It’s hard enough to build a thriving business on your own, BUT if you need to shave a few hours off of your blog creation and blog posting, then it’s time to expand your team.
The first move, most business owners make is in hiring a virtual assistant. But hiring one can be just as overwhelming as your to-do list.
Don’t believe me? Look in any of your Facebook groups, and you’ll see TONS OF questions about hiring a virtual assistant for your business.
The number one task, most business owners, hand off to their VA's is blog post management. Specifically, the tasks of uploading, formatting, and promoting blog posts.
Add to the mix; there are many different types of virtual assistants. Some do social media; some do project management while others just offer technical support. But to some degree, most VAs are tasked with handling your most valuable marketing tool – your blog.
How do you level the VA skills field when it comes to maximizing each blog posting?
Simple, with my free, easy to use Blog Post Planner.
To make YOUR relationship WITH YOUR VA fruitful you need to have a STREAMLINED process in place so that your work gets done TO your standards.
This is the reason WHY I created my Blog Post Planner. I KEPT SEEING my clients, AND THEIR VAS KILL IT USING ONE. They were hitting one piece of the blog creation but TOTALLY BLOW IT IN ANOTHER.
The free blog post planner is more than just a planner. In it; I walk you through the process of blog post creation.
When you download your blog post planner, you will see that it contains the following sections: research, basic blog posting SEO, promotion, and visuals.
Each section is designed to make sure you or VA put the best blog post possible.
So, to help you get the most out of your free blog post planner, I've put together my top tips, gleaned from my personal experience working with clients in my business.
I've tested these tips with real businesses and clients that we support in the WordPress Maintenance Packages.
Download the free blog post planner and then hand it off to your VA for blog post success.
Creating The Blog Post
As a refresher let's review the three key components of blog posting.
The first step of creating any blog post is the outline. Sure there is the research, but you ALSO need to have the topic, keyword and general guidelines of what your article should or needs to contain.
With my clients, I found it was best to have another section that set the reader problem and the solution so that when they would write the article (or hand off to their blog writer), it was clear the purpose of the article.
And, NEXT, you need to break down the article to include headlines and sub-headlines. Many people do this for structure and readability of the article but it also provides GIVES YOU some SEO juice too.
FINALLY, Add to that your call to action. YOUR CALL TO ACTION IS A CORNERSTONE OF YOUR BLOG POST BECAUSE IT TELL YOUR AUDIENCE WHAT TO DO NEXT.
As you can see several things go into crafting a great blog post.
With the INSIDE YOUR BLOG POST planner, YOUR VA can either use the Blog Article section to craft an SEO friendly outline. Or AS A PRO TIP: you could give THE BLOG ARTICLE section to your virtual assistant AHEAD OF TIME for the research phase of the writing process.
Formatting, Blog Posting and Scheduling Your Article
Everyone thinks once you've completed writing your blog post, your job is done.
You still need to format your words for SEO and readability. I’ve seen lots of clients write the articles, and then they sit because they don’t have time to get them formatted and scheduled.
Most VAs don't understand how to do this properly. So, to help your VA format like a pro, I added the next section of the planner to hit on HOW TO format the post and add basic SEO to YOUR BLOG post.
Blog posting SEO is the section that we complete for several of our clients because of the optimization factor in the post. Then the client knows that thought is being put into the SEO part of the article.
We also use the article and optimization sections as our guide to the posting and scheduling process of our procedures. Handy for passing this task to our virtual assistant. She’ll know what headlines to use in the article and what to add to the SEO Yoast section of the post.
It’s like a step by step blueprint that allows you to tweak your process to your particular style without having to rethink the process every time.
Promotion of Your Blog Post
What good is a blog post without some promotion?
First, you need to make sure you have images for the different image sizes. Sure some standard sizes work with some of the networks, but I prefer to have the optimal size per network.
With one click you’ll have the sizes you need to create the proper image size for your promotion.
Next, you need to use some diversity in the words you use to promote your post. You don’t want to be only sharing the title and URL. We like to use CoSchedules recommendation for optimal posting by varying with a snippet, question, controversy, benefit, and so on.
And don’t forget your tweetable and hashtags that extend the social sharing of the post on individual networks.
The post promotion section, designed so that we could give the article to our social virtual assistant and she fills in the sections for a balanced promotion plan. Having options and variation provides different eyes to your post promotion since one statement may resonate with one of your potential clients and not the other.
