There are so many things to consider in starting or re-starting a business, as I’m sure you know. At this point, there are so many different marketing avenues to promote our business and the industry as a whole. Let me tell you, I am so excited about this up and coming ‘virtual’ profession.
One of the areas I was going to start off with again is a blog. And you are correct – sometimes it’s difficult to come up with ideas or topics to talk about. Frankly, sometimes I even think before I start to write ‘What could I possibly have to say that may make a difference in someone’s life?’ or ‘Do I really have anything to offer to benefit the VA industry – individually and as a whole?’
Do you have any suggestions on how to overcome this writer’s block or how to research what topics would be interesting to my peers and potential customers?
Oh, you know I do. 😉
My first bit of clarity for you is to stop thinking you need to write for your peers and the industry. You are wasting your business building time and energy.
I can’t tell you how many people I see and mentor who complain about not having clients and needing to get more clients–and then waste all their time and energy talking to and blogging for each other instead of their would-be clients!
You may have heard the phrase “wasted real estate” when experts talk about how business owners waste valuable website space with content that has nothing to do with anything when it comes to attracting clients and being of interest to them.
In the same way, you don’t need to be writing for your peers or for the industry. They are not your clients. If that’s what you’re doing, you’re wasting one of your most valuable pieces of marketing and networking “real estate.” If you are starting your business or trying to grow it and attract more clients and be of service to them, write your blog for them.
And my second bit of advice for getting over writer’s block is to get a target market.
(For those who don’t know, a target market is a specific field, industry or profession you focus your business support on.)
Of course you will be at a loss as to what to write about when you don’t know who you are talking to. When you try to write for anyone and everyone, you end up being interesting to no one.
This is yet another way having a target market helps you: it gives you clarity, focus and direction. When you know who you are talking to, it’s easier to know or figure out what is going to be of value, use and interest to them. And this is what will help make your content far more interesting, useful and compelling.
A few other little blogging tips:
- Make sure you have several ways for your target market to subscribe to your blog. First and foremost, use a service like Aweber which will help you build your list and automate the distribution of new post notifications to these subscribers. Make the subscription form your most prominent feature in your upper right sidebar (“above the fold”).
- There will be people who prefer to subscribe by RSS or with things like Networked Blogs. Give them those options as well. However, if you are interested in building your list, you may want to feature those options less prominently.
- Give your blog a title and/or tag line so that your target market knows instantly that your blog is especially for them.
- Survey your subscribers periodically. Pick their brains. Ask them questions. Your blog isn’t just a way to connect with clients. It can also be an excellent research tool for getting to know them better and find out more about what their challenges and common goals and interests are in business–which is going to help you in your business and offerings to them as well as knowing what to write about for them.