One of the hardest things about having a blog for your company or niche’s website is trying to write an article when you don’t have much time or an inspiring topic. While the instinct may be to skip publishing, that’s not best because frequency matters with posting. By utilizing a few strategies, you can successfully create outstanding blog content and stick to your publishing schedule.
Anne Lamott is famous for promoting a bad first draft. Her point is that you need to get something on paper. “Writers write” is a quote I hear or read at least once a day because it is a crucial thing writers use to remind ourselves that our job is to write.
My first drafts often take on an outline form. I’ll consider the title and keywords I need to focus on, and as I research I’ll pull out the ideas, I want to highlight. Once I determine the sections and flow, I can start in the middle of the article to get something started even when the introduction isn’t coming together. The point of the crappy first draft is to get some words written. You may delete them all later, but you have start somewhere.
After you get something down, walk away. This might seem counterproductive, but I promise it works. When writer's block strikes, I’ll sometimes take an actual walk. A change of scenery, getting out and doing something active and having permission to push pause on my article seems to be the perfect combination to inspire new perspective and thoughts.
While no tool is perfect, Grammarly is my go-to tool so that everything I write has an automatic second set of eyes on it before I hit publish. This is a helpful tool to catch spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes, but with the paid version it also goes further. One of the suggestions Grammarly often highlights on my work is “wordy.” This isn’t surprising, but it’s a gentle reminder to edit.
I don’t turn Grammarly on when writing my first or second drafts. Once I’m on my final review before sending the content to the proofreader, I’ll turn on Grammarly, and as I edit, I’ll consider the suggestions. Then I do one final read-through.
As writers, we can find ourselves feeling defensive with the editing process, but the reality is developing outstanding content requires editing. Even when you have a great handle on the audience you are writing for it’s still important to make sure your ideas are coming across clearly. Remember, at this point, you have been focusing on the article for several hours or even days and have read it through at least four times. It’s possible you are not as clear as you think.
Proofreaders are also great because they can tell you when you complicate an explanation. Perhaps you are using five sentences when three are needed. A great proofreader will provide suggestions that clarify your content without substituting their voice or perspective for yours. Remember that pushback is a necessary part of the process. Consider all suggestions and always keep the end goal in mind…creating outstanding content for your reader.
The best way to stay on track with writing content consistently is with a content calendar. There are many benefits of having a calendar, but my favorite is that you only need to brainstorm subjects once in awhile as opposed to every time you sit down to write.
With my personal blog, I plotted out a year-long content calendar with titles and subjects in January. This might sound like an overwhelming task, but I publish eight times a month, and three of the articles are monthly commitments which don’t change. So, I only needed to come up with sixty titles and plot out the publish dates. I pulled out my writing pipeline and knocked things out in one evening.
As I work ahead, life circumstances may inspire new content. I have found that titles are easily recycled for future use the next time I develop my content calendar.
Thinking about your blog articles one a year at a time won’t work for everyone, but I suggest you think further ahead than four weeks. Quarterly calendars are the ones I encounter most often. By taking the time to research keywords, titles, and different subjects you will write on, in the future, you can jump into the crappy first draft with a little bit of inspiration.
These five essential actions will help you to create outstanding blog content all year round, but we all encounter seasons where we need help. If you need help designing a content calendar or developing excellent blog articles we are here to help. Our experienced staff is ready to jump in and provide a well-researched content strategy for your business or niche blog. We can also take things a step further and develop all the content for you so you can focus building your business and online presence.
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