Following up the Websites are Easy; The Content, That’s the Hard Stuff post, here are a handful of more tips to make blog writing easier for you.
Don’t Worry About Perfection
When you are just starting out, focus on getting the task done instead of making it perfect. Of course take time to avoid egregious typos and errors, but everything else is fine. What’s important at this stage is following through to completion. Time spent digging through a thesaurus for the right word, or combing through image galleries for the perfect stock photo wastes creativity, wastes your time and makes the writing task feel more daunting than it really is (read: you’ll start procrastinating more).
Treat your blog like Stephen King’s 5th tip for writing successfully:
Never look at a reference book while doing a first draft.
I’ll add that when you are just starting, your final product is still just a draft. Remember, your post isn’t permanent and can always be edited or even taken down altogether.
Just focus on getting a post up in the first place.
Keep Your Writing Streak Alive
Did you think you’d be getting productivity advice from Jerry Seinfeld?
The trick, according to Seinfeld, is to find motivation by NOT breaking a long consecutive chain of times you’ve successfully met your goal. In this case, let’s say your goal is writing something every day.
After the first day you write something. Repeat on day two and three and now you’ve got a streak.
Take it a step further and hang up a giant wall calendar with giant RED Xs each day you complete your streak. You’ll like seeing that streak grow. You’ll get attached to your streak. You’ll realize, “I don’t want that streak to end.”
Refusing to break the chain builds a routine. Sure you may have some sub-par posts, but who cares. You’re not building an audience yet, you’re building a habit, which in turn will help you become a better writer and that, in turn, will help you build your audience.
Automate Your Posting, Not Your Writing
Each time I click Publish a number of things happen:
- The post gets scheduled for a target time slot to maximize readership (try for mid-morning on Mondays or Thursdays).
- LinkedIn and Twitter shares are automatically generated to go out when the post goes live.
- I get a large percentage of my traffic from Twitter so I schedule additional tweets over the next couple days in Tweetdeck.
- I’ll come back within the next 24 hours with a quick once over to make sure there aren’t any embarrassing misspellings (even if the 24 hour mark is after the post has published – again, it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time).
Notice that the post itself hasn’t even gone live, yet all of this is automatically going on behind the scenes.
Automating also means getting others to do the work for you, such as spreading the word about your glorious new post. People love seeing their own name, especially when it’s alongside a compliment or thank you to them. Mention anyone who contributed to your post and you’ll see them re-share your post to their followers for you.
Finally, automate your imagery as much as possible. Use a tool like ImageOptim to shrink image file sizes (read: load pages quicker) while not losing quality. Use Pablo from Buffer to easily overlay text on your images. Or use CreativeCommons image search to find royalty free work.
Three Keys to Good Content
Creating a website is the easy part. Filling it with content that people actually want is where it gets tricky. With practice and dedication your goal is to make the content creation task become natural.
So the next time you’re stuck, remember these three keys to good content:
- Try to create a habit – eventually it’ll become second nature,
- Plan your writing – your readers can tell when you don’t, and
- Avoid distractions – spend your time writing, avoiding everything else