In the past, I’ve blogged about the importance of making social media a part of a company’s DNA.
In this post I’d like to get a bit more specific and share some of what I’ve learned along the way in hopes that this will inspire the many people who have expressed to me the difficulty they have in finding the time in their schedules to blog or the motivation to complete their posts (and to post frequently enough).
1. Document: I take this tip from my days as a technical author – document everything you do – whether it’s attending an evening seminar, listening to a webinar, reading a book to enhance your skills, or taking part in a new project that presents you with a number of challenges. This stuff is all blog-worthy. I have met a lot of people who have never really gotten in to the swing of blogging because they feel every post has to be essay-like in length and so broad that it covers all possible bases. Next time you go to an event, why not try taking one good photo on Instagram and posting that to your blog with comments about what you felt were the most relevant and interesting points of the day? I bet you end up writing more than you thought you would. And presto – instant blog.
2. Clip: Since a great deal of “food for blogging” comes from other materials you often see/agree/disagree with on the web, and since you can’t always blog instantaneously, then you need to put technology in place that will allow you to capture and park ideas for when you can blog.
I do this by clipping highlighted bits from web pages to Evernote and placing them in my “Blog” folder which I can access from anywhere. So blog ideas are easily collected, parked and stored in a way that makes them easy to find when it’s time to start blogging.
Evernote is by no means the only way to do this. I know people who simply paste everything in as a new post in WordPress to be worked on later. You can collect & park in any way that makes sense to you – if this means capturing ideas as photos on your smartphone then by all means do it this way. As long as you’re keeping a record of your ideas, you’ll probably never run out of blogging material.
3. Snap: I’ll say it again – a photo is a good start to a blog post. So is an image, particularly one that illustrates exactly what you’d like to say. When in doubt, let a visual do the talking. So if you don’t know how to start or finish your blog post, think about whether you’re missing that vital visual element. Graphic-led blog posts are going to become more prevalent because of the rise of image sharing on sites like Pinterest. So get snapping (or copying, drawing….you get the idea).
4. Get mobile: If I waited until I was sat down at my desk, cup of tea in hand, laptop ready at my fingertips….I’d never get any blogging done. What is stopping you from writing a blog post on your smartphone, or your tablet on your daily commute home or on your lunch break? It takes awhile to get used to, and yes, balancing an iPad on the headrest of a fellow commuter’s seat on the train is never going to be easy, but as with all things, think of how good you’ll feel once it’s done (and you’ve got your blogging done before mad rush to make dinner!)
5. Automate: I have Google alerts set up to monitor key topics of interest as well as columns in Tweetdeck doing the same thing. As imaginative as I can be, I cannot constantly think of unique and original thoughts on say, content marketing…..so I do need a steady stream of information coming in not only to stay up to date on the topic, but also because the news always seems to start a new stream of thought. Automate alerts so that you don’t rely on coincidentally stumbling upon your blogging inspiration.
6. Curate: A blog post that curates content can be as useful as your unique take on something. What about doing a once weekly gathering of everything you’ve curated and providing it to your readers? This is where clipping really comes in to its own – I clip all week and then write “This Week’s Best Reads” on a Friday.
7. Schedule: I schedule automated publishing of my blog posts. It helps me to get them done on time and publishes them at the times that have been most successful in creating a large volume of traffic.