In February, The New York Times featured a Q&A with Marcus Sheridan, part owner of Warsaw, Va.-based fiberglass pool installation firm River Pools & Spas.

In the piece, Sheridan discussed how he implemented a unique content marketing campaign that literally saved the company from financial crisis.

In the interview, Sheridan outlined how he turned the company around from consecutively overdrawing its bank account to exceeding its peak pre-2007 revenue.

The strategy is centered on the concept of content marketing, which essentially is the creating and sharing of media in an effort to acquire customers. Simply put, it’s writing a blog and/or filming videos.

Yes, I know. You’re already busy and have little time to add more to the to-do list, so I’ll allow one moment for the deep sighs of frustration to subside before moving on.

Now that we’ve gotten past the initial reaction …

I also know plenty of you have heard it before: small businesses need to have a website, a consistent blog and a solid social media campaign, but you just haven’t got the time, skills or tools to make it happen, right?


It’s way simpler than you could ever imagine. And the ROI is invaluable.

First, take a moment to read the Times piece on River Pools & Spas. Then follow these easy tips to get your blog going today.

  1. Find the time. Writing a blog shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes (if not less), and thanks to the latest tools and gadgets, one can even do so while getting gas or waiting for a customer to arrive on a job site.
  2. Keep it short. A blog should be between 250 and 500 words. (To put it into perspective, this one is at 257 at this point.)
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Grammar and spelling is important, but the simpler a blog’s content is, the better. Above all else, make sure the information is accurate and useful to the reader.
  4. Post a blog at least once a week (although three is optimum for the best click rates) to increase your web ranking. That’s only 52 in a year!
  5. Create a schedule, and stick to it. If you plan to post a blog more than once a week, maybe choose to blog about certain subjects on specific days. For example, Monday is about spas. Tuesday is about an industry or business news story.  Wednesday is about a customer question, and so forth.
  6. Tap into your years of industry knowledge. Remember, you are the expert. Think of the thousands of questions customers have asked you and use that for idea starters.
  7. Share the wealth. Split the responsibility among your staff members. In fact, you can even create a separate blog page for each so that they, too, can take the credit. And it gives them a place to shine.
  8. Be honest. Tell it like it is, and customers (current and prospective) will appreciate the gesture.
  9. Don’t be generic. Let your personality shine through. If you like sports or film, splash a little of that into the mix. A good rule of thumb is a 50/50 business to fun ratio.
  10. Research blog writing and posting, as well as SEO. Find blogs you like, whether industry related or not, and use the writer’s style as a guide. Also search “blogging” for trends and stay current with changes in technology.
  11. Stay committed. Once you have your schedule, stick to it. Miss one day, and it’s a slippery slope.
  12. Start today. Don’t hesitate. If you don’t begin now, you never will!