Sometimes I feel as though the more important something is, the more I put it off. That's pretty much exactly how I feel about blogging. And I love writing! As it can be such a challenge, I'd figure I'd share some of my favorite blog writing tips to get you inspired.
We all know that good content creation, blogging in particular, is essential to help fuel your social media marketing and SEO strategies.
I know this and yet the 70 degree weather in San Francisco in March this week has me distracted and unable to focus at times. It's at times like these when I have to really hunker down and instill some of these blog writing tips.
So whether you're freezing on the East Coast right now, like my poor family, or feeling revitalized off of the Vitamin D we've got going on on the West Coast, here are some blog writing tips sure to get you in the zone:
Set a time of day to write. Give yourself a specific time of day and a time limit to write your blog post. For me, I find I can actually focus best before anyone in my apartment is awake and before I have to start replying to emails. So yes, it's currently 6:30 am.
Avoid distractions. Don't have your email open. Put your phone on silent in the other room. Close your office door. Do whatever you have to do to eliminate all possible distractions.
Go someplace else. Go to a coffee shop- and don't bring your power cord! Going back to tip number one, if you need help setting a time and a time limit, literally having no time to waste before your battery dies is a good way to motivate yourself. (Unless your laptop battery lasts for four hours. That's entirely too much time.) Changing up the environment is also a good way to avoid distractions and get more in a new mindset for your blog topic.
Have a topic in mind. Before sitting down to write, I will know what topic I'm considering blogging about and will continuously be thinking of that topic throughout the day before hand. I will jot down notes here and there as they subconsciously come to me. This usually gets me so fired up to write the post that when I actually sit down to do it, it comes very easily! That being said, even if I have a topic in mind, something better may come into play and takes it's place.
Be willing to wander. Like I just mentioned above, let your mind wander if it needs to. Most people want to be organized to make blogging as efficient as possible. I'm all about that. However, for me, writing is still a creative outlet. I'm a firm believer in that you can't always plan creativity. Sometimes, as I set out to write a blog post about a specific topic, an entirely different topic comes to mind. If I have more ideas about that topic and am more excited to write it, I go with that new topic. A good rule of thumb is to write whatever topic you are most motivated about at that moment.
Use THIS blog generator topic. HubSpot recently created this awesome blog topic generator that literally only requires you to enter three nouns related to your business. If you don't use any of the topics it generates, I bet it will still somehow inspire something for you to write about.
Listen to music. But not music that's distracting! That is key. I can't listen to a new album or something that will have me singing along to the lyrics. Instead I'll put on some driving rock 'n' roll or some classical piano. Ever heard of Songza? Songza is a free music app that has pre-generated playlists for activities you are doing. Two of my suggested playlists: "Blues-Rock Revival" and "Mellow Solo Piano." This tip can go hand in hand with tip number two. Got headphones? Use 'em.
Jot down blog topic ideas as they come to you. I carry a notepad around with me and in my day-to-day work I write down topics that stem from conversations, day-to-day tasks and/or actual problems surrounding inbound marketing.
Recognize problems you encounter. This may actually be my best tip for strengthening your brand and/or product or service in general! For example, I like to write blog posts as solutions to problems I've actually had with inbound marketing. I'm sure, as someone who works in the inbound marketing industry day in and day out, if I'm running into these problems, someone else is too. The same is true for you and your business.
"Write drunk, edit sober." Ernest Hemingway inspired me to pursue becoming a writer when I was 13 years old. I often still find guidance in his advice. Say you ARE in San Francisco and the weather IS an absolute distraction, (I'm raising my hand) save your writing for a post happy hour treat. Get all your work done and allow yourself some sunshine and a cocktail and then sit down at the laptop. You'll feel relaxed and then accomplished. Just make sure to give it a final edit tomorrow before you hit publish. ;)
Drink coffee or tea. Cocktails not your thing? I find when I make myself a fresh hot cup of coffee or tea it helps fuel me. It's not only about the caffeine, in a weird way I find I enjoy having that warm little companion with me there on my desk as a reassurance when I need to take pause.
Read. One of the best ways to get inspired to write is to read! I use feedly, an RSS reader that organizes content from my favorite inbound marketing blogs. Reading is one of the best ways to get inspired in my mind, be it about life or about writing.
Have fun! You want people to read your blog, right? Do you like to read boring or seemingly forced content? Yeah, chances are your readers don't like to either. Have fun when you write. Make it appealing. Add your personality into it. Remember that a blog post is not an essay or a formalized report. While having fun is important, don't wander too far away from your brand identity.