I have a confession: I did not go to school to be a blogger. I don’t have a degree in journalism or creative writing. What I do have is over a decade of experience as a research assistant, corporate sales rep, and integrated public relations marketer, and I use my experience to tell stories. I write this because chances are that you didn’t go to school to be a blogger either, but I’m sure you have something to say.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those that think they can write and those that think they can't, and more often than not both of them are wrong. If there’s one piece of advice to walk away with today, it’s this:
If you want to start a blog, you need to write.
And by that, I mean that you have to have a regular output. Even if all you can manage is a paragraph a day, at least you're writing. It seems simple enough, but if you’ve never written a blog before, it can be pretty intimidating. You want to make sure you incorporate every best-practices tactic to optimize this perfectly crafted piece of content. Thinking this way is how paralysis happens.
If you’ve read some of our previous posts, you know how valuable blogging is for your business. We at Campaign Creators write a lot about blogs because we've been doing it for a long time, but because of that sometimes we can get a little technical. I’ve seen it happen with countless students, interns, and colleagues; you get so bogged down in The Rules that you lose your way. So, let’s go back to basics.
Why are you writing a blog?
Maybe you’re a business owner looking to boost online visibility. Maybe you’re a marketer looking to diversify your content offerings. Either way, the reason you’re writing a blog is to engage with your audience. Do your homework. Who is your audience and what do they care about? In marketing, we call these “personas,” and identifying their wants and needs requires a team of researchers. But, since we’re scaling back on the marketing jargon today, focus on what’s right in front of you.
If you have a company social media account where customers interact with you—guess what—they’re probably feeding you topics. If you’re in the brewing industry and customers keep telling you how much they love your black IPA, maybe you should write the origin story of how you came up with the recipe for your black IPA. If you can figure out how to engage with your audience, some of the marketing stuff will take of itself. As Dale Carnegie says in his classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, you can get more people to like you by seeming interested in them than by trying to get them interested in you. Find a few topics that are popular with your audience and write them down.
You're Not Writing the Great American Novel
Here’s the tricky part: once you’ve written down your ideas, you have to figure out which are doable. Once you start typing this stuff up, you’ll realize that the one topic you started writing on is actually 12 topics. The second piece of advice I have for you is:
You can't cover it all.
I could sit here and try to tell you all about writing structure, and marketing funnels, and SEO and content strategy, but by the end of it (IF you made it to the end) you’d be bored to tears. That is why we’ve written over a dozen blogs on blogging; because there are very few people in the world that find textbooks a delightful read. Break it up. Make it specific and relevant, and your readers will thank you.
You’ve figured out a topic and how you’re going to structure your writing, so write. Don’t write pretty, or clever, or smart; just get the essential ideas out. Notice I didn't say anything about creating an outline. Some people find the structure helpful, but in my experience, it can be restrictive. When I first teach someone how to write a blog, do you know how long it takes them? It usually takes all day, and it’s not because they couldn’t figure out a topic; it’s because they keep editing themselves into a corner. The third piece of blogging advice I have is:
Write first, overthink it later.
Everyone says, “Don’t overthink it,” but I maintain that there is a time and a place for overthinking. As a professional editor, I’ve made a living off of it. But don’t do it while you’re writing, at least not when you first start.
Writing isn't as much a talent as it is a finely tuned craft. Unless you're Jack Kerouac, you're not going to pump out perfect stream of consciousness prose. Once the content is written, you will hack it apart; if you start doing that before finishing, you’ll never get this done in a timely fashion. Eventually writing, editing, and optimizing will integrate seamlessly into one another, but not until you understand the steps you need to take for each process.
Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know by commenting below - we'd love to hear from you!