Monday, April 18, 2011

 

How to blog more (five tips)

I've written about where to find blog post inspiration, but continue to get good questions about how to actually get more blogging done.

Some of this has to do with simply setting aside and being disciplined about the time required to create good content. But there are other tactics you can use to jump-start that time to be more productive and efficient at driving more "shipped" content. Here are a few suggestions.

Write more ideas down
When you have an idea for good content, write it down immediately. Keep paper and pen close by, or use a service like Dial2Do to quickly record an idea that can be translated to text and email for review later. If you're like me, a good idea that sits in your head unrecorded for too long (and when I mean too long, I mean more than 15-20 seconds) gets lost to the next thought. The more you document, the more blog posts you'll have to choose from.

Keep a single, ongoing list of those ideas
I use Outlook Tasks, and have a category called "Pending Blog Posts". When I have time to write something new, I go to this list and find something to get started. Ideas are constantly coming and going from this list. Whether you use Outlook or Evernote or Moleskine, keep them somewhere together.

Ideas, then outlines, then drafts
Don't sit down and intend to write a blog post in one swoop. Start with the core idea, then jot down primary points and themes related to that idea. This blog post, for example, started with nothing more than the title. It eventually became a short bullet list of points I wanted to make. Eventually, I sat down and wrote the context & deeper context behind each of those points. By doing it this way, I produced the final post more quickly and it took far less time in aggregate. Breaking new blog posts down into individual steps makes the whole process more accessible (and more likely to happen).

Write ahead of time
Don't write today with the intention of posting today. That's only going to make you anxious. Work on something today with the intention of posting later. Tomorrow, next week, whatever makes sense. By writing content in advance and setting it up to post later, you can also block time to write several posts at once. Take your ideas and outlines of primary points, and lock yourself in a room for a couple hours to bang out new content while you're focused and on a roll.

Use guest bloggers
You don't have to write everything yourself! Others you work with - peers, colleagues, partners, customers, etc. - can create content that's just as good, just as relevant, and just as magnetic to drive more traffic and interested readers. It takes the full burden off of you, and will drive new people to your content from the original writer's set of channels and networks.

What are your tricks for producing more blog content? What tips do you have to help spark activity?

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