When I think about business blogging, I think about Loretta Lynn. More accurately, I think about a lyric to a song she once sang: “Everybody wants to go to heaven…but nobody wants to die.”
Everybody seems to want a company blog these days. They see their competitors doing it. They hear all about its organic search benefits. The feel it’s a great way to spread the message to the world in a less invasive way. All great reasons!
Except when it’s time to launch the blog and keep it fed with fresh, compelling content, those same blog evangelists are nowhere to be found. Out of fear that they will one day be asked to write blog posts, they go into hiding. They still want to go to blog heaven and experience all its rewards. They just don’t want to die in the process.
Well if that’s you, then you can come out of hiding. Blog writing doesn’t have to be as intimidating and paralyzing as you believe it to be. When you approach blog writing—any writing for that matter—with a clearly defined strategy, you too can create strong, compelling content in a timely manner.
Follow these six steps and you’ll be pumping out content with ease:
Give yourself a starting point by creating a crude layout of your blog post. Don’t go deep here at all. Just list out the number of high-level points you anticipate making in the finished blog. It can even be as simple as: (1) Overall Point of the Blog; (2) Intro; (3) The Need; (4) Five Takeaways; (5) Closing; (6) Call to Action. You may or may not stick to it, but it gives you something to shoot for from the beginning.
Spend some time searching Google or Bing for materials related to your topic and copy/paste what you find into a Word document—being certain to include the URL address too. You’ll likely want to give the author credit by linking to or citing these articles in your blog, and you don’t want to struggle finding your sources later. Once you feel you’ve collected enough research materials, stop working on the blog. You’ve done enough for one day.
Pretty self-explanatory, but here you’ll simply read through what you collected on the previous day to ensure the materials still align with your initial point. You may also discover new information that requires you to shift the direction of your blog and adjust your straw man.
Now, drag-and-drop the remaining research materials to their respective section of your straw man. You may end up moving an entire article under a straw man section, or you may move just one paragraph or sentence. Whatever parts make sense for that section of the blog. And now, stop working on the blog. You made some great headway for one day!
Yesterday, you moved all your research into their respective sections. Before you begin writing today, bold and highlight all the research content you’ve collected. It’s imperative that you don’t mistake your own writing for someone else’s words. And then, start writing.
You may find it’s easier to start from the introduction and build from there. Or you may find that you need to build out your takeaways before you can think about creating a way to establish interest in your opening. Try both approaches and see which one works best for you. But whatever you do, don’t over-massage or over-edit your content. Just write as it comes. You’ll have time to rewrite and edit later. Finally, once you’re done writing each straw man section, stop working on the blog for today.
Now it’s time to review what you wrote. But as we’ve mentioned here before, proofreading isn’t just rereading. There’s a process to reviewing your content that involves checking the grammar and spelling, reviewing the content flow, examining how compelling your points are, and ensuring you did not plagiarize.
Once you’ve gone through these steps, you can now send the finished piece off to whomever needs to see it next…all without breaking a sweat.