Making time for your blog can be a real challenge for many business owners, particularly if you are wearing a lot of hats. I get it. I hear it often. In fact I even get paid to solve this very issue. So I have a few thoughts on the subject of how to find time to blog when you are trying to find time to run your business.
Use Your Time More Effectively
Now let’s just say that you are really serious about starting to blog. I’m going to make a suggestion here and that is to also use some of your time to head online to learn how to make better use of your time. The lifetime value of being able to use your time more effectively is huge. On its own this is a worthwhile effort for any business. When we’re talking being more effective in terms of blogging this idea is also true. Here are a couple of tips to help increase your blogging efficiency:
- Spend TIME figuring out what your audience is interested in.
- Spend TIME checking out the competition.
- When doing the two above activities – take NOTES. If you want to dive a bit further into productivity Evernote is a nice way to store your notes and also to generally store your ideas for all kinds of things. A pen and paper work too so you cannot use the excuse that technology got in the way.
- Figure out the time of day where you get the most blogging productivity and try to blog only during that time. For me I tend to get the most done at night.
- Set up a blogging calendar. People always ask me how often they should blog. I wish I had a better answer, but the truth is rather than settling on a number I’d suggest creating a schedule and holding yourself accountable to it. Guess what – if you don’t hit your schedule the universe is not going to blink BUT if you do hit your schedule than at least you are giving yourself a shot at “it” which is a big reason why you are blogging to begin with. I’ll leave it to you to determine what your own “it” is.
- Spend TIME researching how to write for the web. I get it… rules are meant to be broken, but at least provide yourself with the knowledge of what those “rules” might be so that you can make informed decisions about why you might want to break them.
- Consider hiring an editor to proof and clean up your posts before publishing them. Probably nowhere near as expensive as you might think. Also knowing that you have a bit of a backstop will save you a good deal of TIME as you will not be fixated on getting every sentence perfect.
- Don’t worry about getting every sentence perfect right out of the gate. Guess what – it is a blog, so if you see an error down the road it is really easy to fix it!
- Consider outsourcing the entire thing from soup to nuts. I’m not trying to pitch myself here, but this is a service I do handle for some of my clients. It is a huge win for them as they get professional content, but more so it gives them back more TIME so that they can focus on other business (or personal) efforts.
Time Is Not The Big Issue… ROI Is
Trying to understand and calculate the ROI of blogging before you’ve written any (or a few) posts is a really important issue to consider as it speaks to a real physiological barrier. Probably the single biggest obstacle standing in the way of your blogging right now is probably less about time and more directly related to ROI.
The question of does it pay to blog is a very fair one, and the truth is a good return on your blogging efforts is not likely going to happen simply by writing your first post. So let’s say the first blog post is not going to have a positive ROI, how many posts until you see that nice return. A new lead? A new sale? A new client?
The ROI questions and logic is what you are probably applying to all other aspects of your business. In particular, for those that have never blogged before, the idea that you might invest some of your precious time in a pursuit that is not going to immediately impact your bottom line can be a real big mental challenge – and rightly so – to pretend otherwise is lying.
So we’re back to ROI. The truth is not everyone is going to “win” with blogging. Some businesses do exceptionally well with it. Others falter for a long time and limp away. Some businesses start strong and then get distracted and start doing something else “strong.” So where your business lands in this mix is not guaranteed, but at least if you do blog and do it well, over time you are in many ways taking direct control of your marketing.
As I recently said to a cousin of mine – blogging is a great equalizer in marketing – it truly is the poor mans answer to a massive advertising budget. That doesn’t mean you are assured success with blogging, but at minimum in a universe where you are looking for “edge” in your business, blogging presents a massive opportunity. And unlike other forms of marketing blogging really does require a small amount of capital to get started.
By the way, while not the point of this post, I have recently written a book called “Better Business Blogging” – the book is less tactics focused and more built around the idea that if you create a great blogging primer that is tightly aligned with the actual nature of your business, your blog should provide you with a great vehicle to better present your business. Chapter 10 of the book addresses the ROI question in a very distinct and interesting way – when you blog about your business you are going to know it so much better than if you don’t. Suddenly the idea of making time to blog is becoming a much more profitable adventure – even if we can’t immediately grab a quick win it is hard to argue with the logic that if you regularly write about something you are more likely to gain a much deeper understand of it – what better subject for you to write about than your business! That said if you are looking for more information on the ROI of blogging I’d suggest you Google it – I’m sure you’ll find more than a few very compelling and persuasive blog posts about it…. assuming you’d ever even go to a blog to get information…
Time Is A Real Challenge
Of course it’s not fair to pretend that if only we understood the value of doing something, suddenly we’d have more time to do it. If you are going to spend time on something, that is a choice. You are literally “making” time for it. The downside is that perhaps you might have to give up some time doing other things. With every business this is a real challenge, but lets face it – for a small business the challenge is even more daunting – on the one hand you have a potential value in doing something with an ROI that is floating out there… and on the other hand because it is a small business, that means key team members are quite likely wearing many hats. Some of those hats are critical to the function of your business so choosing to spend less time on something in order to spend more time on something else is a very big decision – I think big companies use words like resources utilization to talk about this space. No matter what the words though, the math is still the same – there are only so many hours in a day.
Make The Time
Bottom line – if you want to find the time to blog, you are going to have to make it happen.
If you are having trouble finding time to blog, or if you have some great, easy to use ideas feel free to post a comment.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Nicholas Jaskson via Flickr