One of the questions I’ve unsurprisingly gotten a lot the last couple weeks is “what should I be doing right now?” Aside from prioritizing your health and wellbeing (please do that!), there are three things I fall back to whenever things are slow or I feel like I’m in a slump, and these are easy(ish) and anyone can do these things. (Please just do one at a time.)
#1 Create a “pillar” blog post.
What does that mean? A pillar style blog post (I often call these “anchor” posts because I like that visual more) is a long-form, detailed post about a specific topic. Think “The Definitive Guide to…” “The Complete Guide to…” “How to…” “10 Steps to…”
These are meaty and substantive and intentionally designed to build awareness of you and your expertise by driving organic (Google) traffic to your website. These take quite a bit of time to put together, and I recommend outlining it and gathering any media you may want to include (screenshots, photos, etc). You can even include video in this sort of thing! (Kath uses Loom for this.)
I recommend getting very specific in this effort. Think of the number one problem your audience has and dive into it! Then, over time, you can build on this content, spinning off into narrower and narrower topics. The goal here is to establish yourself as a knowledgable authority.
BTW: If you haven’t already, Kath, Josh and I put together a 100% no-strings crash course in business blogging that will help you get started. Grab that right here.
#2 Try building your email list by offering a lead magnet.
I’ve talked about lead magnets (sometimes called content upgrades or freebies) in this newsletter before. A lead magnet helps to build an email list by offering a valuable download in exchange for signing up for a mailing list, eventually leading to that person being “funneled” into buying a product or service. I really like the five page guide format because it feels substantive to me. Some people like checklists and have great success with them. Writing is really easy for me (I used to do it professionally, believe it or not), so banging out a five page guidebook is not hard. If you’re not a big writer, a checklist, template, or worksheet may make more sense.
The idea here is that it will help you build you list and grow an audience. (People find you, they sign up for your freebie, then they get your newsletter you send on the regular and start to trust you and get where you’re coming from.)
There are lots of templates you can purchase to make this easier and I have no problem with that! Canva is also a great tool for folks who aren’t great at this kind of design—use the tools available to make this less painful!
#3 Update an old blog post.
Take a hard look at your current traffic. Has anything changed recently? Any odd spikes? I noticed on my site that my post about digital downloads and Squarespace exploded last week and took a few minutes to update it. Kath had an old no-traffic post suddenly go bananas. (Here it is.) Do you have old content that’s a bit long in the tooth that you can easily update and it will be relevant to people’s needs right now? You might be surprised! Don’t be afraid to refresh and reshare something you wrote previously if it’s going to be of service to your audience!
This all sounds pretty doable, right? That’s because it is! What worries me is when I hear people getting stuck. Even when things are hard, forward momentum can make you feel more in control and Future You will be be grateful you did this work now.