Blogging for Business – HOW?

Part Three: HOW To WRITE?

From my Blogging for Business One and Two you will hopefully have gathered together a ton of ideas and started to think creatively about different ways to engage with your target customer.

Working At Home

Image courtesy of http://laurelsprings.com

All these ideas it can be overwhelming – where do I start, how do I manage it all?

I start by creating categories. Look over your lists and ideas and start grouping them together under category labels.

Some examples-

Tips
Business Skills
Profiles
Inspiration
Company – focused
Events

Look at things critically and see what ideas slot in nicely and what doesn’t fit in anywhere at all.

Remember to keep in mind your niche and your brand. Do these all match up nicely with what you want your business to convey?

Choose three to five categories that seem to fit best. From here its time to create a very simple Blogging Calendar: this will be the core of your blog planning.

Everyone will have a different way to structure this and there are a ton of different tech tools that can help. For me, an excel document with a month by month plan works best.

Think about how many times a week you want to post. Be realistic. How much time do you have? Maybe you want to post once a week? Two or three times a week can be a good target.

Your categories can slot into your Blogging Calendar as you see fit. An example would be:

Tuesdays: Profiles
Thursdays: Company- focused posts
Fridays: Inspiration
Every second Monday: Tips and Tools

Once you have the basic categories planned, start adding blog titles to go out on certain dates. If you have further details like links or descriptions put them there too. The more information you have the better. If you can fill up 12 weeks of content planning – perfect. If not, try for 8 as a minimum. Look at upcoming events and see where guest posts can be fitted, or thematic posts around a holiday, but keep your categories consistent.

The more in-depth your planning is now, the easier it will be later when you are trying to write. Here’s an example

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Actual Writing

For many this is the scary bit.
Now you have a plan, you have to actually do the writing!

Posts don’t have to be long. 500 words is a good length. One page.

But the key is scheduling YOU. As well as your Blogging Calendar you need ‘Content Creation’ slots in your own calendar.

If you want to publish a post on a great salad recipe or a book review on Wednesdays, you need to schedule an hour into your Monday to write it and half an hour on Tuesday to edit it, find some images and get it looking pretty.

If you have Customer Profiles planned for every Thursday, you need to send out fifteen interview requests at the beginning of every month because it’s likely only five will reply, and even then will take more time than you expect.

Plan and Schedule. Stick to It.

 It’s not going to happen just because it’s in the Blogging Calendar.

Be realistic, with your planning and then commit to keeping to your plan.

If you do, eventually you will have an in depth blog with on-brand articles you can tweet about, share on Facebook and email to clients for whom it could be relevant. You can re-post articles on your Linked In profile (with a link back to your blog), or guest post on another blog.

You will have a way to connect deeply to your customer and help your customer identify who you are and why you are doing what you are doing.

We have covered the Why, Who, What and How in this three part series. Has this helped you identify useful content for your business blog? Have you set up a Blogging Calendar?

 

This article was written by WoolfWorks founder, Michaela Anchan and was featured in Executive Lifestyle. 

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Blogging for Business – WHO and WHAT?

If you missed the Part One: WHY SHOULD I BLOG, you can read it here.

Part Two: WHO and WHAT?

Now we have established WHY you should be blogging, the next step is to pin down WHO are you, WHO you are writing for, and WHAT you could write about.

Go grab a lovely big A3 piece of paper, a sharp pencil and a cup of coffee and let’s figure it out.

woman typing

Image courtesy of http://www.womansday.com

Who are you?

What is your ‘why’ behind your brand? What is the story, the passion, the reason you are doing this? How are you going to help people?

What are the qualities you want to convey? What is the connection you want to make with your customer? How do you want them to feel about you?

Connecting to the person and the story behind a company can make a huge decision to a customers decision to do business with you.

Who are they?

It is absolutely vital you put a solid amount of time in to figuring out your niche.

