5 Steps to blogging
This article is about how to make blogging easy. I break the blogging process down to 5 easy steps. Blogging is good for your business. It adds to your credibility. It helps your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to be found in google. It’s shareable. It’s there forever (as long as you don’t delete it). You can send potential prospects to it in a non salesy way.
I often hear from small business owners, that blogging is something they see enormous benefit doing, but they just haven’t got round to doing it or are stuck on ideas to write. So to make it easy I’ve broken it down. Here’s my 5 steps to effective blogging.
- Brainstorming topics and idea
- Publication and distribution
How to make blogging easy – firstly
So the first thing to do is block out some time in your diary to do each of these steps. It’s not a five minute job, but it shouldn’t have to take days either. Each step doesn’t have to be done at the same sitting. In fact don’t aim to get all done in one sitting as they require different brain skills.
Step 1 – Brainstorming topics and ideas.
You will need a pen and bunch of post it notes and a wall to stick them to. Take yourself to another room where you don’t normally work. That way you don’t have your normal distractions of emails and messages pinging in every few seconds (my conservatory works well for this, it’s light and there’s no tech in there at all. If it’s good weather, sitting outside works well too). Set a timer for 30 minutes. Have a brain dump and write as many ideas that pop into your head. No need for any details, just headlines or topics. One topic or headline per post-it note.
Spend no more than 30 minutes on the brain dump and just let all ideas spew out. While you’re thinking you might reflect on the conversations you’ve had with customers and prospects, things you’ve done, things clients have done, things that have happened, in the news, in your community, in your business, in your family, things you’ve bought or sold, events you’ve been to or planning to go to. Write a post-it for each thing. Don’t judge or decide at this point whether it will make a good topic or not.
Take a quick break
When the timer is up, reward yourself by getting up and walking around, take a few deep breaths and a take a sip or two of water to replenish your brain ready for part 2 of this step.
Place all the post-its in front of you so you can see each one. Pick 3-4 post-it’s that appeal to you and put the others somewhere safe for next time you schedule to do a brain dump and composing session.
Pick one of the 4 and place in the middle of a clean A4 sheet of paper. Thinking of the topic consider what lesson or point you could make from this and jot them down around your post it. You might use a mind map format or a list of bullets – whatever works for you. It’s not important yet to think up a title, that’ll come later.
It might be that several other article ideas come through as a result of of this. Bonus!
Step 2 – Composing
This next step may take longer. I allow a couple of hours.
The format of your blog post depends on your natural communication style.
If writing is your preferred style get in front your computer and start the writing bit. Compose the opening paragraph by answering the following question, “What is the issue. Why is it important. How you will address it”. As it’s the opening paragraph it should just be top level.
Next go deeper into the topic and using the notes you made in step 1 write out the meat of the article. What the issue is, who it affects, what the affects are and why it’s important.
Next, addressing the issue, what happened next, the options, how it was solved, what the result was.
Then finish with a summary paragraph.The summary paragraph repeats the opening paragraph’s format – what the issue was, why it was important and how you addressed in in the article.
Not a writer?
If talking is your preferred style, then use the same format to structure your talk and instead of typing it talk into your phone’s camera. Make sure you’ve set it up on a tripod or books to steady it, there’s nothing worse than watching a selfie video with camera shake.
Now take a short break, by getting up, get a glass of water and take a few sips.
While you’re in the flow, repeat the process with the other 3 article topics.
Step 3 –Proof-reading and finishing off
Sit back down and read through what you’ve written with your proof-reader’s head on. Make any edits. One word of warning – don’t get hung up on perfection. If it’s good enough, it’s good enough.
While you’re reading it through think up a good title.
I do it this way round as I don’t want my creative writing to be stunted by trying to keep within the bounds of a particular title. When I have started with a title in mind, I find myself steering off in a far more interesting direction, so now I tend to not waste time thinking up a title first because it often changes as I’ve developed the article.
Good titles shouldn’t be too cryptic as article titles are a valuable SEO property and search engines will try to match blog titles with what’s been searched for. See my blog post ‘how to do SEO’.
Finish off the article with a call to action. What’s the next thing you want the reader to do? Read another related article or page? Sign up to a content upgrade or your newsletter? Buy a product? Call you? Leave a comment?
Step 4 – Creatives
What do I mean by a ‘creative’? It’s an image that accompanies your article. The obvious benefit is that it’s visually captivating and entices a person to read on. The hidden benefit is that it helps with SEO as it’s another property search engines will try and match up with what searchers are looking for. Although the image itself can’t be seen by search engines, its file name and description can. In other words, make sure the image file name is the same as the blog title.
You could infer that it actually doesn’t matter what the image is of, but if you’re going to the trouble anyway, make it visually appealing too.
When it’s visually appealing with your brand/logo embellishment, it becomes another shareable property that could find itself on other social media platforms, even the ones you’re not on. And that means more ways for you to be ‘discovered’ and get eyeballs on your website, which means more of the right sorts of people signing up to your list and getting into your funnel to be turned into paying clients.
Step 5 – Publication
Publication simply means uploading your article and image on your blog site and scheduling when to publish it. If you’ve done a batch of blog posts, then you’ve got content that you can pre-schedule to be released monthly, weekly or even daily. Yep, there are people who blog daily! If that’s not you, that’s fine. Start with monthly and you can always build up to weekly. What is important is to make it regular. That trains the search engines to know that they should come back and check for new content.
Clearly, you want to reach as many people as possible. After all, you’ve taken the time to think up and write your articles, so here are some other ideas to spread the blanket out further.
Include a link to your blog post in your newsletter, share the link on your social media channels – make sure you add some cliff-hanger type pre-amble to entice people to click the link and read on.
So there you have it. How to make blogging easy with 5 steps. You might decide that some of the steps can be outsourced. In fact that’s what my Biz Tech Team do for our clients. It means they don’t have to worry about it. They know that their blogging is being taken care of. Which means that when people land on their website and check out their blogs, it’s current and cared for.
If you like this tip, then share this post on your social channels so more people can benefit.