As people, we’re creatures of habit. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, start a blog or train for your first marathon, to be successful in that goal, you must develop the habit of actually doing it. The habit of running, of eating, of finding that time to write and publish blog posts. And that takes practice.
I write a lot – for multiple blogs, multiple times a week. And in order for me to get that blogging done and still be able to run a business and take care of everything else that needs to get done, I’ve had to adopt the blogging habit. If you’re having trouble committing to blogging, here are some tips and tricks that have worked for me. I’d love it if you’d share what works (or even what doesn’t work) for you.
1. Schedule time: One of the most common sources of pushback when I encourage small business owners to start blogging is that they don’t have the time. I understand that. But you have to schedule in the time, the same way you schedule in time to pay your vendors, to manage your online reviews or even to restock your inventory. Without scheduling those things, they probably wouldn’t get done either. But you do them because they’re important to your business.
Do the same with your blogging. Find an hour or two a week that you can dedicate to writing content. Maybe it’s in the morning before things get into full swing, maybe it’s on Sunday while you grab a coffee and catch up on the world. Schedule the time.
2. Keep an idea log: Get in the habit of recording ideas for blog posts, and you won’t believe how easily they come to you. Keep track of bloggable questions (as I discuss in my post on Outspoken Media), the conversations you have with customers, the issue that got you really worked up, the new use for that old medium you’re considering, etc. When you’re immersed in your business, your brain is constantly thinking, evaluating and trying things out. Jot down those ideas and write about them later. It’s when you don’t catch these thoughts in the moment that they’re lost forever when you sit down to face a blank screen.
3. Put a blogging structure in place:: Whether you think you are a professional writer or a complete hack, you probably have a writing system. You think of your topic, you do your research, you store the links you want to mention, you craft your headline, etc. Use this system to help keep you on track with what you’re supposed to be doing. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel each time you sit down to write. Know what you need to do and how you need to do it; then, just get it done. Streamline the process as much as possible.
4. Write in batches: If you’re feeling inspired and the juices are flowing, don’t just write one post, write an entire week’s worth or two week’s worth. Not only does this help you to plan out your content and schedule posts ahead of time, but it also lets you take advantage of those natural moments when you have something to say. Don’t stop writing until you’ve gotten it all out.
5. Use one piece of content many ways: Before you write a piece of content, think of all the different ways you can recycle that content. Maybe you can expand on that blog post and turn it into an article series. Maybe you can turn it into a presentation to give at your local chamber of commerce event. Maybe you can build an interview series off it. If time is sacred (and when isn’t it?), make sure you’re getting as much mileage out of each piece as you can.
6. Keep doing it: To build a habit, you need to live the habit. Keep following the rules above until you don’t even realize you’re following them anymore. Once blogging begins to feel like a natural part of your business, you’ve adopted the blogging habit. Congrats.
Above are a few tips to help you pick up the blogging habit and get yourself on a path to creating authoritative content for both users and the engines. What’s worked for you?