Content slumps and how to keep moving

Often, small business owners will start a blog and get an initial buzz of engagement. However, it’s what happens next that can be tricky.

Have you ever been to a small businesses’ website and read three great blogs. Then realise that they were written four years ago?

I see this often.

There’s a typical pattern that emerges when people start content programs. They publish their first piece of writing and it goes well; people get excited and comment, old connections get in touch, everyone congratulates them. This encourages them to publish a second, and then maybe a third.

However, before long the reality sets in. This is something that they have to do regularly and consistently. Before long, they’re booking meetings over the time they had set aside to write content. And so it falls by the wayside, lost in the never-ending task list that comes with the territory of being a business owner.

The fact is, maintaining a small business blog is hard work. However, the good news is, there are plenty of ways to make it a little bit easier.

Have a plan

For a business owner, thinking of content week after week is a mental burden that comes on top of all the other tasks you have to do – in other words, something that you don’t necessarily want to be doing eats up brain space that could be used for the tasks that you do enjoy. The tasks that you started your business to focus on in the first place.

Having a plan helps you feel in control and lessens this mental burden.

To build a plan, start at the very beginning. This means being clear on questions like:

  • Purpose: why am I writing this blog?
  • Audience: who am I writing this blog for? What type of content do they want to read?

From here, you can start to group the content into various ‘pillars’ or buckets to help you frame your thinking and ensure you’re showcasing all your areas of expertise. For example:

  • Educational
  • Inspirational
  • Case study

For some people, a content calendar is a good tool to help them in their planning and stick to their goals. It also ensures you’re getting a good spread of content topics across all your expertise.

At the very least, a posting schedule will help keep you accountable.

Bank it up

Even when you’re in full swing, there can be days where you wake up, feeling like all inspiration has been sucked out of you by a content-writing vampire. Don’t worry, it happens to me too.

This is when it can be very useful to have a bank of pre-written articles or social media posts ready to go.

Remember, there are different types of content. Articles that we call ‘evergreen’ are the ones that don’t date – for example, ‘how to’ guides or educational topics.

Another type of content is more newsworthy, and while it doesn’t have the same shelf life as evergreen content, it’s still valuable. This might include commentary on industry developments, how incoming legislation will affect your audience, or a summary of key insights from a conference you just attended.

It’s a good idea to mix it up, having some evergreen posts and some more timely content. However, having that bank of evergreen articles ready to go is a big help when inspiration is lacking. Plus, writing a few pieces at once can be efficient time-wise, allowing to capitalise on you being in the writing zone.

Reuse and recycle

Another tool to help you is to be smart about using your content.

In content writing, we call this ‘repurposing’. Can you take a blog you wrote a while ago and turn it into a video? Can you update that piece you wrote last year with new developments? Turn that conference presentation into a written blog? Take that ‘ten tips’ post you wrote about a while ago and write a more detailed post about each one?

And repurposing doesn’t have to be just content you’ve published before. For example, can you take that long email you just wrote to a client, and use that explanation to make a blog? The chances are if one client is asking, it will be of interest to others too. The same goes for that long conversation you had with your uncle at the family BBQ last weekend.

Or, think of some of the other written pieces you have which might be useful. You’d be surprised what you can find. Reports and meeting notes for example might be great sources of information.

Share the load

If you have staff, then think about sharing the load and assigning each staff member a certain number of content pieces per month or year. This is a win-win for everyone – you get to share the load, and showcase different expertise you have in your business. The staff member benefits too as it helps raise their profile and shows their expertise as well.

Just be careful to set expectations that this is a core task of their role, so it doesn’t get neglected. You can even include it in their KPIs.

And, once you’ve got a content program set up, don’t be afraid to explore the use of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT to help make the process quicker.

Beyond this, you can also hire an external professional to help. A good content writer will not only be able to help write the words, but take control of the planning and implementation, so it’s off your plate entirely.

If you’re interested in learning more, please contact me for a chat.


Author: Alexandra Vanags

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