I am tired. I was up late watching the big game.
What do you mean, what big game? You haven’t heard about the feel-good, Cinderella sports story of the year?
Allow me fill you in. The rough-and-tumble Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers (Go Chants!) came from behind to beat the polished University of Arizona Wildcats 5-4 in the College World Series (that’s baseball) tying the series and forcing a Game 3. They play the final game tonight. So exciting!
I’m not a huge college sports fan. In fact, this was the first CCU game of any kind I’ve seen in years. (Fair-weather fan. Guilty as charged.) But last night I watched the game with a bunch of other CCU professors and fans. It was a great game. I had a great time.
But the game ran late and now I’m tired.
Also, I’m about to hit the road for a little holiday weekend road trip and I haven’t gotten around to packing just yet.
In short, writing this blog post is the last thing I want to do right now. But, you know what? I’m doing it anyway.
I’m not looking for a medal or anything. I have seen lots of people do more with less emotional energy than I have right now. Some of them definitely deserve medals. But I want to use my experience to talk about simple strategies for coming up with blog content quickly, even when you are low on emotional energy and not feeling particularly prolific.
But before I get to the tip portion of our program: Why is it so important to write a blog post each week?
Blogging regularly is one of the best ways to get your business in front of potential customers. It’s simple. More quality content on your website means more keywords for Google bots to find, more content for your fans to share on social media, and more eyeballs scanning your words and ultimately, more brains deciding they want more of your brilliance.
But writing a blog post every week is tough. Unless you know some huge secret (and if you do, you should be selling it to someone), you probably don’t get to bill anyone when you complete your own blog posts. And because the payoff isn’t direct, it’s tempting to blow off blogging.
It’s all too easy to think of blogging as icing on the cake instead of your bread and butter. If that’s how you’re thinking of it, though, it’s time for that to change. So, now that I’ve reminded you about how important blogging is to your marketing game, let’s talk turkey.
How do you whip up a great blog post in less time than it takes to make dinner?
Here are some strategies I use:
- Keep a running list of blog post topics. Every time you have a blog idea, write it down and put it in a file. This way, when it’s time to write and you don’t have any fresh ideas, you don’t just give up—or stare at a blank page for an hour, check Facebook hoping for inspiration, and then give up. Instead, you can pull up your handy list and choose a topic. I literally used this strategy this morning (thanks, former-self). Yes, not having an idea immediately is a relatively small obstacle to writing, but remember how easy it is to rationalize not blogging. Sometimes a small obstacle is all it takes to justify putting it off. Keeping a list is an easy way to keep yourself on track.
- Just start writing. Seriously. Write down whatever comes to mind. It might be a list of things you’ve got in your head (for example, see my post from last week). Once they’re on the page in front of you, you’ll start drawing connections and thinking about what you want to say about them. Before you know it, you’ll have paragraphs. Or what you have in your head might be a story. Write down the story and then think about lessons that others might learn from reading your story. Like magic, you’ve got a blog post.
- If you’re a perfectionist, choose a friend who’s not a perfectionist and write what she would write. I’m a recovering perfectionist. I used to write articles intended for publication in academic journals. My writing style doesn’t easily lend itself to academic writing, so I spent a lot of time (way more than I care to think about) “perfecting” (more like tearing my heart out over) every sentence (and sometimes every word). Comparatively speaking, blog writing is like sinking my teeth into a chocolate éclair. But sometimes I revert to that academic-y part of my brain and the copy that comes out sounds like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons. To avoid this problem, I pretend to be a non-perfectionist. The copy ends up being much more casual and relatable. So if you aren’t writing because you’re trying to find the perfect words, try thinking like less of a perfectionist.
Great business blogs deliver content for a specific audience on a regular basis. Consistent readers of these blogs keep coming back because they know what to expect. If this doesn’t describe your blog, consider finding a copywriter who can help (Have I mentioned that I’m really easy to work with?). There’s nothing wrong with feeling too tired, drained, busy, burned out, blocked… But if these feelings interfere with your business reaching the right audience, it’s time to do something about it.