Honestly, hot on the heels of an extremely busy client workload, a retreat in Marrakech and Brave CoWork’s first open day, strategic feels a bit of a stretch for me right now. I think flying by the seat of my pants probably has it covered.
I believe when you are playing big, going for what you want in your business, strategic can look like chaotic; strategic can get lost in the chaos; and strategic can become something to think about when you come up for air.
There are many things that impact on strategy, not least the culture of your business, and yes this still applies if you are the only person in your business – you might call it your style or your personality, essentially it is still the culture in which you operate. The Brave culture is very much one of trying new things, being ok with not having all the answers before we start, respecting all team opinions regardless of role in the business and accepting that not every initiative or launch will work. This only works because there is a strategy underneath it, a loose one on occasions but a strategy all the same. This means that when we think about risk, about new initiatives, we can very quickly decide whether they are on mission or not. Then we decide whether they are viable or not.
You might legitimately be thinking ‘how does this relate to blogging?’. Have you ever had that ‘oh sh*t’ moment where you realise you’ve not sent anything to your community for a few weeks? Swiftly followed by – what can I write about? If you have you are not alone. Focused, valuable content is something many business owners struggle with. Strategy sorts this. It keeps you and your business focussed on what you want to talk about, where you add the most value and how you connect with potential clients. Random blogging might be fun; it doesn’t necessarily help your business or position you as a thought leader or even a contributor in a specific field. Constantly having to think of something to talk about can be really hard work.
Imagine a scenario where you know exactly what you are writing about for the next 3 months, the topics are aligned with your key business messages and what you want to be known for, and you are talking about stuff that matters to you, that you are knowledgeable about and the words just kind of flow out of you. Congratulations if you already do this, it makes life so much easier.
If, on the other hand, your inner cynic is in overdrive about lack of spontaneity, being out of touch, manipulating the market etc etc, no-one ever said you can’t be controversial, tap into topical issues, or even re order your blog plan if it suits you. What having a strategic plan does is it enables you to get more intimate with your audience, to be provocative and challenging because they are familiar with what you talk about, they may or may not agree with you, but they have given you a platform.
When you write a blog you are engaging in a transaction with your audience. You are trading your knowledge for their time – if your knowledge or opinion isn’t worth their time they won’t read your stuff. If they don’t know whether it’s worth their time or not, because you are not strategic in what you talk about, it’s a harder decision to make.
If no one is reading your blog what are you left with – your google ranking for that blog. Guess what, if you are random about what you talk about you might get lucky, but the chances are you won’t have included subjects you want google to know you for or keywords your potential clients use. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying strategic blogging will have your SEO covered, it’s nowhere near that simple and I’m not an SEO expert. The reality is talking about the subjects you want to be known for is beneficial for humans and for SEO.
How do you get strategic about your blogging? Think about the top three key things you want your business to be known for, and start there. Once you have those key messages you can create specific content that adds value to your audience and positions your expertise where you choose.
For example, one of Brave Scene’s key messages is bravery over blame – having the courage to explore what gets in the way, over making excuses and blaming others or your circumstances. I talk about the stories we tell ourselves about the neuro biology of those stories and how to change them. Last week, for example, I talked about learning as a procrastination technique, about how we use the need for more knowledge as a cover story for our not enough-ness
I keep a sheet on my wall with our key messages on. While the key themes of what Brave Scene is about are constant, the specific messages might vary from quarter to quarter depending on what’s topical, what the business is focussed on – such as the CoWork launch. The sheet that goes on the wall is specific to that quarter. Once it’s up, anyone can write down ideas or comment on ideas. We draw from the news, from conversations with clients or from things they have learned and read about. When we come to look at our social media strategy – of which blogging is a critical part, it’s easy to pick subjects from our ideas chart; subjects that are on message, in line with what the business is doing and things I feel strongly enough to write about. This ideas sheet doesn’t just cover your blog strategy by the way, it will also have your Facebook live, podcasts etc. all covered.
None of this means you can’t add something in if something happens that your business should have an opinion on. What it does mean is the pressure if off when you get busy, when like us over the last month, your strategy looks like chaos, you still have focus – you might actually get that blog done and stay in touch with your audience rather than disappearing off the face of the earth until you are less busy. Consistency is everything when it comes to engagement.
My challenge for you this week is to pick one of your businesses key messages and come up with a couple of blog ideas from them. If you don’t know what your key messages are, defining them is a great place to start. If you are in the Braver Business group and would like to share your ideas or get some feedback, feel free to comment on the post I’ve started about this. If you are not yet in the group and would like to join, click here.
Strategy is your friend, and your guide, use it wisely.