I don't have time to blog.
It's the first thought that jumps to mind of the small business owner every time they hear the words "content marketing."
Yes, blogging takes time. According to the 2014 Blogger Survey, the average post takes 2.5 hours to create. Try adding that kind of time to your schedule. It just won't fit.
As an owner of a small business, you're busy selling and servicing customers. You spend a lot of time on the phone and on email, taking care of business. This time isn't optional. Things at the bottom of your to-do list don't get done, and that includes blogging.
This is why small business blogs fail. There's no time.
IBM research found that 80 percent of those who begin a company blog never publish more than five posts. Bloggers start with big plans but other, more urgent tasks get in the way.
Time Flies When You're Running a Small Business
I get it. You're busy with sales and service. So when the you say don't have time to create content, what you're really saying is more like this:
"I don't have time to blog ...because I'm too busy writing 1000 words a day in email, answering important questions for my customers and prospects."
Read that again slowly and think about it. You don't have time to write because you're too busy writing. See the irony? Blogs die because their owners are too busy creating content. So here's the fix...
Your Outbox is Full of Blog Posts
Your blog needs two things to succeed:
- Content relevant to your audience
- Time for you to create it
Both of these problems can be fixed by mining your sent mail folder. The topics of the emails you're writing are spot on for your audience (they provided the ideas) and the tone is personal (you wrote it in your own voice).
Here are a few ways to get more from the writing you're already doing everyday.
- Listen for the questions that have been asked more than once. Rather than emailing the answer, post it in your blog and send a link.
- Blind copy anyone in a marketing role next time you send a long email to a customer or prospect. Task them with making it a post.
- Blind copy yourself and put that email into a "future blog post" folder. Review it monthly.
- If you send an email with a strong opinion, polish it up and send it to the editor of a local publication.
- Keep a notepad next to your phone and jot down each question people ask you.
And if you really need a nudge, here are some more triggers to keep your small business blog from failing. There you'll find a template, inspiration for more topics and tips for collaborating with co-creators. There are many ways to lighten the blogging load.
You're already blogging, you just didn't know it.
Marketing is just sales done in public. Private conversations have zero marketing benefit.
But all of those sales emails and conversations can be quickly leveraged into web content.
Yes, they'll need some editing. They'll need headlines and internal links. They'll need calls-to-action and an image. But the hard part (getting started) is done already.
As the proverb says, well begun is half done. And if you can finish the job in half the time, that's just 1.15 hours per post. And for a busy small business owner, that somehow seems a lot more doable.
Next time, don't tell yourself "I can do this." Instead, remind yourself "I'm already doing this."
This article is part of ICIC's Icons of Industry Growth series, highlighting the fastest-growing businesses located in America's inner cities. Small business owners are invited to join these successful entrepreneurs in Boston on October 15-16th at the Inner City 100 Symposium, a premier management education and networking event featuring leading CEOs and Harvard Business School faculty. Learn more here.
ICIC is the national outreach and selection partner for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.