I am going to show you 6 ways to create or curate content to keep your website updated and fresh. To do these, it’s going to be a lot easier if you have a blog. If you already have a blog, that’s great – you can skip ahead. If you don’t yet have a blog, add one – like yesterday!
A blog gives you an easy-to-update platform for your website. I am going to explain WHAT to write about below, but for most of these suggestions a blog will make it so much easier to do.
Some people shy away from blogs feeling that it’s too much of burden to keep a blog updated. But I say it’s like any business activity. Break it down into small chunks and it becomes doable. You don’t have to start out expecting to update it daily.
People always want to know, “How frequently should I update my company blog?” Updating once a week would be a terrific goal to shoot for at first. Updating once a week means you will have fresh content at least 50 times a year. How many small business websites can boast being updated 50 times a year? Not many.
Is once a week too much for you? Then shoot for twice a month. The point is to make a regular commitment. If you don’t like to write or don’t have the time, then either assign it to a staff member (preferably one with a passion for blogging), or hire an outside blogger. You can hire a qualified professional blogger or freelance starting at under $200 per month — and up — depending on frequency, length and difficulty.
Now, let’s say you already have a blog. Congratulations! The next step is to create an editorial plan.
How many times have you sat staring at your computer screen wondering, “What the heck do I write about?” If you have to think up something completely new each time you sit down to write, chances are you’ll just get discouraged or procrastinate.
But there’s a cure for “I-don’t-know-what-to-write-about” syndrome: an editorial calendar or plan. Having a plan will take away a lot of the stress of creating content. It doesn’t need to be lengthy – just a simple list of the types of the content you want to write about will be sufficient. And a schedule – you need to commit to feeding your site with new content on a regular basis.
With that foundation in mind, here are 6 types of content that are relatively easy for updating your website:
1) Interviews: Interview an industry expert, a high profile blogger, an author, or someone otherwise of interest to your audience. The beauty of interviews is that you don’t have to write a lot. Just create a short introductory email asking for an interview. When the person says yes, send 8 to 10 questions to ask the interviewee. Add a picture of your interviewee and a short bio and introduction, and voila! You have an article.
2) Add context to the news: Is there a recent news headline that captivated your interest? Or something you think your audience will be buzzing about? Then use the news as a jumping off point to write your views about it, or write about how the news affects your industry or your customers. Quote a small section of the news article (most news sites won’t object to quoting a small excerpt in the context of a larger article written by you). Then add a couple paragraphs of your own. It doesn’t need to be long – just insightful.
3) Embed tweets: See what your followers, friends and colleagues are discussing on Twitter. Or find something interesting that’s trending. Then embed a few tweets and add some commentary of your own, to create an article around it. There are entire sites built around embedded tweets strung together with added commentary – example: Twitchy. Embedding tweets is pretty easy once your blog is set up to accept them. Go here for embedding instructions.
4) Videos: If you hate to write, create videos with a few tips for customers or just some general business tips that prospects might be interested in. Or do a short “how to” video for using a common software tool or website. A 3-minute video recorded using your webcam or a free screencapture program like Jing can make a very engaging piece of content. Just be sure to accompany it with a paragraph or two of text describing what is in the video, for search engine benefits. If you don’t do video yourself, check around at YouTube for videos by others. Many of your peers would be flattered if you embedded one of their videos, along with a paragraph describing the video and why you think it’s worthwhile.
5) Infographics: Plenty of sites create interesting infographics describing facts or a concept, and they’d love to have you embed their infographic (crediting their site with a link, of course). One caution: some infographics are much too complex. Looks for ones that educate, such as this one from SocialTriggers.com on the format of a “perfect blog post.”
6) Repurpose PowerPoints, Case Studies and Reports: Never miss an opportunity to repurpose content you’ve created for other purposes. If you have given a presentation, make sure you provide it (or a shortened version) on your website. Case studies that you use for marketing brochures? Put them on your website. Or create a new report just for your website on an industry topic – perhaps you can repurpose a small selection of the kind of content that you provide to clients.
The point is, find content that doesn’t require a lot of writing. Or curate content created by others. Or repurpose work you’ve already done. If you stop and think about it, you may just realize that it’s easier to update your website that you realized.
About the author: Anita Campbell is the founder and CEO of Small Business Trends, an online publication serving over 5 million small business owners, managers and entrepreneurs annually, covering topics such as small business research and news.
This article is from the SmallBizLady special blog series: 31 Ways to Boost Your Small Business in 2013. #Boost2013
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