Who is your ideal customer? How old are they? Are they male or female? Are they an entrepreneur, an employee, a freelancer or are they a homemaker? What are they worried about? What magazines do they read? Where do they socialise? Are they tech savvy? Do they want to be? Where do they live?

What?

What are you going to write about: the big question. Again, I recommend a nice crisp A3 sheet of paper and a sharp pencil. Start brainstorming ideas.

Start very broadly:
What are the interests, thoughts and topics that are linked to your business and interesting to your target?
What are the questions customers tend to ask you?
What are the challenges they face?
What do they believe you are an expert in?

Then do a bit of research:
Look at other blogs, magazines, websites related to your industry – what are they writing about?
Ask your customers – do a formal survey or just call them up for a chat. What are they confused about? What do they find mysterious about your industry? What information would they like to have access to? Who do they admire? Where do they want their business to go? How can you help them?
Let these questions and thoughts sit at the front of your mind for a few days – once you start thinking and talking about these questions the ideas may pop up at different times. Write everything down.

blogging

Image courtesy of http://www.scribewise.com

Then, take it further by looking at different types of content. There is so much you can do which can tie in to all of the above:

Customer profiles or interviews
Staff profiles
Profiles of people in history
Profiles of partner businesses
Guest posts from partner businesses
Links to relevant articles around the web
Information about a package / rate you offer
Write-up an event you held
A day in the life in your business
Resource lists
Tutorials
Infographics
Images
Business background stories (focusing on your WHY)
Beginners guide to..
FAQ about your business

And don’t forget videos and podcasts!

Keep the WHO is mind during this – who you are, who your customer is. Keep the ideas flowing – write everything down! Keep going, keep researching – the more ideas now, the better. Don’t worry about relevance or titles yet, just keep writing down ideas.

Next week we will talk about the HOW.

How does this brainstorm of ideas get turned into a structured, planned social media campaign? How is this going to be manageable for me when I have so much going on?

 

This article was written by WoolfWorks founder, Michaela Anchan and was featured in Executive Lifestyle. 

 

Blogging for Business – WHY?

Part One: WHY SHOULD I BLOG

What’s the advantage of blogging for your business?

We all hear about how you must blog – ‘content generation’ is a huge buzzword, and there can be such a feeling of guilt if you haven’t started, aren’t keeping it up or haven’t established a regular schedule.

It can be helpful to go back to basics and think about WHY you should be blogging, and what you hope to get out of it. How do you want it to help your business? We all want to generate more revenue, how can blogging help that?

1. It’s a great way to have a conversation with your target market.

You get to talk to your customers and clients directly. You get to say what you want, share the opinions, tips and topics that best reflect your business and you get it in front of their eyes – it’s a second best to ringing them up and having a chat.

2. It gives you credibility in your industry.

The moment you are an author on a particular topic you position yourself as an expert. Imagine a customer is trying to choose between two landscape gardeners. He looks online and found one has a simple website which looks good, one has a simple website but also has a blog filled with expert articles on weed control, best choices in flowers for the local climate, shrubs of the week and fertilising tips. Who do you think he is going to call?

3. If you give a little, people want more

If this gardener does a series on how to do basic landscape gardening yourself, perhaps creates an e-book around it, her customers are going to imagine just how much more fabulous she can do things as a professional.

4. Branding and Positioning

Your blogs give you a great chance to further develop your brand and position in the market place. Your topics can be targeted and developed to reinforce your brand. A high-end interior design store is not going to write about where to find the cheapest bed linen in town, nor will a yoga studio post about the new burger bar down the road. Keeping your themes and topics consistent with your brand is crucial in connecting with your target client.

5. Driving traffic to your website

Blogging effectively can be a great way to drive traffic to your website. Identify keywords that are bringing traffic to your site and use those keywords again and again. Blogging creates pages of text, which can be picked up on a Google search – use it to your advantage!

and the best part of blogging?

