When you want to blog but you dread writing
Blogging is a great way to position yourself or your company as an industry expert. Prospective customers want to know who you are and what you stand for. Blogging is a great way to show them instead of telling them.
If it were that simple, we would all be doing it, right? The idea of writing makes some people very anxious, for all sorts of reasons. If you’ve ever been asked to write for the office blog, maybe you thought "I’m a venture capitalist/researcher/ not a writer, I don’t know where to start.” If you’re a small business owner juggling many hats, the idea of one more thing to do might seem exhausting. Where does one even begin, you might ask? Here are five tips will help take the anxiety out of writing.
Fix your attitude
There’s no point approaching writing with impatience and irritation or, worse, resentment. Those emotions will block your access to your creativity. The medium of writing is how you demonstrate your genius to your clients. This is how you demonstrate that you deserve their trust. Take the focus away from you and focus instead on serving your prospective and existing clients.
The same applies to preoccupation or worry. Often, when people say they don’t have anything to contribute to a blog, they mean they’re too preoccupied to access their creativity. Are you worried about your business bills? Are you preoccupied with other work you have to do? Go deal with it. Come back ready to contact your creative muses (we all have those, by the way).
Create a realistic publishing schedule
It sounds good to say that you publish a new blog post every week, until you realise how much work is involved. You have to a have draft ready at least a day before you publish. You need to find a photo to illustrate it. You need to edit it. All this on top of your everyday work. If you fall behind on that once-a-week schedule, you will seem uncommitted. Followers and readers will lose interest and move on. Nobody, especially the Google algorithm, is interested in a sometimes blogger. So keep it realistic. It’s better to post once a month consistently than to blog erratically. If you have the budget, consider outsourcing to a communications agency, as many companies do.
A word of warning: if your content calendar is focused on churning out posts and not creating value for your audience, your audience will disengage, social media specialist Mark Kaigwa warns. As with so much else in life, less content is more impactful.
Brainstorm content ahead of time
Brainstorm several weeks’ or month’s worth of content. Those of you who still use pen and paper (that would be me!), write down 4-6 blog ideas. Flesh out each idea. Develop each idea. How will you open? Bullet point what you will include in the body. How will you conclude? If you’re not into pen and paper, save your notes in tools like Evernote or Dropbox. That way, you can access and develop your writing ideas on your phone, on the fly, as ideas come to you.
We’re not done yet.
Now, open your calendar and schedule each blog idea. Set up reminders that will allow you to work on each idea in time for your publishing schedule.
Scheduling ideas that you’ve developed to some degree achieves two things: first, it helps you set an intention. The deadline makes it a real commitment. You can’t just brush it off. Second, when you do sit down to write, you won’t be starting from scratch. There is nothing worse than staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen, wondering what to write.
You won’t enjoy blogging if it doesn’t feel authentic to you. With time and practice, you will find and develop your own voice, your own style that feels natural and believable. If you find blogging doesn’t work for you consider vlogging. Perhaps your on-camera personality is more engaging than your inner writer. Content is king, but nobody said it had to be written content. Do what works for you.
The fear will never go away, perfection is a mirage
Channel your anxiety towards making sure the quality of your work is high and engaging. The quest for perfection leads to anxiety and procrastination. Slightly imperfect and timely is better than perfect but too late.
Blogging is a way to create a narrative around your product or service. Done right, it will help you reach your ideal customer, your tribe., the people who really value your proposition. Don’t let anxiety about writing stand in your way.
Photo credits: Nathan Dumlao, Unsplash
Here’s some great writing advice from positivewriter.com: http://positivewriter.com/7-writer-hacks/