The last post was an uninspired gasp published last June.
It’s embarrassing, and the proverbial elephant in the room when you review your marketing plan. You’ve probably come up with dozens of rationalizations to convince yourself that the blog isn’t important. But in the back of your mind, you know an excuse when you see one.
But, if you’re honest, you realize that resurrecting your blog isn’t easy. Most of all, you can’t resurrect your blog with the same plan that killed it. You need a new perspective, plan, and goals.
Let’s discuss that.
The Blog Resurrection Formula
Work through each of these steps. Each step is vital to restarting your blog’s heart and putting it on the path to recovery.
Step 1: Identify the Root Cause
Dig deep, be honest and identify the reason why your blog went dark. I mention ‘digging deep’ because the root cause is often uncovered after asking a few why questions. It works like this:
What is wrong with the blog?
A: I haven’t published a post in 6 months
Why haven’t we published?
A: I didn’t have time to write
Why didn’t you have time to write?
A: I had more important tasks on my plate
Why isn’t blog writing considered an important task?
A: My business needs revenue not another blog post.
Step 2: Correct the Root Cause
Once you’ve identified the cause, move to correct it as quickly and simply as you can. Don’t overcomplicate the solution. Many root causes can be solved by setting new priorities or setting new personal or organizational habits.
Let’s continue the scenario from earlier.
Root cause: My business needs revenue not another blog post. So, I am making prospect calls not writing a post.
Clarifying Question: How can the blog build revenue?
Answer: Prospects are having a difficult time understanding the value of our services. Maybe a blog post about the underlying problems prospects face could help the sales process.
Clarifying Question: Why haven’t you done this already?
Answer: “I thought the blog was use to build relationships, be authentic, and engagement. I didn’t think I was allowed to use it as a sales support tool.”
This situation is more common than you think. Solid business people abandoning their blog because of bad advice and poor thought leadership from the social unicorn brigade.[Tweet “A blog is the Swiss Knife of content marketing. Smart marketers exploit it’s utility.”]
Reframing your blog’s purpose will help move it from the “nice to have” column to the “critical activity” list.
Step 3: Create a Plan
I’ll make this simple for you. Your plan is a recipe. It needs three ingredients:
Topic List: What you’ll blog about. Make sure your topics support your revised priorities.
Player Roster: Clear list of content creators, their topics, and how they will be supported.
Editorial Calendar: A quarterly spreadsheet that lists what will be published and when it will go live.
That’s all. Your topic list should reflect your priorities. Move heaven and earth to support your content creators. Finally, use your editorial calendar as your quarterly blueprint for building your blog content.
Step 4: Build-in Quick Wins
Blogging relies on quick wins that offer gratifying and motivating feedback. Unfortunately, it’s easy to look for the wrong feedback.
For example, an abandoned blog has few if any visitors. Using a “blog update subscribers” as a quick win indicator is self-defeating. In my experience 1–3% of blog visitors subscribe for blog updates. If you receive 10 visits a day, you’ll get a blog update subscriber (depending on post quality) every two weeks. That’s not a quick win.
Instead, set goals you can control. My favorite goal is “Write 5 good posts in 5 days”. This is a quantity goal. It’s easy to track. It leaves no room for interpretation. I’m firmly in control of the result. Once the posts are completed, I have a month’s worth of content to publish.
Your quick-wins build momentum. Momentum leads to consistent performance. consistent performance builds habits and breeds its own success.
Step 5: Build in Circuit Breakers
Your blog is dead because you killed it. I’m not going to sugar coat this. Your priorities, your behavior, your assumptions put your blog in the junk drawer. This means that you should distrust your assumptions about what works and what doesn’t.
Sure, you could have received bad advice. Regardless, resolve to change your behavior and examine your assumptions. This is where “circuit breakers” come in.
Circuit breakers trip when there is something wrong in your system. The best circuit breakers are connected to quantifiable goals such as ‘write 5 good posts in 5 days’. If the posts aren’t written, the breaker trips and you go back to step #1 – Identify the root cause.
It’s easy to set goals. It’s hard to hold yourself accountable to them. That’s why I encourage you to get a coach. Give your coach the power to kick your butt and tell you the hard truth. Your best friend shouldn’t be your coach. They are invested in your friendship not your blog. Get a third-party that is focused on your goals and watching for tripped circuit breakers.
Step 6: Grind it Out
Chris Brogan, one of my favorite social thinkers, talks about the notion of “grinding it out”. This means, executing the plan even if you’re: tired, disillusioned, sick, uninspired, or utterly depressed.
Grinding it out works because it focuses on long-term results. Your post today will lead to long-term results. Your SlideShare presentation deck today will attract a client 3 months from now. Today’s grind is next month’s reward.
Here’s a tip: Tell your coach to join you in the Grind. If you plan to write everyday, ask your coach to call you at 5:00 to check on your progress. This process doesn’t work if you keep your coach in the dark or worse, change the rules to suit faulty assumptions.
If you are part of a marketing team, seek out a colleague that is willing to play the coaching role. It’s likely that your team leader will enforce the plan, but be proactive anyway and find someone to encourage you to grind it out.
Step 7: Be Patient
It will take time for your blog to show signs of life. You need to attract new readers, rebuild trust with old readers, and establish a few new habits. This stuff is hard to do and will not happen overnight.
Intentionally place a 6-month time-frame on any performance goals. If you or your boss needs faster results, identify the extra resources you’ll invest. For example, more blog posts will accelerate success, better content (i.e. podcast, infographics, ebooks, and special reports) will ignite traffic too. Both of these tactics require time and money. Get clear on what you’re willing to invest.