6. Blog posts work while you sleep!

Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week your articles are out there to be read by customers, picked up by Google and referred to by customers. They are your representatives working hard out there in the world, for a very low wage!

Modern office workplace

Image courtesy of http://sueallenclayton.com/

Clarifying WHY you are blogging is important. It helps form the foundation of your social media strategy, and ensures that your blogging is targeted and planned.

Next week, the next important question: WHO are you blogging to?

 

This article was written by WoolfWorks founder, Michaela Anchan and was featured in Executive Lifestyle

Shut Up and Write!

Introducing our latest initiative at Woolf Works:

Web

The concept started in San Francisco as a meetup group and has now spread around the world. A group of writers getting together and, well, writing. After many requests, Woolf Works will open up on a Saturday to writers of any kind.

We’d like to call on

late-night writers 

would-be bloggers

full time corporates with a writing passion on the side

mums with too many kids under foot during the week

lonely writers, stuck in home office hell.

Shut Up and Write is a time and a space for women writers to come together on a Saturday and write. To use the sound of other fingers tapping on laptops to fuel your own fingers, to carve out a set time in the week to just DO IT.

To Write.

No set topics, no peer reviews.

A beautiful space, with great coffee and tea on free flow.

A spot in your schedule that is for YOU to do that blog post, short story, memoir, article, essay that you have been planning.

To meet other women who share your passion.

We kick off on March 7th, from 10am – 4pm and will start as a once a month event.

 

Laura

The day will be hosted by Woolf Works’ member Laura Coulter (who is obviously very friendly and may or may not be wearing ridiculous glasses) who will encourage you to stand up and stretch your fingers every hour and have chat to your neighbour. You are welcome to bring your lunch (we have a fridge and microwave) or eat out from the great places around us in Joo Chiat.

 

Sign up now!  (limited seating available)

 

Herstory: Constance Singam, Mother of Singapore’s Civil Society

Though her journey has been full of trepidation, Constance Singam has never allowed fear to stop her from correcting what she believes is wrong in her country. She is a true epitome of patriotism, freedom and bravery in today’s fast-paced and tangled world.

Constance Signam

Image courtesy of http://news.asiaone.com/

She is known regionally and globally as a brilliant author and a highly respected advocate for Singapore’s civil society. She has spent the last twenty-five years leading a variety of women’s organizations, co-founding various civil society groups, penning columns in national publications and co-editing several books. Through these acts, she has sought to bridge the widening gap between intellectual and ethical spheres as a way of solving the problems she continues to see in her country.

She was born in Singapore as Constance D’Cruz in 1936. Her father worked as a senior architectural draughtsman while her mother tended to their home as a homemaker. When she was just five years old, she left Singapore with her mother for Kerala, India, in order to get to know her grandparents. While the trip was intended to be a short one, it extended up to 1948 due to the occupation of Singapore and the Japanese invasion.

Singham’s foray into the world of activism began in 1978 when her journalist husband N.T.R. Singam died because of heart attack complications, stemming from a cardiologist’s bad judgment. She was 24 years old when she had married Singam, and was 42 at the time of his death. A single act on her part, which was to write a letter, A Rest in Hospital Became a Nightmare to The Straits Times regarding patient care standard in private hospitals, got the ball rolling in terms of changes in the treatment of the marginalized. From then on, she would write more than a hundred letters to the press about the issues that concerned her and civil society.

constancesingam

A writer, social activist, teacher, restaurateur and blogger – Image courtesy of https://s.yimg.com

The death of Constance’s husband also prompted her to engage in more liberating experiences, brought about by deeper questions of her personal identity, the future and the notion of loneliness. Her first step in attempting to answer such questions was to get a driver’s license, which was already a big deal for her given that it was something her husband did not approve of when he was still alive. Singam notes that the first day she drove alone was the most liberating experience of her life.

