At a Holiday party the other day, a friend who is also a reader of my blog asked me, “How do you do it? I know I should blog, and I’ve started a couple of blogs, but I always seem to fizzle out.”
I get it. I’ve been there too. I started two other blogs before this one, both of which I neglected after a month or two.
So what’s the answer? Here’s what has worked for me.
Establish a Schedule
It doesn’t so much matter what it is, as that you have a schedule. Once a week, twice a week, six times a day. I try to publish on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. I’m not as regular as I’d like, but working to deadline, as any journalist or student will tell you, tends to concentrate your efforts.
Build an Editorial Calendar
Now that you’ve committed to a schedule, build out an editorial calendar 3-4 weeks in advance. By doing so, you’re not desperate for a topic on the days you’re scheduled to post. I schedule some time each week to review the calendar and generate new ideas for future posts. I also have a folder in Evernote for jotting down new ideas for posts. If you use WordPress, install the plugin “WordPress Editorial Calendar“.It allows you to see at a glance your editorial calendar for four weeks.
Write the Headlines First
If the headline doesn’t grab the reader, they won’t read your post and you might as well not write it. Spend as much time and effort crafting your headline as you spend writing the post.
CopyBlogger has a great series of posts about how to write great headlines. Essentially, they advise learning from the pros who write headlines for supermarket magazines and tabloids. Take a look at the women’s magazine Cosmopolitan – that headline “The Naughtiest Sex Tips for 2011” could be repurposed as “The Naughtiest Marketing Tips for 2012”. Would you read that article? I would!
Write the First Draft Using Paper and Pen
I got this tip from Carmine Gallo’s “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs“. It certainly improves slide presentations to sketch and write them out using paper and pen beforehand, but this also applies to blog posts. You don’t want to be worrying about formatting and links as you write. Just get in the flow, and I find that easiest to do using paper and pen. If you must type, use a text editor with no formatting. Just let it fly!
Just Do It!
Blogging on a regular basis is like exercising on a regular basis. Some days you get up and you don’t feel like it. But in the words of the Nike slogan, “Just do it”! Like exercise, once you get in to the flow, you generally feel better, and you always feel better when you’re done. Also like exercise, the more you write, the easier it gets, and the better your writing gets.
So there you have it; my tips on how to blog. Anyone out there got any tips that have worked for them? I’d love to hear about it.