Learn to blog in 5 weeks with our new online course!

There are so many great reasons to have a blog: 

  • To showcase your expertise.
  • To give people a reason to come to your website (your home base on the web).
  • To help with search engine optimization (SEO) so that you'll come up in search.

The problem, of course, isn't that people don't know the value of having a blog, it's that they don't know how to start a blog, they don't know what to talk about, they don't know how to optimize their content, or they don't feel they can handle the maintenance of a blog. These are all really valid concerns, but we don't want to let them stop you.

Simple Start - Blogging

One of our goals at Wellman Wilson is to create tools to help you feel comfortable with online marketing. We started with a course that helps with Facebook and Twitter, last Fall we introduced a course on newsletters and now we're thrilled to be starting a course on blogging!

The goal of our blogging course is to walk you through the steps of setting up a blog from the very beginning. Does this mean that if you already have a blog this course isn't for you? Definitely not, it may just mean that some of the very first lessons have some refresher material for you - which never hurts!

What you'll learn

Week 1 - Foundations

Choosing to blog - why? how?
Identifying audience, goals
Crafting key messages

Week 2 - Content Basics

Creating a theme (subject) for your blog
Picking blog topics
Telling stories

Week 3 - Enhancing Content

Mixing up content - types of blog posts/media
Creating content
Using images to enhance blog posts

Week 4 - Planning

Setting up a plan
Using a content/editorial calendar
Establishing a regular publishing schedule

Week 5 - Optimize for Success

Optimizing your content for sharing
Learning the basics of SEO (search engine optimization)
Measuring success

How does it work?

The lessons are emailed based and will be delivered to your inbox over 5 weeks. Each week you'll cover a series of topics and be given homework and assignments to move you forward through the lessons.

You will be added to a closed Facebook Group where you will get the support of other people also taking the course and where you can ask questions that we will answer. 

You can also take advantage of our PLUS program which will give you access to one of us for three 30-minute calls.

How much does it cost?

As with our other programs we like to offer a great rate the first time a course is offered. If you enrol when the blogging course launches April 9th the cost is only $49 (it will be $99 when it runs again)!

For more information, including how to register visit:

We look forward to seeing you in the course!

You have more to say than you realize

Show me what you've got to say - I bet it's really good!

Show me what you've got to say - I bet it's really good!

There's a common piece of advice given by big name marketers that says you should only write when you have something to say. It's meant to be applied everywhere - your blog, your newsletter, and social networks. In theory, it makes sense: Don't overload/bore/waste your audience's time with content that you share just to have content to share.

For a small business, with a small audience, that's trying to build up engagement, this is not good advice. Here's why:

1) It requires a critical mass of engaged followers/subscribers.

The marketers who say this have all done their time, building up a good sized audience that trusts their expertise. They have loyal followings that look for their content and interact with it when it comes. As a small business owner, it takes time to build that kind of relationship with your audience. To remain successful with a "write when you have something to say" strategy, you need a critical mass following you. Can your business grow if 50% of your followers convert to paying customers? Depending on the size of your audience and what you do, many can say yes to that. The reality is that most businesses won't convert nearly that many people. So, how many people would it take to build your business to the level you want to reach? Now, you'll likely have to grow an audience that is at least 20 times that size (or more!). That's why it's important that you know that when content isn't delivered regularly, your audience will not grow consistently or as fast.

2) Credibility starts with visibility.

The point of posting content regularly is to keep your business and expert content top of mind with your audience. If they don't see or hear from you on a regular basis, they can't learn to trust what you have to say. Whether you're sending a newsletter, writing a blog post, or posting to social media, each of those touch points is an opportunity to provide value that builds your credibility as an expert in your field. As your audience sees the information you share, they will respond in various ways: by filtering it out or ignoring it, reading it, taking some kind of action - like, comment, share, tweet, or apply it to their work. Each of these responses is important - some can be measured and give valuable insight to you for future content. Stay visible with your content by delivering consistent 

3) You have more to say than you realize.

Has anyone ever said, "There's a reason we have two ears and one mouth," to you? Human nature is that we like to talk and some people need a gentle reminder that listening is important too. It's a rare person who truly doesn't like or want to talk. Posting content without thought or for the sake of putting something out there isn't valuable to you or anyone else. But if you think about the interactions you have with your customers and clients each day, how many times did you find you had nothing to say to them? What about associates? 

On January 13, 2015, Lara and I are leading a Content Mindset Workshop that will help you see how much content you truly have. Whether you've been creating content for many years or you're just starting out, we have some exciting plans for this day that will help you look at the creation of content from a different angle. We're going to spend time teaching about various types of content, and tools and tactics that can help you create more effective content. You'll walk away at the end of day with content to use for your business. We strongly believe that you have more to say and this workshop is designed to draw those things out of you - for the benefit of your audience and your business.

Join us - I promise you won't regret it!

Are controversial pieces right for you and your audience?

I once read a blog post about the tactic of writing a contrary or controversial opinion about a topic. I can’t remember where I read it, but the idea stuck with me. It’s an interesting tactic, but there are some factors you have to consider before you take that step.

Writing a piece that expresses your opinion on something (particularly if it’s potentially controversial) is like diving into pitch black water. You don’t know what you’ll find. It could be tadpoles or it could be sharks. You might even find yourself in over your head. This is reality if you jump in the water of opinion/controversy. There’s no escaping it.

