What happens when you hate writing a blog? Don't give up — we have 5 ways to make blog writing easier.
Having a blog can help your website tremendously — it’s a great way to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by regularly sending fresh content to Google, and it’s a good way to establish reader and customer loyalty. We often recommend blogging to our clients, but that can be a tall order. Blogging is one of those things that seems like it’s really easy — until you sit down to do it. That’s when lots of people freeze, realize there’s a reason they’re not professional writers, and either dread writing blogs or just stop writing them altogether.
Well, I am a professional writer, and I can say that, even when it’s your job and you love it, writing is never exactly easy. But having a routine to help you get your thoughts down can really help. Here are a few tips that I share with clients to make the process a lot easier and help the blog posts come out better. The good news is, blogging is like any other skill: It takes practice to get it right, but once you get the hang of it and find your rhythm, it can actually be fun AND be good for your business.
Brainstorm and outline before you write.
The process of generating and developing ideas is a lot more freeing if you’re able to be as creative as you want without self-editing as you go. Before you even start to write, make a notes file that’s just filled with ideas. This can be in a computer program like Evernote or on a notepad — do whatever’s easiest for you. Don’t worry about whether or not every idea is usable at this stage, but just get lots of brainstorming down on paper. You’ll be surprised how many bad ideas will lead to good ones that you wouldn’t have discovered without giving yourself room to be creative. Save this file so you can add to it as you have blog ideas later.
Write the post in an email to yourself.
The intimidating blank page, or the blank screen, is never a writer’s friend. Also, your blog format can be confusing if you’re not used to using it, so try writing your first draft as an email to yourself. Most of us are very familiar with email, and we’re used to writing in that format. Having a space that makes writing comfortable and familiar to you can be really important, and email is a good place to knock out a rough draft. When you’re ready, just copy and paste the text into your blog. Another benefit? You’ll have a backup copy of your work when you email it to yourself.
Pretend you’re writing to a friend.
It can be overwhelming to think about all the people who might be reading your blog, and concentrating too hard on your audience can make you to lose focus. It’s sometimes easier to have a specific person in mind, especially someone you already feel comfortable communicating with. Write your first draft as if it’s just going to be seen by one friend or coworker and writing won’t seem as daunting. You’re also more likely to write with personality and that conversational tone that’s perfect for blogging. When you’re finished with your draft, you can go back and edit out anything that’s too personal to go public before you publish.
Don’t write at the same time that you post.
There are a several things that you’ll have to do before you publish your blog posts: add photos, add links to relevant articles, check spelling and write promo posts for social media, to name a few. It helps to keep the actual writing part of blogging separate so that you’re not rushing through the writing to get started on your blogging checklist. It’s also helpful to put some time between writing a blog and publishing it because you’re more likely to catch and edit out mistakes.
Don’t write too long.
Blogs are best when they’re short and sweet, so it’s good to just concentrate on one aspect of a topic instead of going into a lot of details about everything you think relates. This is great for writers who tend to be succinct, but it can be difficult for people who naturally write long. My advice for people who’re more comfortable writing a lot is to go ahead and write everything you want to into your first draft, and then look for natural breaking points to turn your one long post into a series of shorter ones. Series help your SEO, and they can turn one blog into three or four, which is good news if you’re struggling to find time to blog, because you’ll already have a stockpile of posts built up.
It’s also great to turn your blog-writing time into somewhat of a ritual. Carve out twenty minutes to ignore emails, turn on some music that you like, and maybe pour yourself a coffee or a tea. This can help to turn what seems like a chore into a brief respite from the rest of your day. Remember, the more you enjoy writing your blog, the more people will enjoy reading it.
Looking for ideas about what to write about? Check out our previous post on generating great blog ideas.