What a PR Agency Can Teach You About Writing Blogs
Most clients get into a bind when they set up their blog. It's an insidious problem. Clients start a new blog full of enthusiasm. They write, create content, and post like crazy. Then, it quickly loses steam. The enthusiasm fades away …
This problem isn't unique to blogs, of course. Excitement-turned-stale happens to newsletters, comic books, syndicated columns … and even hit TV shows.
This is great news for you. You write for the web and can take the stress away from your online client and keep her blogging goals attainable. But --
How Do You Avoid Falling Into The Same Lost-Steam-And-Stale Trap?
In other words, how do you keep yourself fresh to write a consistent blog that interests the reader, keeps him coming back for more, and attract organic search? Especially, if you're an independent freelance web writer or a solo online entrepreneur?
Many winters ago I worked at a PR agency in Boston. As a PR peon I wasn't allowed to write press releases or pitch clients. One of my menial duties was to sit on the phone and deliver a one-sentence script:
"Hi … could you fax me your media calendar … "
What's A Media Calendar And What's It Got To Do With Modern Day Blogs?
Glad you asked.
Most magazines, trade journals, TV talk shows, talk radio, and even newspapers know what they're going to discuss -- ahead of time. Some know a year in advance. And they list it on a calendar for all to see: The Media Calendar.
For instance, I'm writing this article in May. I'll bet you $50 dollars Martha Stewart Living magazine knows what stories they'll have in their October, November, and December issues. I wouldn't be surprised if they have some of the holiday stories (Halloween, Thanksgiving, maybe even Christmas) completed now.
I bet you another $50 Oprah knows today, in May, who her special guests will be in the Fall season when her talk show returns from the summer hiatus.
Create A Media Calendar For Your Or Your Client's Blog
Run your blog like a magazine. This way you know ahead of time what you're going to write about. It will give you structure and reduce your headaches.
At the PR agency we had a shoe designer as a client. Our job was to get them as much ink in the press as possible. With the media calendar from a fashion magazine or footwear trade journal, for instance, we knew that the publications planned a special summer issue.
With that information the agency worked hard at pitching the editors, in February, about a possible "Chic Summer Sandals" story for their June issue.
Using A Calendar And Planning What You're Going To Blog About Allows Your Subconscious To Do A Lot Of Work For You
If you're new to blogging use the change in seasons and holiday events to start stimulating your subconscious.
List them out and brainstorm ideas on how to weave these events with your product or service, no matter how silly it appears. Then leave it alone and do something else and let your subconscious fill-in the gaps.
As an example, if you sell marketing or online copywriting services you could use the upcoming 4th of July as a story starter. It may feel like a stretch, but your subconscious will help you, even while you sleep.
Here's what my subconscious came up with … "Even back in the seventeen-hundreds Americans were using Web 2.0 and online social networking fundamentals to create viral-marketing-like results. It was so effective that the viral effect grew to a fever pitch and led to America's independence from Britain."
Often, You'll End Up With Too Much Information
Once your subconscious is on a roll you'll probably end up with too many ideas to pack into one article. That's great!
Break it up into an ongoing series. It works for TV, like the hit show "24". They take a one-hour story and stretch into 24 one-hour episodes. Genius!
The Calendar Is A Guide And Is As Flexible As You Want It To Be
A News Flash often interrupts "regularly scheduled" programming on TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers.
What's great about the blog format is that the production schedule is short -- maybe even instant. You can take advantage of any Late Breaking News and plug it in mid-stream and keep your blog fresh and in the micro-moment.
Heck, you could have done a "What The Swine Flu Can Teach You About Viral Marketing" and been a hero to all your customers and prospective clients.
When Your Blog Becomes Successful
You'll have a media calendar already established. You can share it with new bloggers you hire, use it as a point of reference for guest contributors, and use it as your basic blueprint on how you're going to manage your Blog Empire. Check out this little blog co-founded by Arianna Huffington that turned into an online juggernaut.
What suggestions do you have for keeping a blog production rolling full steam ahead? Tell me about it in the comment section below. And while you're thinking of your suggestions, we're still in competition mode so please leave a 5-Star vote for this article, too.