Before you decide to jump in, there are several things you should consider:

Not everyone will agree with you

No one has the luxury of everyone agreeing with them 100% of the time online or off. However, people are more apt to express their disagreement online. There is also the potential that some will be curt, rude, or even cruel. It’s not right, but it’s reality. If you aren’t ready to hear perspectives that are different (and often polar opposite) of your own, you should not use this tactic. If you aren’t ready to potentially incite strong feelings in people (and, subsequently, deal with their reactions), you should not use this tactic. If you want to avoid any possibility of confrontation, don’t use this tactic.

The topic and your opinion need to align with your brand

Writing an opinion piece on a personal blog isn’t too off-brand for most bloggers since they blog about topics they care about. However, for a business, it’s critical to think about how your audience may perceive the stance you take. You don’t want to inadvertently alienate the people who support your business. More than that, you want to be consistent with how you are perceived as a brand. If the topic isn’t relevant or goes too far off course, it may not be a good fit. This aspect isn’t straightforward, though. Sometimes, even as a brand, it is worth the gamble to get a message out there. If, as a brand, you don’t want to court controversy of any kind, this tactic probably isn’t right for you.

Know that anything or nothing may happen

You could end up with interview requests from media outlets, hundreds of comments, thousands of hits. Or you may feel like you’re screaming into a vacuum, wondering why the world doesn’t see how brilliant your views on this issue are. It’s hard to predict the impact that a piece will have. It’s easier not to try. If your goal is to share your message, go for it. If your goal is to change the world to your way of thinking, it’s a guarantee that you won’t succeed.

Be certain that you have all the relevant facts

Have you ever jumped up on your high horse with righteous indignation and then found out you didn’t have the whole story? I did this not too long ago. It wasn’t on my blog (whew), but I did post something to Facebook. I later found out that I was wrong. In this instance, I was glad to be wrong. However, if I had written out a big rant and hit publish on my blog, I would have been mortified. One of the worst hits to your credibility as a business would be to post a controversial opinion piece without adequate research. It can be easier to recover from the hit to your pride than to recover that lost credibility.

You need to have a thick skin

It can be intense to get comments and replies that criticize or disagree with your views. Are you emotionally and mentally prepared to understand that it is part of a larger conversation? Or will you begin to fear that people see you in a negative light or question your motives and message? Feeling passionate about a subject can create an emotional involvement that you might not have with other topics related to your area of expertise. It can also make it harder to take criticism of your logic or differing perspectives. Of everything on this list, this one is the second most important (brand consistency beats thick skin). It can be very stressful if your post gets picked up by a large audience when you aren’t prepared for the potential for feedback that goes against your views, even if it isn’t negative or critical.

Always take time to decompress

I rarely ever publish a post as soon as I’m through writing it. For one, I prefer to publish first thing in the morning and I don’t write first thing in the morning. While Lara tries to read all my posts before they’re published (as I do hers), we sometimes have to edit our own content due to time constraints. So, I walk away from my writing for a minimum of an hour (a day is much better if I have enough time) and then re-read for editing before I publish. If you feel like ranting about an issue, taking time to breathe and let it settle can help focus your words and message so that it has clarity and reason that can get lost in a passionate plea.

Not every business should or can get involved in controversial debates. Starting such a debate is even trickier. It’s essential to consider the ramifications before you decide to proceed. If even the worst-case scenarios don’t dissuade you, it might be worth trying. Just remember that once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

Have you or would you ever consider writing a controversial piece for your business blog?

Are you creating the right kind of content?

We’ve talked about whom you should be talking to and how you should be talking to them in the past, but today I want to talk about what you should be saying to your audience.

What does your audience want to know?

Once you’ve figured out who your target audience is you need to make sure that the content that you’re creating is what they actually want to be receiving. 

This can be far more difficult than it sounds because most of us have a tendency to explain things as if we’re talking to our peers.  However, our potential customers aren’t our peers and that usually means we need to take at least two giant steps back before we start trying to explain anything.

Start at the beginning

While this isn’t true for every client base, a lot of the time what you need to do when creating content for your audience is make sure that you’re breaking things down for them into easy to understand and digestible pieces of information.

If you are a personal trainer you may want to explain the reasons why exercise can help a person feel better, stronger, and healthier instead of talking about the science behind how a body will feel better when consistently active.  Most people ready to make a change would feel intimidated (or bored) by anything too scientific.

If you’re a web site designer who works with business owners who don’t feel comfortable with technology, you may want to talk about the merits of different kinds of sites, the importance of having a web site at all, or how to make simple changes to your own site but you wouldn’t want to create tutorials on how to do code your own web site.

Or maybe in the middle 

I’m not suggesting that everything needs to be dumbed down. If what you specialize in requires people to have a certain level of knowledge, then you don’t have to start at the beginning, but chances are, you need to still take a few steps back from where you currently are.  

If you are a lawyer who deals in real estate law and you are creating content for realtors, then you know that you can use the language that realtors know, but you shouldn’t use legal language because your audience isn’t lawyers.

What do you want them to know? 

You want to create content that demonstrates your expertise and help lead your potential clients towards purchasing what you sell.  With that in mind, what kind of content can you create that will help you do those things? 

Think about the things you get asked when people are inquiring about your business.  Think about all the information you think people need to know before making a decision about whether or not to work with you.  Jot down 4-5 things.  If the answers to those questions aren’t on your web site right now, you have the topics for four or five blog posts or videos (at least) and the answers you give people to those questions are your draft content.

What do you think your audience wants to hear about?