There is no one way to write a blog post, but I know that when just starting out, the idea of sitting down and writing a post can be extremely daunting. You feel that it needs to be well written, provide value, engage your reader, and be interesting. It’s a tall order, but I am going to go through the steps of how I write a post in hopes that you’ll realize it’s a challenge, but one you can easily overcome to write wonderful posts that promote your business and keep you in the game.
Find a Topic
This sounds so simple, but it’s really the most important step because if you don’t know what you want to write about, how are you going to write anything at all? This can be done one of two ways. If you’re a business blog who only posts about your business, it will be easier. You’ll have a sale to announce, a new service to promote, a new employee to welcome etc. However, if you’re a business who has a blog as a way of sharing information about your entire industry, not just your specific business, then it’s a bit more difficult.
My rule of thumb is if I think of a subject and want to know more about it, then it’s probably interesting. For example, if I decide I want to write a post on how to write a blog post, and I Google it and can spend half an hour seeing what other people say on the matter, then it’s probably an interesting topic. If I Google it and get bored reading other’s opinions in five minutes, it’s time to think of something else.
Just a side note—no matter how hard you try, you most likely will not think of a 100% unique blog topic. And it’s not a crime to see how others approach the same topic, as long as you don’t plagiarize.
Research Your Topic
There is a difference between research and plagiarism and be careful not to cross that line. I like to read other blogs and websites who have posts on what I am writing about. It helps me corral my thoughts and get a sense of how to organize. But I never, ever lift content.
Now that you have a better sense of what you want to say and how you want to say it, it’s time to write. I don’t give myself a time limit, but I’m usually pretty fast, so if you’re slow, a time limit might be helpful. I try to get what I want to say out in one sitting so I don’t forget anything or say anything over and over while trying to get my point across. I also don’t worry too much about the actual writing at this point because I know I will edit and revise at least twice before actually posting. Which leads us to…
Edit and Revise
I have a rule for myself, and it works so well, I’m going to insist you try it at least once. When I’m done with my first draft, I save it, close my computer and walk away. I come back 24 hours later, re-read it and spend as much time editing and revising as I need to make my point as sharp and interesting as I can. This is the most difficult part for me. I often end up cutting almost half of what I’ve written, and re-writing to try to hone my message. Then I save it, close the computer and walk away.
Another 24 hours later (so 48 total), I come back, re-read and make any final edits or revisions. These are usually pretty minor as I’ve done most of my editing and revising the previous day. If I have the luxury of time, I may walk away one more time and re-read it again, but usually, I’ll go ahead and post it at this point.
Half the battle of writing the post is just about sitting down and actually writing it. Getting started is hard, but once you’re in that groove, it’s almost impossible to stop. Good luck writing!
August 12, 2010
Given that you are posting a daily blog, coming back 24 and then 48 hours later, does this mean you’re writing posts a fair bit in advance? Maybe more than one so you have backup blogs depending on whether you feel it is ready to be posted or needs more work? If so, is this a practice that a business blogger should develop immediately or gradually work into? While I am sure that some people may only post their blog once a week or every two weeks, does this affect whether they should at least have some framework ready to go?
August 12, 2010
I always write my posts a fair bit in advance. I have a few in my back pocket at all times. Everyone will need to blog how they are the most comfortable, but it’s definitely a strategy that works for me and I would suggest that business blogs attempt it also. Having blogs ready to go is never going to be a bad thing.