1 | Do a Brand Analysis
One of the biggest challenges I have with businesses of all sizes is how disconnected their idea of their brand is with their actual brand. There are the small-to-medium businesses who rent office space, build a website and start an Instagram account without doing a single proper branding exercise and those larger companies who are still referencing a 10-year-old style guide that has gone from fresh and relevant to stale and theoretical. Both are bad moves.
Wherever you are in your business, it’s always a wise decision to periodically check in and make sure that your comms, content, collateral, and culture are aligned with where you think you are (or where you want to be). While you may not need to do a complete refresh, you’ll likely find a few tweaks that would give you an edge, and save you the stress of a costly overhaul in the future.
Oh, and don’t just look at the messages you’re putting out. Pay attention to what’s being said about you. Look on places like Glassdoor.com, Yelp.com, and other review sites to get clues about your reputation amongst employees, colleagues, and customers.
2 | Create a Content Calendar
It is estimated there are over 440 million blogs in the world. If you want to stand out in a sea of noise, you’re going to need to take a very strategic approach to create content that is relevant, informative, engaging and optimized. This means that you’ll need to create a savvy content plan that takes all of your platforms into consideration.
Use Google Analytics to get to know what your audience is enjoying on your website, check out industry forums to see what topics are hot at the moment, browse other platforms to see what brands like yours are doing. Think of special days of the year, holidays and events that you’ll want to cover and mention, Q and A’s with various influencers, colleagues and vendors and ways you can showcase your value add in a way that doesn’t come across as a commercial. Once you have done this, brainstorm until you have found ways to offer your own fresh perspective on a topic that is relevant to your industry.
Finally, use Google Drive, Trello or this free calendar from CoSchedule and lay it all out. Pick a weekly theme and write a blog that’s published on Monday, promote it via email on Tuesday, Instagram on Wednesday, Twitter on Thursday and so on. Choose different images for each platform and try and switch up the promotional verbiage and call to action. The point is to put a cohesive and unique editorial calendar together so that your content links together without repeating itself. It may be overwhelming the first time (OK, it will be overwhelming), but once it is done, you’re going to feel in control and ready to share your expertise with the world, I promise.
3 | Be Consistent
Writing blogs when you “have time” or “feel like it” is pointless. I don’t care how great your posts are, inconsistent content showcases a lack of direction, clarity,
If you’re ready to start communicating with your industry and potential customers (and you should), spend some time doing research on what they want to read about (see above). Then, start small and write 4 posts 200-300 word posts on a specific theme. Make sure to add an on-brand visual that you own or have purchased (no one wants a huge Getty Image fine or to be sued), and ask a question at the end of the post. Schedule all four posts for Monday at 10:00 AM- and voila!- you’re a month ahead in content. Your goal should be to be 8 weeks ahead at all times. If you set aside 2 hours a week to work on your content (I love Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoon), you will be.