About three years ago I began to publish a blog focused mainly on improving processes within small business.
Many of these blogs are derived from having worked many years in larger organizations and attempting to translate those experiences to smaller businesses in the retail sector. The goal was to provide insights from large organizations and how they tackle operational, marketing and management issues.
While producing a blog about every few weeks or so can be time-consuming, what I have found is that it makes future content development more efficient. Rather than create content on an as needed basis, publishing blogs in this fashion helps create content over an extended period of time. This process has time-shifted the content development.
In time, I have had over 80 blogs published that basically targets small business operators with a large organization level of expertise. In a sense, these blogs enable Gray Cat to accomplish the following:
Showcase Credibility: What better way to showcase your expertise than to articulate it through a blog? Whether it’s the media, attracting new clients or simply providing ongoing expertise to existing clients, communicating a level of expertise is an excellent way to stay top-of-mind and relevant within certain industries. Proactively offering this expertise keeps you front and center in the minds of your core audience.
Create A “Catcher’s Mitt”: Having content at your fingertips is an excellent way to always be “at the ready.” I can’t tell you how often I am thankful to already have content developed in advance of being asked about a certain subject matter. All of my blogs enable me to have a “catcher’s mitt” of content that can easily be adapted for the task at hand. This proprietary material is a treasure trove of content from which to tap.
Speed To Market: With this bevy of content already developed, the speed to market with this content is almost simultaneous with the request. Clients and media will come to know that you are an expert that not only has the knowledge, but as importantly, the forethought to have the content ready to go. An ongoing blog dovetails perfectly with one of my core philosophical tenets – “always have answers to questions before the question is asked.”
Get Published! Writing the content is one thing, finding multiple avenues to publish this content is another. I have a number of outlets that distribute my content—with full accreditation—that enable my blog content to cascade throughout a number of outlets. This not only creates greater exposure for my proprietary content, but also establishes ownership and broader reach. In addition, many of these published articles are tracked for readership and often provide critical information on receptiveness that in turn can justify the development of a correlating speech.
Force Yourself To Think: Lastly, putting your knowledge into a blog accomplishes one fantastic residual impact: It makes you critically think about your areas of expertise. It is one thing to proclaim your expertise verbally in meetings; it is quite another thing to put that expertise in writing. Publishing your expertise in the form of a blog for the world to see, opens the door for critical assessments. In some cases, you need to have a thick skin in order to accept these assessments of your blogs.
In summary, I write a blog for all the reasons above, but to me, it’s the time shifting of having relevant content at the ready that has been the greatest benefit for me. Being able to respond to requests by both my clients and the media in warp-speed often is the difference-maker in getting the consulting gig or getting published. Speed to market with industry expertise clearly sets yourself apart from your competition and makes you the “go-to guy” on an ongoing basis.
John Matthews is the founder and president of Gray Cat Enterprises, Inc., a strategic planning and marketing services firm that specializes in helping businesses grow in the restaurant, convenience and general retail industries. With more than 25 years of senior-level experience in retail and a speaker at retail-group events throughout the U.S., Matthews has recently written two step-by-step manuals, Local Store Marketing Manual for Retailers and Grand Opening Manual for Retailers, which are available at www.graycatenterprises.com.