“Just Effing Do It: 8 Steps To Writing Better Blog Posts”

For both new and old bloggers, sometimes the hardest part of blogging is the process of taking an idea and turning it into something others can appreciate.  By breaking each part down into unique actions, a daunting post gets digested into bite-sized pieces.  Today, socialTNT shares our 8 step process for writing better blog posts.

1. Look for inspiration

Most of my ideas come to me while I’m at work–a client asks a question or a brainstorm leads to a new thought.  Also, reading my favorite blogs, their comments or a heated Twitter discussion can get my mental juices flowing.  I’ve even had inspiration hit while I’m at the gym. Inspiration can come from anywhere, so carry a notebook to jot ideas down before you forget.

2. Research Your Topic

Choose anidea and research it on Google, Wikipedia and other blogs.  Spend 20 – 30 minutes filling your head with everything there is to know about the topic so your thoughts can pour out when you start writing. Remember: Research can also spawn ideas for future posts.

3. Take A Break

Grab a snack. Walk around the block.  Give your brain 5 minutes to process what you’ve just learned.

4. Brainstorm Post Ideas

Take 10 -15 minutes and make a list of all everything that comes to mind.  Stay positive and don’t judge the ideas while brainstorming. No idea is too dumb, small, big, etc.  Write it all down.  You never know what may spawn something newer and better.  Keep the list–you never know when you’ll need some ideas.

5. Conduct follow-up research (Optional)

The idea you chose after the brainstorm might need a little more research with some tighter search terms.  Email or call a friend, expert or anyone who can help sort out your thoughts or give you deeper insight.

6. Just Effing Write

Choose an idea and write.  Don’t worry about making it perfect.  If you’re like me, then you’re your worst critic.  I used to kill so many posts before they were written by worrying whether they would be too basic or not eloquent enough.  Some of the posts I’ve worried most about before publishing seem to be the ones that get the most traffic/comments–once they get writtenSo don’t let the fear of failure get in the way of creating something great.  Just effing write it!

7. Proof it.  Clean it up.  Give it to a friend

This is the editing phase.  Now is your chance to be critical.  Read it once for grammar and once for clarity.  You may find that you need to write more or cut back a lot. Don’t fret. No one writes perfect posts each time they sit down.  Just write.  If you start to get too critical, pass it on to a trusted friend for feedback

8. Publish that Bad Boy

Your idea is no longer a child, so set it free.  It will mature as comments and discussion grow around it.  Smile! You just shared an idea with the world. You are a part of history!

What steps do you take to keep your blog in shape? How do you fight writer’s block? Let us know in the comments!

[This post inspired by “A Technique for Producing Ideas” by James Webb Young, the 43 Folders blog by Merlin Mann, and “Getting Things Done” by David Allen]

Like what you read? Add our RSS feed! [what’s that?]. Or start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox! Or read Chris 24-7 on Twitter!

[The above photo, “Vieja Maquina de Escribir. / Old Writing Machine.” by Gonzalo Barrientos on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

About these ads

6 Comments

Filed under Blogging

6 responses to ““Just Effing Do It: 8 Steps To Writing Better Blog Posts”

  1. So true.

    The whole point of the post (or comment) is to provide fodder for conversation. Don’t overthink what you’re writing too much or it becomes too polished, which is boring.

    At the end of the day, you just have to push publish!

  2. Hi Aaron:

    Totally. And I think that’s what many of us experience, but probably not nearly as much as our clients. We need to try to encourage them to let go of “the process” because people want to speak with humans–not just an edited and revised version of a person!

  3. Chris, thanks for your 8 steps posting. I agree original blogging (original meaning … you are creating original/unique content for the blog regularly vs. sharing a link or copy/pasting a resource) is very time consuming and can be quite challenging.

    To expand a bit on your #1 step, which is *so* true … I also read tons of industry emails and e-newsletters in my field and make a note of any subjects that seems to be “hot.” I also scan through industry headlines/news and draw inspiration like that as well.

    Additionally, I keep various folders both in and outside of email. If I’m reading a magazine or newspaper and see an article of interest, I cut it out and place into my “blog inspiration” folder. Same thing for email … I have various subject-specific folders in my inbox and when an email comes in that catches my attention for blog inspiration, I drag it into that given folder (e.g. “email marketing blog posts”, “web publishing blog posts,” etc.).

    I may not use the information I’ve filed right away but boy is it helpful when I think I’ve run out of ideas. I just start going through my clippings or inbox folders and almost *always* remember I meant to write about this or that; or maybe get some new ideas.

    And probably the biggest thing I have to remember is to set my own pace, set my own tone and to WRITE FOR MYSELF. Meaning … it’s way too much pressure to think I am writing for others. I always try to focus on the fact that I write for myself. When I feel inspired, I blog. Period. If that means a few days go by, ok. I try to keep it very realistic for myself. If someone stumbles on my site and happens to enjoy what I write about, then that is a plus but not a must. That approach seems to alleviate the stress of blog-maintenance and upkeep. That pressure has been known to kill many a promising blog so I do what I can to keep it tamed.

    Thanks for compiling this list. I enjoyed validating that some of what I do to keep my own blog up is identical to what you share here.

    Best,
    Mayra

  4. Hi Mayra:

    Thanks for your comments. I think they’ll really help people out!

    Folders and clippings are great places to file ideas. I also receive *tons* of emails from many industry publications. If I have time when I get them, I read them and either file them into folders (with similar names as yours!), put them into a “read later” folder, or trash them. Like you said, it’s a great place to come back to when seeking inspiration!

    It’s funny–I started blogging (and still do) to really help me process the information I read and figure out how to apply it to my own clients. It’s also nice to help other people figure it out! I do try to write as much as possible, but I also have my client work to think about. In the end, the day job pays the bills!

    Thanks again for stopping by! Your blog’s design is really nice, btw!

    Best,

    Chris

  5. I think that’s so true. The idea of the perfectly written essay no longer exists. The best way for us to contribute to the conversation is to analyze/process our thoughts and send it into the ether as is.

    In the process of coming up with new posts, I also like to create various drafts in my WordPress account. That way, when I spot something interesting, I can jott down notes, links, pictures and outline what I have to say. The WordPress iPhone app is perfect for that. Then, I can come back to it at a later time. This is also where I keep some pretty baked posts handy for when I’m especially busy and don’t have time to blog. All I have to do is click ‘publish’!

    Lovely post. :)

  6. GM Raven

    Thanks Chris! I’m a newbie blogger and I must admit this has been helpful! :D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s