5 Myths You Believe About Content Strategies (That Are Dragging Down Your Business)
When I first started blogging (about the riveting topic of grammar, nonetheless), my blog plan looked like this: Look at the calendar around 1:00 p.m. and say, "Oh shoot! It's Wednesday! I'm supposed to blog today." Spend the next 30 minutes trying to decide what to write. Spend 30 more minutes writing---and immediately deleting everything because it doesn't sound good. Choose a new blog topic. Spend an hour getting a draft out. Read it once and realize it's not that good, but you're posting anyway because it's Wednesday and you have to. Grab the first legal stock photo you can find. Hit "publish." Realize it's now almost 4:00 and you've wasted your entire afternoon on a blog post no one will read.
You guys, it was not a successful blogging strategy. But this is exactly how many business owners continue running their blogs!
Blogging week by week is the biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make in her content strategy.
That's not an exaggeration. It's the blogging equivalent of living paycheck to paycheck. There's nothing in the bank to hold you over during tough times. You're constantly caught up in feelings of stress, panic, and urgency because you don't have any well-planned posts to fall back on.
Don't believe me? Let me show you what a smart content strategy can do for you.
5 Myths You Believe About Content Strategies That Are Dragging Down Your Business
If blogging without a plan is such a bad idea, why do so many entrepreneurs do it? These are some of the myths you might be believing about having a content strategy---and the only thing they're doing is bringing your blog and business down!
1. I don't have time to plan an editorial calendar.
Wrong! Having an editorial calendar actually saves you time---as much as five hours a month for bloggers who post at least five times a week!
Look back at the beginning of this post when I told you I would routinely spend entire afternoons writing one blog post. And I'm a fast writer! Before I had an editorial calendar, I wasted time settling on a post idea, changing my mind, and slogging through a post when I had other work to be doing.
Having a blog plan means I always know what I'm going to write about. All my post ideas are brainstormed ahead of time, so when it's time to blog, I'm saving more than an hour trying to decide on a post topic. Those brainstormed posts have been simmering in my mind for at least a few days. Chances are, I've already got some great ideas jotted down to get me started---which makes the writing itself go faster.
But the biggest time saver that comes from having a content strategy is batching. I wrote a whole post on how this makes me a more efficient blogger. It's a smart strategy that could work for you, too!
2. I only like writing about whatever I feel like at the moment.
This might be true---I know it is for me!---but having a content strategy doesn't mean you don't still have the flexibility to write about what you want to.
Using an editorial calendar lets you plan your post topics ahead of time. When I sit down on blog drafting day or find myself with spare time and an itch to write, I can write about whichever one of those post ideas sounds good at the time. I've already determined which posts will be a good fit for my audience that month, so I can write about any of them and still be within my content strategy.
A content strategy is nothing more than a plan for your blog---and you're always the one in charge of that plan. An editorial calendar doesn't take away your blogging freedom, it just helps you put that freedom to use in a smarter way.
3. My writing won't be authentic if I plan posts ahead of time.
Are you really worried about this? I know "authenticity" is the big buzzword of the blogosphere right now, but just because you plan posts ahead doesn't mean your writing is somehow insincere!
The real concern behind this myth is that if you plan out your posts, your readers will feel like they're not getting the real you. Readers who can't connect with you don't comment, don't share, and don't become regular blog readers.
Except there's nothing about writing ahead of time that makes your readers unable to connect with you! Actually, the opposite is true. If you have a content strategy, you're taking the time to craft well-written posts that you've chosen specifically because they're what your readers need to hear. You're not flying by the seat of your pants, making up a blog post at the last minute and crossing your fingers that your readers will like it. Having a content strategy is the ultimate way to put your readers first.
You're still the one writing your blog. Your words will still have your unique style and flair. You're not giving up your writing personality. As long as you believe your words when you write them, you're being authentic---even if that post doesn't go out until two weeks later.
4. Readers see my posts one at a time, so having a plan doesn't matter.
This would be a great argument . . . except readers don't see your posts one at a time.
The ultimate goal of your blog is to get people to stick around on your website, clicking your links, getting to know you, and hopefully showing interest in your products or services. If you write your blog with a one-at-a-time mentality, none of your readers are going to stick around. You haven't given them a reason to!
A smart content strategy ties all your posts together so that when a new reader lands on one post, she has a reason to continue reading other things you've written. This happens by listing popular posts in your sidebar, showing related posts at the end of a blog post, linking to other relevant posts you've written, and having a well-organized archive page.
If a new visitor finds your site through a Pin about blog design, she'll be drawn in about other posts about blog design. But if she looks around and sees a mishmash of posts about your dog, sewing curtains, doing freelance taxes, and your favorite beauty products, she's going to leave. A content strategy could've kept that visitor from becoming part of your ever-rising bounce rate.
5. It's too complicated to create a content strategy from scratch.
That's where you're wrong. I've developed a simple, easy process for taking your blog from unplanned to fully strategized in just four weeks.
The free Content Challenge is here, and I'd love for you to join in the fun! I'll be sending challenge participants two emails per week for one month. Each email will have one simple step you can take right now to build your content strategy from the ground up.
Say goodbye to printing off worksheets and sacrificing your Netflix time to do business homework. The emphasis here is on creating a simple content strategy that works for you! These are the exact steps I took to build my strategy as a work-at-home mom with a toddler and newborn, so you know it's doable for any lifestyle.
Head right here to join the challenge!
What's your biggest reason for resisting a content strategy? Tell me about it in the comments!