Not sure where to start with planning your articles, blog or resources page? Download the Blog Post Planner to get started in creating a shareable process with your virtual assistant.Keep reading...
I love to travel. I love to vacation even more. Many business owners never take a vacation because they are afraid they will miss something important. With systems automation of your business, you don't need to be one of those people.
Prevention Magazine indicates that people who take vacations are happier, healthier, feel younger, and reduce their risk of heart attack by up to fifty percent.
I’ve gone to a lot of remote places during my RV travels. Let me be the first to tell you that the wireless network is not everywhere. If there is a dead spot, I will find it. Once I was at a campground in Clarion County, which while not primitive by any means would not allow for cell reception without climbing a mountain.
Luckily for me, I have some good systems automation in place, so my business is working for me.
Here are some tips I find helpful when planning to take a vacation from your business.
When you work for someone else, you are normally able to forget about work during your vacation. However, as a small business owner, disconnecting entirely is impossible. To have a stress free vacation, you need to be intentional about the amount of time you use for work.
A good rule of thumb is to set aside an hour or two per day to spend responding to messages and checking on social media accounts. Don’t feel like you need to address every email in your inbox. Only respond to those that include a critical issue or task. If there is nothing urgent, close the email program and get back to relaxation.
Systems automation for your email account can help here. Setting up filters and auto-responders will do half the work for you. This way you can weed out what messages to address right away and what can wait.
When my daughter got married, we went to Las Vegas. The travel agent provided us with all the details and items we needed for the travel trip, and the event planner gave us the outline of tasks to do before our arrival. These things reminded me of tip two.
Start a list of things you absolutely must get done before you go. So that you are sure to get all the items done before you leave, you need to prioritize. Take care of the most important things, For example, write out and schedule your blog posts for the week of vacation and the week after. Doing this will allow you peace of mind before, during and after.
The beauty of WordPress is that you can draft and schedule content release. Use that as a base for system automation of your content marketing. Plan ahead and let your website do the work for you.
Build Your Team
The best thing we did in Vegas was getting the event planner. By engaging with her connections, we were able to make plans and enjoy things we would not have considered if we did not have the additional ideas and recommendations. An excellent reminder for tip three.
As you can see from the tips so far, systems automation is not just about technology but making things work like a well-oiled machine. Having a team or a partner of experts will allow you some clear mind space to enjoy your vacation.
I have a general admin virtual assistant whom I can have to monitor my email and social media and send me a daily update of items that need to be addressed immediately. She also is a backup to the little tasks that could be addressed while I am sitting poolside.
I have a project management system so I can also have her add and schedule all the items that need to be done. My system allows tasks to be assigned to any member of my team, so I only need to look in one place to make sure everyone is on schedule and if not send them a quick note to please follow up with the client.
Pick Your Go To Tools
When you spend time in varying places, you learn to rely on tools and apps that make life all that much easier. When thinking about the system automation processes you have also built think about tools you can use to make those tasks work for you.
One of my other favorites is canned responses in my Google Apps mail. If you have messages or responses that are the same time after time, you can create a canned response. I use Acuity to schedule all my appointments and consultations so whenever someone asks to meet with me I have a standard response that includes the link to the calendar.
With a few clicks and a little personalization, I can send someone my availability so that they can find the most convenient time in their schedule to make the appointment. Better yet, while I am away, this is a task that I can hand off to my support team.
These are just a few of the tools I use in my everyday business.
If you are a virtual business, you should consider mobilization. There are many quality SAAS or cloud programs that allow you to access information from a variety of devices. There is no reason that you cannot access your documents, update your website or even send a client an invoice.
These mobile or cloud programs are vital to systems automation to make everything seamless across all devices.
My all-time favorite mobile program is Evernote. The amount of information I can store in my notebooks is astounding. Couple that with Dropbox and I always have access to my files and notes when that client emergency arises.
The best part of these programs is that they have easy sharing capabilities. If you need to hand off an item while enjoying your downtime you only need to send your team member or backup person a link to the folder and let then have easy access to notes and files.
Because I embrace automation and technology, you are reading this while I am visiting a winery somewhere. Part of this mini trip is that after enjoying the day with friends tasting I can go back, build a fire and enjoy the rest of the evening with good food and great company while my business runs itself.
Still not sure how to prepare your business for time away or vacations? Let's chat and design a systems automation plan for you.Keep reading...