Encouraged and emboldened, with dreams of becoming a writer, her next decision was to go to Melbourne for her honors degree in Literature at the Monash University. Being 46 years old at that time did not prove to be a barrier to completing her first ever degree, which she did with flying colors. Her education also did not stop there, as she was able to complete her Master’s degree from Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, at the age of 60. She also dabbled in the educational field by working as a part-time lecturer at the National Institute of Education, until she was 67.

Her educational pursuits also lead her to the Singapore women’s gender equality group, AWARE (Association of Women for Action and Research) and tackled issues like domestic violence against women and Indian students’ underperformance in schools. With her newfound passion for intellectual work, Singam worked actively for solutions to problems that dehumanize the marginalized sector of society.

Connie with SAA

Constance Singam, as one of the judges at Singapore Advocacy Awards – Image courtesy of http://bukitbrown.com/

Her personal experiences with being marginalized were also a reason why this kind of work was important to her. Upon her return to Singapore, she was advised to announce that she was Indian so she would not be attacked under the assumption that she was Eurasian. This was during the 50s, and the time of the Maria Hertogh riots. In her later years, the experience of being marginalized stemmed from her being a widow, an Indian and a woman.

Her work as a civil society activist brought about notable changes in the lives of many through political lobbying. The government responded by forming the SIDA (Singapore Indian Development Association) to address the community’s socio-economic and educational issues. Ten years of hard lobbying on domestic violence against women finally resulted in legal protection being given to victims.

Her provocative journal published in 2013, Where I Was: A Memoir from the Margins has been read by thousands and shows the other side of Singapore’s glowing and thriving face. She recounts her life and the accompanying experiences of being marginalized in many ways. It paints a glaring picture of societal challenges people like her face, due to political and cultural obstacles. Despite being autobiographical, it also successfully tells the tale of others through her personal accounts of important historical events.

She discovered that through her writing she was able to make society take notice of issues that are of concern to her, such as the marginalized place of women; being a “poor cousin” to Singaporeans because she was Indian; and the struggles and challenges that come with being poor in a first world country. She continued to wield this weapon many times, as well as to speak in public and private discourses in Singapore and abroad.

Constance Singam book launch

At her book launch at The Arts House on May 24, 2013 – Image courtesy of http://www.straitstimes.com/

Now in her late seventies, Constance Singam is busier than ever, performing multiple roles she probably did not dream of doing when she was in her twenties. She continues her work as a social activist, a teacher and a writer, and has become a restaurateur and an active blogger as well. Her presence on the Internet is a commendable effort to engage the global community and make them aware of the issues that civil society faces today.

Despite growing up in a patriarchal, South Indian household and society, she found in herself a stronger voice that spoke and achieved results for many. Yes, Constance Singam might have lost a husband and would have settled in a traditional married life. But with passion and with her radical ideals, she has become a role model and inspiration for thousands of individuals – most especially those who share in her experience of being marginalized in different ways.

 

To read more about Constance Singam, check her blog Living Life @ 70.

 

Other links about Constance Singram:

http://theindependent.sg/blog/2013/07/11/mother-of-singapores-civil-society/
http://news.asiaone.com/print/News/Latest%2BNews/Singapore/Story/A1Story20130526-425171.html
http://kitaab.org/2013/08/25/constance-singam-i-think-it-is-important-that-more-of-us-write/
http://oddznns.com/2013/11/16/a-singaporean-identity-constance-singam-the-epitome-of-true-grit/

 

 

The Atlantic: David Mitchell on How to Write

For the writers amongst us – this is a fantastic article. David Mitchell shares his favourite poem and his top writing tips – most important of all is just getting down and DOING it, before you can get distracted.
“Part two: Get disciplined. Learn to rush to your laptop and open it up. Open the file without asking yourself if you’re in the mood, without thinking about anything else. Just open the file: and then you’re safe. Once the words are on the screen, that becomes your distraction.”
Click here to read the full article
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