When I was a kid, writing never came easy. I will be honest; it does not always come easy still. Sometimes it is a grind to write about something I am not entirely thrilled to explore. Other times it is as if my own grammar is rebelling through my fingers as I type. I have never been super creative in my approach, but I discovered my love for writing as a natural segue from my love for teaching and coaching. Funny how that happens.
While I am not a fantastically creative person, I do have a mind for analysis and building businesses. In fact, the story of Core Values Consulting began as a proposal to solve a problem through writing. However, that is a story for another day. When considering what to write about I often take a look at search analysis to see what are the top questions asked that my (or my clients’) blogs are not directly answering.
If you are not sure how to do that, we can go over setting up a Google Search Console account in an upcoming article. If you already have one, look at your search analysis. You will see you can sort by impressions and clicks. Sort by impressions and see which search queries you are showing up for but not getting clicked on. The answer might be SEO (meta optimization and such). However, it might also be that your content somewhat matches what people are looking for, but you could probably hone in a bit better with a more fully fleshed out blog article.
Again though, we will cover that in an upcoming article. In this one, we are going to take that approach and look at tips for writing a blog. The topic came from analysis of our search traffic, and in that vein, it is a deliberate SEO building approach to improve the relevance of our content. So, tip 0.5, be intentional! 🙂 And now for the remaining 12 tips.
Explore Your Writing Voice
Writing is an opportunity to explore your thoughts and your written voice. If you are super analytical like me, you might consider from what tone of voice you write best. A first person type tone, with “I” statements works great for telling a story but falls short for the more data heavy articles. A third person tone can come across standoffish and sets you up for other writing challenges: passive statements and disassociation with the reader, to highlight a few.
In the end, you are going to discover in which circumstance it makes more sense for you to write as if you are having a conversation and when it is more appropriate to write as if you are telling a story or teaching a class. This exploration is all about of finding and developing your voice. Or, more to the real truth, your voices.
Find Your Balance – Sometimes it Will Come to You
One of the worst kept secrets in writing is that writer’s block afflicts everyone at times. Sometimes it seems as if you have tons to say about everything, but when you sit down to write it, nothing comes out. I will be the first to admit this happens more often than I would prefer. However, it is very much a way of life if you make a living as a writer.
In my experience, there are a couple of approaches that work wonders for this:
First, look at your production. Are you burning out? 2,000 well-drafted words a day is the same as a couple of books year. That is a prodigious rate if you stick to it. It is doable, but it is a lot, and if you are just getting started, you might want to ramp up to that. Consider slowing your pace down a little bit. You might find that your ideas are better formed if you let them rattle around your head a bit before putting them on paper.
The second thing that works for me can be related to the first but is not necessarily the same. Give yourself time. If your brain is just not putting something of quality out, take a couple of hours or a couple of days before coming back to it. You can force it, but it likely won’t be your best work.
Third, you might not have the chance to push off something important. If that is the case, you are going to have to enlist some help shaking those thoughts out. For me that means noise canceling headphones and small goals. Tune out the world and focus on writing your article one section at a time, and one paragraph at a time if necessary. When a single article is a big goal, work on taking it apart piece by piece over the course of a day.
Read Other Blogs
Steel sharpens steel. If you are not reading what other writers are doing and imitating, modifying, and applying it to your writing, it will be very difficult for you to improve.
This does not mean give up your voice. Instead, this is an avenue to help you find it. You will find a lot of opportunity for self-improvement by reading a lot, but as a bonus, you will probably also discover tons of opportunities to connect with other writers. Often this will lead to collaboration and potential financial benefits too. I am talking about opportunities to make money, to be clear.
Just as I was saying take a hard look at others as you read their work, you should also consider seeking hard input on your writing. That means asking for feedback.
Ask for it in your writing, ask for it from your friends. Hire a freelancer to read your work. As long as you write, your writing will continue to improve. However, it will improve faster with impartial and critical help. You may have to put your ego on the shelf for a bit, but in the end, your product will be stronger for having done so.
Seek feedback and treasure it, even if you do not always agree, and it makes you uncomfortable to do so.
Don’t Be Too Critical
This tip for blog writing goes two ways. First, don’t be too critical of yourself. Second don’t be too critical of others on the same journey. Your blog writing will not always be top tier. However, if you keep at it, the general quality will increase over time.
On that note, you will always be your own worst critic. The fact that you are putting your writing on display for the world to read is essentially proof in itself that it is not bad. In fact, in reality, it is probably way above average. Keep it up!
The idea of not being too critical of others builds into one of our most valuable tips.
