I went to a Social Media Marketing Club meeting last week that gave me an interesting statistic. According to Hubspot, companies with blogs have 55% more visitors to their websites than companies without. That’s a pretty huge number!

Because so much of a company’s SEO (search engine optimization…or what makes your website come to the top of the list in a Web search) depends on the content of your site and how many links come back to your site, it actually makes a lot of sense. Blogs tend to use your keywords repeatedly and can be linked to externally from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, and a variety of other sources. But most importantly, blogging enables you to market yourself as an expert in the industry you serve.

What a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors!

However, it took me four months of stalling before I actually started writing in my blog, even though I know exactly how important blogging is for strategic marketing. Why the long wait? Because it took me that long to come up with ideas for topics that would interest my clients and prospective clients while still providing a new perspective on topics that may have already been blogged to death. Blogging can only be an effective marketing tool if you use it to say something unique or interesting.

Here are some tips that helped me develop blog content and get the ball rolling, so to speak:

  1. Create a list of potential blog topics. Your ideas may be as simple as “something about finding a green printing company” or more detailed with a specific outline. But creating this list means you don’t have to stare at a blank screen every time you sit down to write.
  2. Write multiple blog posts ahead of time, if you’re on a roll. When you are on a good writing kick, and the creative juices are flowing, just keep writing. Most blogging sites let you write blog entries and schedule them to post at a future time.
  3. Set up a blog schedule. A blog schedule holds you accountable to consistent blogging. If you only blog once every three months or are inconsistent, your audience may lose interest.
  4. Search for interesting articles on the Internet. If you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas, it’s usually fairly easy to find an interesting article to respond to. Avoid exact repetition, but opinions or additional discussion can lead to interesting posts.

So I have created a list of blogging ideas and a blogging calendar for the first few months of 2011. Now I just need to get writing. A networking colleague and I decided to set aside some time to sit and do nothing but write blog posts. Nothing like learning to walk the walk!