I knew my blog was stale but I made a sandwich with it anyway, #marketingfail…
I knew that blog was stale but I made a sandwich with it anyway, #marketingfail…
“How does everybody know???”
Because it’s the internet.
And this might be the face you make when you know you’re being judged online and are powerless to stop the wrath from unfolding…
If you feel this way about blogging, you might be thinking:
Blogging? Maybe when I have more time after the kids grow up or my wife’s surgery is over.
Blogging? Hit the snooze button followed by zzzzz…..
Blogging? I’d rather eat cardboard or the sole of my shoe live.
Blogging? What is that? Isn’t it for bored teenagers living in their parent’s basement during a tv and internet ban…?
Blogging? I’ll pay someone else money if they just do it and never make me think or talk about it again.
Blogging? I gave up writing after high school English class…
“If this is for her blog, she’s lying.”
(Dave here for a moment…I hear you, though huge props to the she-chef for making a video).
Now, back to you.
“No one is that happy creating a blog post. Though I like her idea. Can I just make a video of me making dinner and post it to my blog? That counts, right?”
Hmmmm…I’ve gonna give that a 100% no, you may not. (Unless you’re a genius chef making meals for astronauts on Mars and endorsed by NASA. Actually, that’s a great idea…)
Let’s cut to the chase here. Whatever your reason (too busy, too bored, too hard, too annoying), your neglected or lackluster blog has grown so stale it’s like mold growing on your favorite loaf of bread…and though you could take it out to the trash, you’re debating on whether just tossing only the moldy piece will enable you to save the rest of the loaf.
To be clear: this is only a metaphor where I suggest throwing out the moldy piece and saving the rest of the loaf (e.g. your blog). Food safety is a scientific (and personal) choice. Though the Sardinians can eat moldy cheese, Casu marzu, with maggots in it (watch at your own risk), I don’t suggest you do the same…Just a little something to remember…
…before that moldy bread ever graces your mouth. (My job here is done.) Moving on…
So, how to revive a stale blog? (A la pet cemetery, right? Zombie animals, of course! What is more thrilling than that??? Alright down in front, Mr. Stephen King, this isn’t a horror show…yet).
Let’s begin with the first and most obvious choice you can make – just delegate the damn blog to someone who loves blogging AND is good at it.
It’s like spending two hours shoveling five feet of snow off your driveway before going to work just to prove you’re a true North Dakotan. Enough already, you’re like 80 years old and I don’t know CPR.
Outsource it already…sheesh. Or you could be more innovative.
Delegating blog duties is a popular choice, especially if you have an in-house or outsourced marketing copywriter, so if it’s not your thing or it down right makes you gag, it’s time to put it on someone else’s plate.
However, if you can’t delegate it, you actually want to do it or you’re the next Gary Vaynerchuck, then here are six tips on how to give your blog a facelift while saving the rest of your loaf (and some money).
1. Figure Out Your Why (not your why not, otherwise you don’t belong in the tech industry)
Tech business owners are known for their passion, their drive, their entrepreneurship and their firm belief in “If I’m not the boss, ain’t nobody the boss.” As with all the things you do in your life, you probably do it with lots of gusto!
So, if that gusto is gone, it’s time to do an inner check on whether you’re burned out, feeling downer in the dumps (and for longer) than usual or if the challenge is gone and you’re now bored.
Sometimes your why needs to be revigorated, reinvented, renewed, other words that being with r-, you get the point.
“Okay, okay. I get it. You’re snoozing me here, what do I do about it? (And it better not take more than 10 minutes.)”
Spoiler Alert: This is going to take more than 10 minutes.
Some of you may have already heard of Simon Sinek, a self-proclaimed “unshakeable optimist” and author of the book, Start With Why, whose infamous golden circle TED talk has over 51 million views (yes, you read that correctly.)
He’s largely led a movement for business owners and leaders to rediscover and connect with their “why.”
Sometimes, asking yourself the big question: “What is my why for the work I do?” Can be a smidge (or a lot) overwhelming.
A more helpful tactic may be to just write out your responses to the questions below (or call a close friend or partner to discuss while recording the conversation). Then, sleep on your writing or your recording for the night or a few days before reviewing what came up.
If you’re still stuck and can’t get started (a shout out to all my favorite procrastinators out there), then go exercise or put on some loud music and for a drive, or call your most passionate friend and have them explain to you why they think you do what you do. You got this. Just turtle step it out (e.g. set a timer for 5 minutes and then think or write about the questions below until the timer goes off for the next week, etc.)
- Why (or how) did I get into the work I’m doing now?
- Why do I care about my work? How does it help my clients (and maybe other people)?
- What am I trying to do with my blog? Educate? Inform? Promote?
- What is the outcome I want from my blog? Connections? SEO? Lead generation?
- Who is my audience, and why do I want to help them?
- How is my blog going to be different and unique in comparison with my competitors?
- What does success look like to me?
- How do I plan to measure success?
