While at the "Moms Love Lucy" taping yesterday, I shared with several women business owners how a blog could enhance their business. Their number one question was, "How do I know what to blog about?" The answer is simple: go from pillar to post. Bur first, a review.
We started out by looking at several benefits of blogging for business. Then we addressed several points to help you know whether or not a blog is likely to be a waste of your time. Next, we assessed the blogging tools that are available to you. If you've gotten this far, perhaps it's time to launch your blog. But how do you organize random thoughts and ideas into a cohesive, organized group of posts? By going from pillar to post of course!
Before constructing a building, architects and builders design and erect the pillars. Pillars provide structural support and without them, the builders labor in vain. By way of analogy, the pillars establish the general theme of your blog and help you focus readers' attention. They also give your blog consistency and order.
Let's say you manufacture organic soy candles, each with a specific aromatherapy benefit. You also live an "organic lifestyle" and enjoy sharing your tips and ideas to help other people do the same. You make your candles yourself by hand in your candle studio and you regularly attend trade shows, craft fairs and other places where you sell your candles.
Here are some sample blog pillars and suggested posts to start your creative juices flowing. Note that each pillar supports the theme: enjoy my candles and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
As you read these samples, remember that blog posts should be down to earth, conversational and designed to strike an emotional chord that is consistent with the theme of your blog. The best posts are interesting, entertaining and give readers something they cannot get anywhere else. Overt sales hype in a blog is generally a no-no.
Suggested Pillar No. 1: My candles are awesome. Suggested posts:
- Photos of customers holding your beautiful candles and their quotes about how much they like them.
- Pictures of you at various shows where you sell your candles. Some photos can include customers or visitors to your exhibit or show booth.
- Pictures of you making your candles.
- A photo of the wax you spilled all over your candle studio floor when you lost your balance pouring the candles.
- A picture of you on a candle mold shopping spree. Interview the person you bought the molds from on the topic of what makes a good candle mold.
- Share the "safe burning instructions" you include with each candle you sell, and talk about how important it is to follow them.
Suggested Pillar No. 3: Without candles, life has no meaning.
- Interview the president of a candle trade association about how great candles are.
- Interview an editor for a decorating magazine or home show about how important it is to accessorize with candles.
- Interview an interior decorator about how to choose the right color for a candle.
- Interview an aromatherapist about how to choose the right scent for a candle, or how to choose a candle as a gift based on a person's personality traits.
- Take a picture of your candles decorating your home during the holiday season and post the picture along with a Happy Holidays message.
- Ask a realtor to contribute a few thoughts on how a scented candle encourages home purchases.
Suggested Pillar No. 3: Organic living is fun and healthy. Suggested posts:
- Why soy wax is better than other waxes for use in candles. Conduct a test of the burning time and fragrance intensity of your soy candle vs. a candle made with another kind of wax and blog about the results.
- A favorite recipe made with organic ingredients. Include a picture of the finished dish in the middle of your dinner table (with a candle in the background of course.)
- Your impressions of a news story related to candle safety issues.
- A post referring to a celebrity who is doing well by doing good in terms of the environment.
- Interview a farmer who grows the soy products that eventually end up in your candles.
- Post reliable statistics about how people who choose an eco-friendly lifestyle are happier and healthier than those who don't.
- Tell your readers about a great new eco-friendly product you bought and how it enhances your lifestyle. Include the price, how you use the product and a picture of you using the product.
See? With 3 pillars, you can blog 3 times a week. Eventually, you'll find yourself thinking days in advance of what you'll post about because your pillars are in place. As you live your life as a candle maker, it will become second nature to create posts that fit neatly into one pillar or another.
You can always change your pillars, add new pillars or delete pillars depending on the time of year, breaking news and other factors. Some of your interviews can be done in written Q&A format while others can be recorded and the audio file loaded to your blog using a free audio service such as Free Conference Call. And while you're at it, why not plan to add video to your blog using services like YouTube?
A successful blog uses pillars to provide focus, continuity and structure. It's easy to go from pillar to post when you having something to say and can organize your thoughts.
Has this series of posts been helpful to you? What other questions do you have? What are your experiences? Post your contributions using the Comments link below.