I get it. Writing, and especially writing a lot, can be a real chore for
some most people. Even those of us who like to write and who write fairly easily can be quickly overwhelmed by the massive amounts of content that is now required to keep up a good blog. Unfortunately, when our inbound marketing agency tells potential clients, “Yes, you have to have a blog,” we are met with looks of disgust, moments of silence, and small whimpers. It doesn’t have to be this bad, and even if you are a terrible writer or have a company full of terrible writers, there is an answer.
And yes, you do have to have a blog. Period. End of story.
Blogging does not have to just be the written word, and it doesn’t always have to be created in-house. While the most realistic and authentic voice will likely come from inside your walls, you can still have a great blog with well optimized content through other means.
1. Offer Guest Post Opportunities
You have a great network of professionals in your industry who are typically trying to speak to your same market. By offering a guest blogging opportunity, you are essentially co-marketing with another company to bring valuable content to your readers. Guest bloggers will typically want the ability to link back to their own company site or blog; that is a very reasonable request. You should, in turn, request that the content be original and not just a copy of a blog post they’ve already written and published. Also, factor in time to optimize their post so that you’re getting the SEO benefits on your site. This will include adding links to other articles (preferably within your own site), creating a catchy and shareworthy title, and optimizing the entire post and back end data for search.
2. Utilize Video
Some people hate writing, but they’re more than happy to do a quick video every week about a topic that’s affecting their industry or a how-to tutorial. I’ve also heard of executives hiring someone to follow them around for a few months to create a huge amount of video content that could be edited and used for years. Individual videos don’t need to be very long–just a few minutes–and can be about a very specific topic. In fact, if you go into a video thinking about a very specific question to answer, you will have a much more effective piece of content.
You can also try Google+ Hangouts on Air to hold a monthly “office hours” with clients or potential clients, or interview someone within your industry. [Google+ Hangouts can now be recorded and automatically loaded to YouTube].
3. Hire an Agency or Writer
Since most of our clients do not have dedicated staff to keep up with their content marketing needs, we write much of their content ourselves. This has its benefits but it is also harder to get a true sense of what the company is like from the inside. If you do hire an agency, make sure that its not just for one-off posts here and there. Those will not get you as far as working with an agency on a full editorial calendar and allowing the writers to really get to know your company and speak with your brand’s voice. The same can be said of a ghost writer. Make sure that you’re hiring him for a bigger engagement and not just a one-off if you want high quality blog posts.
4. Use Audio
There are services, like Quicktate, that has typists transcribe your audio in to a blog post. You can then quickly edit the
transcription (because you might not like how you worded or explained something) and post! This is a strong option for people who are naturally good at explaining something and do not ramble on. If you do ramble on, you might need to do more editing. This would not be a good option for someone like Milton from Office Space (“Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler…”).
5. Create Graphics and Visuals
There are some very successful blogs that have become successful because of memes, infographics, and other visual representations of their information. If you are good about taking photographs using Instagram, the photos can serve as blog posts with a minimal amount of text, essentially telling your story. Just be sure that you’re using alt-tags on the pictures and then sharing the information on other visual sites like Pinterest to encourage traffic. Infographics are also highly shareable and are a great way to show
boring data. Visual.ly and Piktochart are two good places for creating your own infographics. You could also hire my new graphics business crush, Column Five Media, to create really cool infographics for you.
6. Curate Content
Some people read voraciously but prefer not to write as much. If you are someone that reads other blogs and articles regularly, consider putting together a curated list for your industry once a week. One of my favorite series of curated information is from John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing who has a “Weekend Faves” post every Saturday. With it, he introduces a few cool new apps or technologies that he’s come across that week and links to check them out. An Oklahoma City attorney, who writes a blog called The Droid Lawyer, creates a weekly recap of all things notable having to do with the legal arena of Android. By curating content, you are saving others in your industry the hard work of finding the information worth reading and are becoming a thought leader at the same time.