Write for Others
Many people have a hard time writing. Writing a blog is not as easy or as glamorous as you might imagine. Contrary to Instagram, you are not doing this while drinking wine and sitting in a pristine home office, sadly, though that does sound nice. #lifegoals
To get back to the point here. Many (other) people have a hard time writing, and this is something you can connect with them about, and earn a living too. We have talked about it in this blog before, the cost benefit of a business owner blogging often doesn’t make sense. Add to that; they do not often want to commit to the time to become cost-effective and proficient at article writing, you now have an opportunity to step in as a hero.
One of the best ways to improve your writing, and to finance the creation of your blog, is to write blogs for others. Dollar for dollar, a well-crafted blog, is one of the absolute best forms of advertising. You want to improve your writing; business owners want leads. Bring those two ideas together, and you will never have a lack of things to write about. In fact, you will start wondering how you are going to be able to add more writing time to your schedule! #businessgoals
When your brain is firing on all cylinders, get your Sharpe out! At the very least open up your list making software: Wunderlist and Evernote are excellent for this. The reason you are opening your list making software…it is time to brainstorm blog topic ideas for the future.
Remember the writer’s block we talked about above? Here is another way to head that off.
Start with brainstorming topic ideas. Then work on developing a thesis for each topic. Here is how it is setup on our whiteboard, topic, and thesis.
“How Hand Writing a Letter Builds Trust”
“Hand writing a letter has become a lost art. In an age where elementary school students turn in their homework assignments online, the art and personal touch that handwriting used to convey have fallen by the wayside. Here are seven pointers on how to hand-write your next letter, and why it will truly impress the recipient.”
Now, the topic above might not be your thing; regardless, on a writer’s block day, this should be enough to get a good 750-word article put up without too much trouble. If you are going to be a blog writer, do yourself a favor and set yourself up on your good days for the days when it is going to be a grind. This topic/thesis method is a super effective for doing that.
Break Your Writing And Your Work Into Pieces
This tip was covered briefly a bit earlier as a method for overcoming the grind of writing, and in a pinch, overcoming writer’s block. Setting yourself up to write a blog is more time intensive than just writing by itself. You need to be efficient, you need to be able to juggle, and you need to do 100 other things well for you to have enough time to write, or at least to stress about writing.
Whatever the blog development related task is, it does not have to be done today. If you are up against a wall that seems insurmountable, start working at it piece by piece. A 10,000-word article does not get written in a day (unless you have a stellar day). No matter what your style is, or how long you have been at blog writing, you will have writing barriers that loom over you like golems. You can overcome these obstacles, even if it is one paragraph at a time.
From a practical perspective, write a paragraph, take a break, write a paragraph, and repeat. You can bust out a thousand words in a couple of hours using this method.
Look for Opportunities to Connect With Readers
As you write more, people will be drawn to the articles you post. Help them to connect with you. Not everyone wants to be on a mailing list. Or, to call you, or to email you. Make yourself someone people can reach out to for connections, and you will have more opportunities to say no to than you would believe.
If you want to make a living through writing, the key is sticking to it and being open to big opportunities when they arise.
Measure Your Progress
As you build a blog you really must look at the data. See who is reading it, when they read it, and how they read it. This will help you know what to write, to whom to write, and when to post it. You will find that little, but deliberate, actions like posting at the time when most people will see your new article can make a huge difference in the traction your content gets.
More to that point, as you write and get people interested in hiring you to write for them, you need to be able to detail for them exactly how it will benefit them. If you are ghostwriting a blog – like what we do at Core Values Consulting – you need to be able to dive into the analytics and pull out insightful patterns and adjust your product (writing) to take advantage of them.
The key to making money writing blogs for someone else is proving that your product is a better value than what they already spend their marketing budget pursuing.
Help Other Blog Writers
It is perfectly ok to know nothing about blog writing. You will get better if you stick to it. When you help others, you will see the efforts pay back in dividends. Amazing opportunities arise out of places you least expect when you nurture your network. Help out your fellow bloggers; they may be the ones to shoot you a lead on a blog ghostwriting gig at 2 am in the morning.
They, folks you help, may be the ones who give you the support that moves you from someone playing around with a blog to someone making a living helping others with your writing.
Write What You Know
Few things in writing are less comfortable than being tasked to write a 750-word article on a subject you know next to nothing about. It is not because you cannot do the research, of course, you can. This discomfort is because it is incredibly hard to write fluently and naturally about a subject you do not know, without it sounding like a research paper. There’s a bit of Je ne sais quoi missing when you do not really know what you are talking about.
For this reason, it is best to tackle things like this after having become a stronger writer covering topics you know. Write what you know first, then take on topics that might be more unfamiliar. This is only a suggestion, but for someone searching, “How to Write a Blog,” it is good advice.
Still stuck on where to start? Here’s a video we put together going over how to approach a simple 500-word article. You can use this technique to layout 90% of an article in only a couple minutes.
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