2. Re-Evaluate Your Content (like it’s spring and you’re cleaning out your wardrobe)
Now that you’re at least in the ballpark with your why, the next step is to review and evaluate the content you’ve already created to see if it still fits or if it has holes and needs some mending. Remember some clothes, no matter how much you love that ratty old pair of jeans, isn’t worth the time and money to save them.
Or maybe the Dad socks with sandals look is a tisch too out of vogue. (Does dad-dress really have an expiration date? Or is it that once you’re a dad, you get a free fashion pass for life…anyone….Bueller..?)
You’re probably wondering, “What?! Socks with sandals only came in at #19?!! WTF was #1?” Here’s the link. (Go knock yourself out).
Use these questions as your guide:
- Does your content answer the questions your audience is asking? Is your content relevant to them? (Use the tips under the Writing Not Your Cup of Tea? section, to decide.)
- Is any of your content worth repurposing either on the blog or in a different medium? (Does every piece you put out or repurpose align with the tone, voice, and vision of your brand?
- Do you like your content? Or does it put you to sleep?
3. Create a Plan (not a another chump)
Pretty diabolical right? (If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you might be groaning.)
Consistency counts for a lot in the blogging world and if you don’t post on the regular, you’re seen as just another chump.
It may help to think about blogging like this – blogging is a proved marketing tactic. It will make you money (major ka-chings here, folks).
If planning a calendar isn’t an inherent gift, there are tools available to help such as Smartsheet,
Trello (which is my personal favorite and has editorial templates you can use), or Coschedule’s Blog Calendar to lay out your blog content for each month.
If planning isn’t what cramps your style, it’s more of how to track your blog ideas and then locate and retrieve them easily, then look into digital note taking apps like Evernote or Bear. They both come with a great web clipping tool and the ability to tag your notes to quickly find them when you’re ready to make some blogging gold.
Once you build your habit muscles to post on your blog regularly, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll find yourself saying things like, “We should put that on the blog schedule for next month.”
4. Build a Blog Emergency Kit (like if you decided to dress up like a fireman for Halloween and then a real fire started…)
…and you’re left wishing you’d actually used a real fire extinguisher as a prop instead of this cardboard cutout, which ironically, is also on fire.)
I get it. Your carpal tunnel made it impossible to lug around a full on fire extinguisher for 2 hours for trick-or-treating.
So, let’s say this one together, “S*** happens.” Cuz it does. Though in the end you only look foolish if you don’t plan for it.
“OMG. Stop bringing up planning again. I barely made it through your last tirade about plan-blabbity blah blah zzzz….”
Prior to implementing your new plan and schedule and before you relaunch your reinvigorated blog, build a content emergency kit (aka library). This will enable you to still post regularly while you play some catch up (or put out some other kind of fires).
Your kit should include at least ten “evergreen” (timeless) blog posts.
Trust me, you’ll be so glad you did this.
AND next year, nix the public service costumes. (You’ll be so glad you did.)
5. It’s Time for a New Design (unless you’re famous, then do whatever the hell you want)
Does your blog look like this scenario: if Craigslist’s blog (yes, they have one)…
….married this bedroom and…
Actually, I might not be able to help you…
Though it’s true that some sites get by with ugly, I’m looking at you here, Berkshire Hathaway, why create more suffering in the world?
If you’re not visual design literate (and it’s okay if you’re not) find someone in your company or a friend who is and have them look at your blog and give you their first impression listing only adjectives and feeling words.
If what they’re describing has more in common with a wet dog after a bath in vinegar than a vineyard in Tuscany (or whatever your brand is about) then it’s time for a redesign.
Most web platforms these days have good blog templates (both free and paid) but it your website was built from scratch, it’s worth it to spend some money having your designer/developer make you a new one.
Audiences everywhere are way more sophisticated when it comes to all types of media (they were probably born inside a television set or the internet at this point) and will not stay to read your content unless they respect your design.
Unless you’re Lindsey Lohan. Are you seeing the common thread? Only famous folks can get away with having an ugly, underwhelming blog. Though thank your lucky stars that us regular people don’t have to deal with paparazzi while we’re trying to enjoy our pizza.
6. Re-establish Connections with your blog’s diehard fans (if you have none, go get some)
Remember that song in Top Gun, “You lost that lovin’ feeling..Whoa, that lovin’ feeling?” Well, sometimes it’s true.
AND you need to let your blog readers know that you’re sorry that you let things lapse and it’s time to reconnect for good.
Go ahead and reach out to previous and current blog subscribers by sending them an email sharing with them that your blog is on its way back to life.
Whether or not they respond, you’ll gain valuable feedback.
If you get some feedback, use it. If you get none, then it’s time to really kick things into gear, otherwise you’re missing out on huge opportunities to market your products and services, gain new clients and generate more sales.
Again, if you don’t have marketing experts in house, they are a worthwhile investment allowing you to continue to do what you do best, your job.
What’s coming next will be good. It’s all about how to make your marketing irresistible. And who doesn’t want more of that?
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