. See point one.
Talk to your customers
If in doubt, ask.
Ask your customers what they’d like to hear about from you. They’re your best source of ideas. Whatever your best source of engagement with your customers is, get on there, and start talking. And listening.
Do some reading
Read almost anything. A blog or two that you love. Your competitors’ blogs. A magazine. A book. A newspaper. Your journal. A newsletter.
Reading inspires writing. Need some starting points? I love to dip into the Do Lectures blog and also a good read of The High Street Delicatessen’s weekly newsletter. That usually sets me off onto some other good stuff. Doesn’t matter if it’s a bit random, you never know where inspiration might strike.
What did I miss? What gets you back into good blogging habits?
Hopefully, that’s me back up and running. Check back in on Thursday. If there’s nothing new, then it’s my round on the coffees.