22nd Jul 2015
How often do you put off writing your blog post?
Blog lethargy is a fairly common affliction among small business owners.
Scrawled on their weekly to-do list is the onerous task: ‘write blog post’.
As the days pass by, other more attractive tasks get tackled. The Facebook page is checked, re-checked and checked again. Some hours may be lost on Twitter. An insightful article (like this one) is consumed, and the latest industry news is diligently reviewed.
But ‘write blog post’ stays on the list, untouched, unloved, and often unwelcome.
How can three little words lead to procrastination and inertia on such an epic scale?
Because the should-be-blogging business owner doesn't know where to start.
Systems make blogging simple
Alas, it’s not possible to automate the entire blog writing process, and outsourcing (to a good copywriter) can be expensive.
But you can make it easier to get started (and finished) by systematizing as much as possible.
Here’s what you need to make that happen.
1. A place for storing blog ideas
Good ideas for blog posts are throwing themselves at you all day long. Find somewhere to keep them. A dedicated notebook, a single file online, a folder in your project management system, whatever works for you. Whenever you think of something you would like to tell your audience or a customer asks you a question that would make a great blog post, write it down.
2. Dedicated time
Give blogging the time and respect you give to your other business activities. Book an appointment time in your diary and stick with it. Some people (like me) prefer to blog weekly, so have a set morning or afternoon every week dedicated to the task. If you prefer to batch your blog posts, you will need to set aside a big chunk of time (and a lot of coffee) every month to get the job done.
All the motivation you will ever need can be found answering these questions:
- How does your business benefit from having a blog?
- Why do your customers read your blog?
- At the end of this blog post, what do you want the reader to know, feel and do?
Start every blogging session with those questions and you’re good to go.
4. A Structure
If you’re stuck for words, a blank white screen, and a blinking cursor is pretty much the least helpful thing you can be staring at.
Create a basic template for every blog post, that you can copy and use as a starting point every time you blog.
My essential ingredients are:
- Attention getting headline
- Engaging, friendly, human introduction
- Meaty middle of value-adding content
- Engaging, friendly, human close, including a gentle call to action (comment, share, visit this link).
Putting it into practice
How does this look in practice?
On Tuesday morning I grab a coffee, sit down and open up my blog template file.
I go to my ‘blog ideas’ folder, scroll down the list, and pick the one that feels good for me today.
I think about what I want my reader to know, feel and do by the end of the article and put that on a note right in my line of sight.
I start writing about in my template.
I go back to the top of the page and write an attention grabbing headline.
I review the post, paying particular attention to how well it fits with my intended ‘know, like and do’.
I proofread it.
I publish it.
I am now done for another whole week.
Get to it then.
Go your own way
You don’t have to follow my steps. Your system doesn’t need to be the same as mine. But you will find blogging much easier if you take a closer look at your current blog post production process and find a way to simplify and systematize it.