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Don’t Curse the Cursor

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That little blinking cursor is mocking you again. It’s time to craft your next blog post, and you have no idea what to write about.

Sound familiar? If so, keep reading!

In my last post, I shared a few tips for how to structure a blog post that:

  • captures attention;
  • delivers value to the people you want to reach; and
  • gets readers to take a specific action.

So now that you understand the anatomy of a great blog post, you’re ready to write – right?

Well, almost. For your blog to deliver the results you want (such as nurturing new clients or qualified candidates), you need to aim before you fire.

You need a content plan.

Planning content keeps your blog balanced, relevant and on-track. Plus, it helps ensure blogging actually gets done (and if you’ve ever found yourself staring at a blinking cursor, wondering what the heck you’re going to blog about that day, you’ll really thank yourself for creating a content plan).

If you’ve never developed a content plan before, don’t be intimidated. With a little foresight and effort, you can create a topic calendar that’s timely, relevant, fresh and interesting. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Write for your audience(s).

Who will be reading your blog? HR managers? CIOs? Business owners? Nursing managers? Job seekers? Clearly define each audience and plan content that addresses the specific needs and interests of each group.

Find out what’s important to readers.

Once you’ve defined each audience, develop a list of relevant topics to write about (ideally, those topics should overlap with what you do).

  • Give your ideas a home. Start the process by creating a shared document or spreadsheet (Google is great for this) employees can use to house topic ideas whenever they come in. Interesting articles, client questions and success stories are all potential sources of blog content; get in the habit of putting them in one place, so you can refer to them when you’re ready to write your plan.
  • Ask your employees. Your sales team and recruiters are on the front lines, every day. Find out what clients, prospects and candidates are talking about.
  • Brainstorm potential topics as a group. Consider strategic business challenges, trends in HR and workforce management, job search strategies and career tips as a start.
  • Survey or interview clients and candidates. Ask your most trusted connections what they’re struggling with, trying to achieve or interested in learning more about.
  • Use your professional network and associations. Get involved in discussion groups on LinkedIn related to your clients’ industries. Pay attention to hot topics covered by the ASA or other associations related to your clients’ businesses.
  • Troll the web. Good old-fashioned internet research works well, too. Read what industry- and thought-leaders are writing about for inspiration.

Consider the time of year.

Post content right when your clients and candidates are likely to be searching for it. For example, schedule a post on seasonal staffing before clients’ busy seasons – when they’re planning to gear up and might need your services.

Focus on adding value; not selling staffing.

Your blog (or any content platform) is certainly a great tool for building your brand – but continual selling turns readers off. Make sure you balance staffing-oriented entries with topics that help your readers solve their problems and be more successful in their careers. By demonstrating a genuine interest in helping them (and not just promoting your own agenda), you’ll earn both credibility and trust.

Have fun!

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – and it makes your blog dull, too. So switch things up and include the occasional just-for-fun post (be sure to choose content that’s audience-appropriate and meshes well with your firm’s brand).

Need a few content suggestions to get the ball rolling? Here is a list David Searns, our CEO, shared a few months ago that will help your team create amazing content.

And if you’ve read this post and are still cursing the blinking cursor, give Haley Marketing a call!
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