Scrappy Strategic Marketing: Bootstrapping Your Blog

Posted by Alec Biedrzycki

Mar 5, 2013, 12:59 PM

BootsIf you’re a workout buff and an Internet marketer, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say blogging is like a set of squat thrusts. For those not familiar with either, I’ll start with the exercise move first: a squat thrust (sometimes referred to as a “burpee”) is a movement that works a lot of muscle groups.

Side note: I cannot do these.

Similarly, blogging works a lot of Internet marketing muscle groups. It’s a content development exercise, an SEO enhancing activity, a lead generation technique—the list goes on. My main point here is that like squat thrusts, blogging is a great way to flex many marketing muscles in one fell swoop.

But like squat thrusts, blogging ain’t easy. As Takako states in this week’s Question MARKeting submission “We can't spend enough time keeping up with the web content and blog.....No one sees us.” Sounds like a two-fold challenge here, Takako. Allocating the right resources and seeing results that your efforts are producing. This is a common problem I run into when recommending a blogging strategy for smaller businesses with relatively limited resources. It’s a tough barrier to overcome. But before throwing in the towel and giving up blogging entirely, I advise thinking about it in a different mindset. A scrappy type of mindset.

What follows is an overview of a bootstrapped blogging strategy—a frugal way to utilize resources in order to maximize the impact of your blogging activities. Each section starts with “getting” because hey, who doesn’t like the consistency of repetition in numbered-lists?

1.) Getting Content (Repurposing and Recycling):

Each piece of content you write doesn’t need to be built from scratch. Think of ways you can recycle past content or even re-purpose content that’s floating around. Here are some ideas on content and how it can be repurposed:

  • Recorded a webinar or a video? Transcribe it into a blog post!
  • Have website FAQs? Turn each into its own blog post!
  • Got some whitepapers sitting around? Blog post-ize ‘em!

2.) Getting Help:

Hire an Intern for College Credit: The 2009 Al Biedrzycki would absolutely hate this idea, but the 2013 Al Biedrzycki recommends it! It’s just a matter of perspective. Interns can be a huge help when it comes to content development. Plus, if they turn out okay, you can have them come on board fulltime once their time is up. If they fall flat, no problem! You can deny them college credit.

Guest Bloggers: Getting a leg up from a friend or colleague not only helps you get a piece of content published, it can also help with link building! If a guest blogger links to your post from their site, you get the Inbound SEO credit. It’s win-win!

Friendly Competition: If you have a lack of intern candidates and no guest bloggers (i.e. friends) you can get a little internal competition going amongst co-workers to see who can write the most successful post each month. Have everyone contribute and the author whose post gets the most traffic and/or comments is deemed the winner.

3.) Getting Ideas:

Don’t know what to write about? Ask your contacts and connections for ideas! What are they struggling with that your product or service helps solve? If you can get a list of running questions (via email survey or landing page form) you can start drafting up posts in no time. Heck, if you’re pursuing item 2a above, you can hand off these ideas to the intern and call it a day.

4.) Getting Time:

There’s no easy way to do this, but if you’re going to be the individual spearheading the blogging efforts, block off time in your calendar to get it done. You’ll want to be publishing at least two posts per week on average. So, estimate however long it takes you to write a 600-800 word post, times that by two and block off that total time in your calendar each week. Math is fun, once you get to know it.

You also might want to keep a running tally of blog post ideas so that you’re never scrambling to get something out the door. I keep a running tab of post ideas in a Google Drive spreadsheet. It’s right next to my “monthly living expenses” calculator and they both get along pretty well.

5.) Getting Exposure:

Publishing a blog and waiting for it to get indexed is great, but proactively promoting it is a necessity to getting traction. Here are two bootstrappin’ tips to help you save time and money when promoting your blog:

Social Media Management Tool: There are plenty of these tools out there and a lot of them have the same types of functionality. Most of the time, you can get all the functionality you need for posting messages without paying much (if any) money.

Tap into LinkedIn Contacts:  Don’t be shy in spreading the word about your post. Nobody is really going to find it if you don’t put it out there. Tap into any existing contacts you have in a LinkedIn and send them a message about the post. Ensure you invite them to subscribe to the blog because hey, it’s an awesome blog. Also, it’ll help with long term growth—there’s that too!

6.) Getting Results:

Adwords or SEMRush for Keywords: Since we’re bootstrapping and scrappy, a good way to do keyword research on the cheap is by using SEMRush or Google Adwords. By “on the cheap” I mean free. Keywords play a huge role in blogging, so make sure you do it right!

Google Analytics for Goal Analysis: Google Analytics (another free platform to utilize) helps you keep track of traffic progress and if you’re extra fancy, leads that have come through the website (setup as “Goals”). This is a definite must so you know how your efforts are impacting the bottom line. Software like Google Analytics will also give you actionable insight on how to improve your efforts, so utilize it!

All the above are what contribute to (in my opinion) a scrappy blogging strategy. What other tactics would you use to get the most out of your blogging efforts without sucking up time or money?

Also, a bonus tip: I’ve heard that publishing a fresh blog article to Google+ will help expedite the indexing process. Why wait? Index quicker with Google+!