Staring at a blank screen, mind frozen and not being able to think of a single word to write is demoralising and a waste of your time. I’m about to make your blogging life a lot easier by sharing a simple trick so you can confidently write your blog when you need to.
No more blank screen. No more anxious feelings.
Instead you’ll be writing about what your passionate and expertise that your clients value you for.
Think of this process like a blog recipe
You’re probably used to sitting down to write a blog post when you feel you need to. Then staring at the blank screen as your mind becomes a tangled knot of thoughts. You’ll waste so much time, get frustrated and either hate every moment of writing or give up.
Perhaps you spend endless hours researching and gathering information for one blog, then run out of writing time.
That’s rather like running backwards and forwards to your cupboard for each ingredient for a recipe. It’s certainly one way, but not efficient and the same is true for writing a blog post.
Here’s my 3 step guide to what to do instead
If your goal is to write high-quality, consistent blog posts yourself or outsource to a blog writer then you need the following blog post business system.
Create a content calendar or editorial calendar
You can use Excel, Word or a piece of paper – what ever method works for you.
Create columns with the following headings
Date, Day of Week, Topic, Title/Headline, Length, Purpose, Writer/Guest, Point 1, Point 2, Point 3, Call To Action, Offer, Target Keywords, Blog Post Link
Simple and Powerful
Please don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this system. In business (and life) we tend to overthink things and create complex systems which are time consuming and costly to manage. This simple process can be adapted as your business evolves.
Before we dive into the background, let me explain a little more about why having an editorial calendar is so important for the long-term success of your blog and business.
Why creating a calendar is important
Simply, it’s what enables you to strategically schedule and systematise your blog posts to support you achieving your business goals and strategy.
When you are clear about what offer you are making to your prospective clients you can gauge what information they need from you so they can make an informed decision about working with you.
Creating your blog post calendar allows you to strategically deliver relevant and timely information. You’ll find it much easier to make sure your blog posts are relevant to your current offers and service.
Depending upon your business and how often you can commit to writing, you can plan your blog posts days, weeks or months in advance. For example, if you know your marketing process is 11 weeks, then you can plan the topics and information so you can write supportive blog posts for that marketing period.
Having a content calendar takes blog post writing from being reactive to proactive. Seeing a map in front of you of the most important aspects of your planned posts ensures you are delivering the right information at the right time, eliminating endless editing and the “I wish I’d included… thoughts” after you’ve published your post.
Up until now, I have assumed you are crystal clear about who your ideal client is, where they are, what their problems are, how your service or product solves their problem. If you do not have a clear and detailed picture of that person, I would recommend you spend time creating that level of granular clarity. Without it, you’ll find yourself going back round the circle because you won’t be writing to that person with the likelihood your posts will be read but won’t resonate with the needs and problems of the reader.
How Long Should a Blog Post Be?
As long as it takes to deliver your information.
If your writing style is engaging you’ll find your words flow, but break up paragraphs with subheadings and intrigue so people can scan your blog post for the gist.
Your topic and expertise may be visual. If so, include relevant and interesting images.
Could you include an infographic as a blog post? Typically infographics are more time consuming to create and they certainly require precision and clarity, however they have a high share rate which may be a result you’re looking for.
When deciding the length and detail of your blog post focus on the most wanted action from your reader. Being armed with the most wanted action makes writing a lot easier.
Longer, more detailed blog posts give you an opportunity to dive deep into a subject, or perhaps explain a case study. These strategic, pillar posts are longer, detailed and technical explanations of your core subject matter and expertise. These posts will be a demonstration of the pillars of your service and will be ageless, timeless and evergreen.
Shorter, informal posts might be an update, important news about a development relevant to your expertise. These shorter posts are something your ideal client would be interested in and would be a topical snippet.
The Rule of Thumb Ratio
A good rule of thumb is to publish 1 longer strategic pillar post to every 7-10 shorter informal posts. However, I’d suggest you test and look at your blog statistics so you can optimise the ratio.
Should You Write Everything Yourself?
The honest answer is… it depends.
If you are an expert on your subject matter, you may wish to write all your own blog posts in your voice. However, you may choose to outsource the shorter, informal posts which tend to be more generic so you can focus on the longer more detailed posts.
You may choose to create curated content which you aggregate from various sources. If you are creating curated content consider providing added value in the form of analysis, your opinion or how you view the relevance of the content in the marketplace today.
Is there someone who you admire greatly? Consider whether you would like to invite them to write an article for you, or even conduct an interview. However, a word of caution here… if you approach a well known personality in your industry they are likely to ask about your readership numbers and the number of subscribers to your email list. They will be asking themselves “what’s in it for me?” An alternative and more strategic approach is to plan for you to be guest blogging to raise your name and profile within the industry – it won’t happen overnight, but it is doable in a relatively short period of time as long as you are strategic.
How Often Should You Write a Blog Post?
If you are using blog posts to build your brand then consistency of writing is important. Intermittent or “when you have time”, or “when you feel like it” tends to have very low impact.
The frequency is a trade off. The more often you publish, the faster you grow your audience and the quicker you’ll build your readership and ultimately client base.
Don’t get giddy with excitement and create a schedule that’s unrealistic because you’ll feel overwhelmed. Consider how much time you can commit to writing a blog post even when you are busy with your paid work.
I recommend you start small and increase your frequency as your blog post writing confidence builds. Consider whether you could commit to one post every other week; or whether once a week is doable for you. I suggest you mentally ask yourself the question “how much time can I comfortably commit to writing?” Pause to see how you feel. If your immediate feelings are not positive, then consider reducing the planned frequency until you feel excited and/or happy about your chosen frequency. Questioning yourself and checking your feelings is a very good psychological and neurological way to test whether something is right for you.
Using the Blog Post Planner
The planning spreadsheet I’ve outlined in my 3 step blog post business system is designed to be a quick map for your content which takes away the “what shall I write about?” question.
I suggest you sit comfortably, set a timer for a specified period and complete the planning for the next month or two.
Once you’ve completed a row of your spreadsheet you’ve got that particular blog post planned. When you sit down at your allotted time to write you can confidently refer to your blog post business system and know exactly what you’re writing about and why.