Content Marketing Rules
If you haven’t already heard, blogging is big (like really big—tyrannosaurus rex big). Whether it’s for your business or personal brand, blogging is one of the single best ways to engage your user base and share your expertise. Don’t believe in the power of blogging yet? Well check out that article I just linked to for more statistics like this:
Still not convinced? How about these?
For those who haven’t made the jump or are having trouble getting started, I’ve compiled a list of my best blogging tools to help you improve your content and kick your inner muse into gear.
1. Silence the Inner Critic and Just Write
The key to blogging success is to do it often. It sounds easy enough, but I promise the hardest part about blogging is getting started. Even as a content writer with a degree in creative writing, I still stare at a blank word document for much longer than I’d care to admit to. Ten decent posts almost always beat one great post.
Even if you happen to write a fantastic blog post that gets syndicated all over the web, you still have to follow up with more content to keep your user base engaged. Trust me when I say your first posts won’t be great, but waiting on brilliance gets you nowhere. This reminds me of my favorite writing quote:
“The Muse Honors the working stiff.”
2. Make a Schedule (and then stick to it)
Just about all blogging platforms allow you to schedule your posts. So if you write best on Sunday nights, then write on Sunday nights. When you do make that time in your schedule, try to crank out a few posts—maybe even a series. Then schedule those posts into the future.
This also gives your readers a predictable time to expect blog posts. You can also use this schedule to your advantage to write about topics on a consistent basis. For instance, you might consider having a Monday morning roundup of weekend events in your field (“Monday Roundup: Microbreweries are Popping up Everywhere!”).
3. Pick Topics
It’s easy to get distracted when you start blogging. I consistently struggle with over reaching my topic by wandering into the territories of concepts that could be reserved for other blog posts. It helps to pick post titles before you start writing and also to pick a definite category for your blog.
Broad topics lead to confusing posts, specific topics are actually far easier to write. My favorite bloggers (Seth Godin, Michael Hyatt, CopyBot) do a great job of using narrow, specific focuses in their writing as well as having a general theme, which helps readers know what they’re getting when they read a blog.
Readers have short attention spans—make it easy on them.
4. Save Ideas on the Go
If you’re tech savvy, use the note taking feature on your phone. If you’re not, a pen and paper will do just fine. The goal here is to capture creativity in moments when it naturally occurs. Save those thoughts for when you get home to your computer so that you can make sure not to forget your brilliance.
I often save posts in the form of drafts whenever I don’t have time to sit down and write the whole thing. That said, I’ve also found that for me, the best time to write a post is as soon as inspiration hits. That’s not always a possibility, but if you can write when the ideas are fresh the words come much easier.
5. Engage with your Readers
Imagine you’re back in college. You raise your hand to comment on something the teacher just said or ask a question (not that you ever did that—I said imagine). Now imagine the teacher ignored you. They just flat out didn’t answer. What are the odds that you will ever ask a question again? Not good.
Not engaging with your readers who are willing to comment is like ignoring students who ask questions. You are seriously hurting their desire to try again. Do yourself a favor and take the time to respond to comments on your blog and thank people for re-tweeting/sharing your posts. They deserve it.
image credit: bandrat/freedigitalphotos.net