There are many approaches to blogging. Blogging can be done for fun, as a calling, for business purposes or because it is something your web person says you MUST do to be successful.
If you are like me, anytime I am forced to do something I must do instead of want to do, these are often the least enjoyable tasks. These musts suck the life out of me and drain my energy.
Over the last five years I have worked with several dozen bloggers and built several high traffic and successful blogs. I have also seen what does not work.
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” Lao Tze
In this post I want to share with you a few tips to help those starting out blogging with a focus on how to get into the flow of creating your unique formula for writing a successful blog.
It is what I call the Tao of Blogging.
Find Your Unique Voice
There are a zillion billion blogs in the world. It would be easy to surmise that anything worth saying has already been said.
Everyday is a continuous evolution of the Now. Each of us has a unique perspective that we can share with our readers.
One of the ways to find your unique blogging voice is to tell first person stories. Often as you develop your ideas you can draw on experiences that you have personally gone through. Don’t discredit these because they have real value.
They also help readers connect with your authentic self.
I like to think of the blogsphere at any point as a snapshot of the consciousness of humanity. When something significant happens in the world, thousands or more are sharing their unique perspective. This is quite unique in the history in the world. At no other time can we get such a holographic view.
Your blog is part of that holographic view. What is important is that even if you have just one reader, what you write can influence and persuade. What you write has an direct influence on the consciousness of your reader. This is the real power of blogging and it effects both the context and content of consciousness.
The Way of Writing
The word Tao translated literally means road or way. There are hundreds of books on writing, but you really don’t need them.
What you need is to choose a few simple writing principles that work for you. Then write them down and stick to them. They will serve you well.
Here are five principles many writers have found immensely valuable.
1. The Optimal Writing Time and Place
Everyone has a time when they can write the best. For some it is early morning and for others late at night. Closely related is the place you write often matters. Some find it useful to be in the middle of a busy coffee house while others need total silence and seclusion. Find your ideal time and place and then set a date for yourself to get your posts done.
2. Develop a Master Topic and Article Idea List
Figure out what your main writing buckets are going to be. Create at least 20 big buckets that can go on your blog. If you are blogging for business then make sure that at least 60 to 75% of these buckets are about what product or service you sell. Also make sure you have 25% of your blog about things that are about your interest that makes you unique.
If you keep to much to the business, you are in danger of being too boring and leaving out the parts that make you who you are.
Then for each bucket brainstorm ten solid articles titles. Make it easy on yourself and go Googling on your keywords to see what comes up. Find unique ways to weave your own experiences and perspectives into each articles.
Keep adding to this list. Everything you do and everything you experience from that point forward is prospective blog post material.
3. Outline for Success
A quick outline creates the high level structure for the blog post. Ideally you will have between two and five second level headers. Under each header jot down the main points you want to make in each sub-paragraph.
The outlining and writing process does not need to be more difficult than this (unless of course you’d like it to be)
4. Separate the Writing and Editing Processes
The left and right sides of the brain work differently. If you attempt to do conceptual work and editing work at the same time, it can create tension. I have found those who are successful focus on getting out the main draft with little regard to grammar or use of language.
Once you start to micro-edit while getting the main story down it breaks your rhythm and slows you down.
Over time with practice the first drafts will need less editing. You may also find that you want to outsource the editing.
5. Set a Daily or Weekly Output Goal
Focus on a metric like number of words or time spent writing per session (or both) can greatly enhance your output and productivity.
6. Set Aside Blocks of Writing Time
Multitasking is the biggest productivity killer on the planet. If you want to really be successful then block set periods of time where you just do writing. Turn the internet off and just get going.
Clear everything off your desk, turn the phone off and then work without interuptions.
A helpful hint is to set a timer. Eben Pagan a self-help expert recommends doing blocks of 50 minutes and then taking a 10 minute break. My own personal experience has been that most who attempt 50 minutes are not able to stay focused that long. Initially 30 minutes is a much more reasonable goal and if you can do that you can slowly extend the block of time.
7. Work with an Editor
Find an editor that complements your strengths and can give your words a sparkle without losing your voice. This will take the pressure off you to create the ‘perfect’ post.
8. Write the List Email, Facebook and other Social Media Intro at the Same Time
I have found it very useful to write the supporting social media posts at the same time. This accelerates the viral aspect of what you release.
Every time you publish a new post, you ideally will do several actions to share the post. The first is to send a short email to your list letting them know a new post is up and to go and share and make a comment.
The other is to connect in to the social media networks. By pre-preparing the short post snippets, when your post goes live you can immediately drive traffic to your blog to maximize the number of shares and likes.
Being of Service
In the end, for many well known authors blogging is a way of being in service to the world. Most bloggers do not get paid, although through the relationship they build with their reader there is this opportunity to do so in the future.
But to be able to monetize I think it all starts with being of service. For the blogger it is really understanding what questions and thoughts are going on in the readers minds and then creating great content.
Good luck blogging.