I regularly have conversations with my fellow business owners about their blog. Or rather, their lack of it. It seems that many of us have thought, “I must write a blog” without fully thinking it through. Getting started is one thing, but staying motivated when faced with the day to demands of running a business can be hard. Whilst it is true that there are many benefits to a regularly updated blog on your website, it also true that a neglected one can do a lot of harm. So how do you stay motivated and consistent? Here are a few tips from the world of writing.
Writing well always requires more than one draft.
Nobody writes a perfect first draft. Not even J. K. Rowling. Well, she’s never actually told me that but I can guarantee that Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone didn’t just appear from nowhere. Stephen King talks a lot about the benefits of drafting and redrafting in his autobiographical book ‘On Writing’. If the modern greats of the writing world can’t get it right first time why do we expect this of ourselves?
Solution: Ideally I like to give myself at least two hours between the intitial draft of copy and the first edit. Write. Save. Walk away. Wash up, play tennis, get on with your working day. Let it breathe. Go back expecting it to be terrible. Edit. Repeat. Edit. Repeat…
Don’t over commit
It’s easy to get carried away and begin with a weekly or – heaven forbid daily – blog plan. But don’t forget this is one more thing to do on top of all of the other weekly commitments we have as business owners. An unfulfilled content plan just becomes yet one more thing to beat ourselves up about, making it all the more likely we’ll abandon the idea all together.
Solution: Be realistic about your responsibilities before laying down a timetable. I encourage my clients to start with monthly posts, with notes on possible topics for each season. If you find yourself with a bit of spare time and a flash of inspiration then you can always write an additional post and schedule it to publish at a useful time.
Ask for help
Writing is a solitary affair. Deciding content and understanding the need for particular topics can be daunting. On top of that, just about every professional writer can relate to the self doubt that appears as you stare at a blank screen.
Solution: Remember that you’re not working in a bubble. Ask your audience what they want to read. Research popular topics in your industry and think about how you might put your own perspective on a particular issue. Listen to your existing clients – consider the questions that come up time and time again. If all else fails, seek the support of a professional. I have a core group of blogging clients who like to write the posts themselves; with support from me to plan, edit and ask questions when required.
In short, blogging is a valuable part of a marketing plan when posts are kept relevant, well written and consistent. It’s easy to forget that there is a process behind great writing – with hard work and patience acting as the driving force behind every successful writer. If, like many others, you started with enthusiasm before falling off the horse, don’t give up altogether. Hopefully my tips today can help you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get stuck into that second, third or even eighth draft.
I am a freelance writer with a passion for people and the conviction that great stories can rock their world. With my copywriting, editing and workshop training I will help you find a voice and tell the right stories to the right people. Call Claire on 07928122079 for an informal chat about how I can help you move forward with your business copy.