This post is definitely for you if you want to know how to blog if you hate writing.
Do you remember your school-age days when your teachers would remind the class to get started on a project the day it was assigned rather than wait until the day before it was due? Remember how you didn’t actually take that advice until you learned that lesson the hard way? Did you have to stay up late to finish something that could have been done days earlier?
Some people graduate and move on, bringing this habit of procrastination into their careers and businesses. Rather than plan out a content marketing strategy, some entrepreneurs continue to just wing it. Worse yet, so many more avoid writing altogether and stick to the rivers and the lakes like they’re used to. 😉
If you’re feeling all of this, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Despite the fact that I’m a trained copywriter, even I ride the content writing struggle bus most of the time. I mean… this is my first post in over a year. Maybe it’s just me, but I never intended to be a procrastinator. When I was in school, I just needed the right creative inspiration to come to me before I was able to get started. I couldn’t just will myself into writing. And besides, even if I did, I felt like it would come out absolutely terrible. I wanted everything I touched to be “just so.” Can you relate?
It may come as no surprise to you that most business owners loathe the idea of writing. They actively put off content marketing-related tasks such as blogging, drafting email newsletters, or putting together captions. It feels beyond overwhelming, to say the very least.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to continue to be this way. We’ve learned about how famous writers took extended vacations away from their personal responsibilities so they could focus. Oh, how lovely it would be to pull a Hemingway and rent an apartment in Paris to get in the right mood. But alas, that’s not exactly possible for most of us these days. I’m sure you are like me and can’t justify neglecting your family so you can chase inspiration (and freshly-baked croissants). So what do we do when we’ve got to sit down to write?
I’m going to metaphorically transport you to another European country and explain what this German concept is. Sitzfleisch translates directly to “sitting flesh.” It means to sit your butt in the chair, stay in that chair, and get work done productively. It’s all about knowing what you need to get done and forcing yourself to do it. Focus and stamina.
I know, I know. This is not comfortable for so many of us who have gotten away with procrastination and welcomed distractions for so long. I’m going to give you a few tips on how to blog and I promise it’ll be worth it. Okay? Cool.
But first, align your business
Before you can even begin thinking about blogging or designing trendy graphics in Canva, you need to first get realllllly honest with yourself. Is this the business you want to be running and are you working with your dream clients? If not, take a long pause and ask yourself what you would rather be doing. Ask yourself who you would rather be working with. You need to start creating content for that audience and those new services.
Identify your blog content categories
Once you know you’re on track with the services you offer (and to whom), then you’re ready to move forward. When you’re working with your clients, what types of things are you casually helping them understand? What are you casually teaching them with little to no effort?
For example, if you’re a wedding planner, do you help clients navigate their budget or manage their guests? Maybe these are top-level content categories you could expand upon. If you’re an interior design consultant, you might break your categories up by room or by the type of work you’ll do (structural, furniture, textiles, lighting, etc.).
Once you’ve identified your content categories, then you can break it all down a bit further (if you’d like) into sub-categories. By now, you might even have some ideas about the types of posts you can create. I’m going to urge you to hold off on writing until you get through steps 3 through 5.
Organize your blog ideas
Now that you’ve sketched out your content categories, you can organize your ideas. If you search for content calendar templates or editorial calendar templates, you’re going to find an endless wealth of options. Truly. I have a hunch that for every business that exists, there is an editorial calendar to fit their needs. You need to (without committing too fully) try out a few systems and see what feels good for you. You can find templates that work in systems you may already use, like Asana, Trello, or even Google Sheets. The key here is that you need to remember that it’s not about the system you use — it’s about how it helps you stay on track with the content you plan to create.
Project management software like the ones I mentioned above often allow you to create templates for tasks you’ll repeat often. I happen to be referencing a [TEMPLATE] Blog Post in my Asana workspace now. Create a template with comprehensive checklists, universal resource links, and anything else you’ll need every single time you create a new blog post. Once you have a blog template created, you can just duplicate it, rename the task to reflect the blog post’s title, and start assigning due dates and tasks to team members.
No more reinventing the wheel each time, okay?
Block your calendar
Because we’re trying to reduce the stress and procrastination surrounding content writing, we need to think about how we can set aside time each and every month to focus on it. Pull out your phone right now and open up your calendar app (or whatever tool you use to organize your life).
Take a peek at the general flow of your months. Do you have a lot of recurring monthly events at the beginning or end of the month? Where do you have some reliable gaps? Pick one day each month (ex: the third Monday) and block off that entire day indefinitely. Do not schedule over it with dentist appointments or even prospective client calls. Protect this one day you have per month for content writing only. Schedule it and make any accommodations you need for child or pet care on that day.
Next, look at this week, last week, and next week. Look a few more weeks into the future. Do you see any patterns in your schedule? Maybe you happen to have more availability on Monday afternoons or Thursday mornings. Whatever that might be, block off a solid hour or two each week for just ongoing marketing purposes. You should use this time for intentional community engagement, scheduling out social media posts, and writing email newsletters. I find that my favorite day to do this is Monday… and I have been calling it “Marketing Monday” for years now.
Practice Sitzfleisch and blog your heart out
Now that we know we’re in the right business, we’ve identified our areas of expertise, organized our ideas, and blocked off our calendar, now we need to get to work. The first four tips will help you reduce the overwhelm — the barriers — to writing the blog content. Now, it’s up to you to follow through on the plan.
Are you up for it? Are you ready to show up as the expert in your community?
Let’s get to it. On your content writing day, you’re going to want to do a few important things: turn off your phone, go to a quiet space, find childcare, prepare yourself with the right food and beverages, have all tools within arms reach. If it helps you, clear all the clutter off your desk the day before so you have a fresh start. Before writing, take care of your body: stretch your muscles, practice meditation or mindful breathing for a few minutes, and drink a full glass of water. If you need to, bribe yourself with a particular treat at the end of the day if you did a solid job focusing and making progress.
So, let’s go over what we learned in this post. First, you need to make sure you want to continue to offer your business services. Then, you need to identify your areas of expertise that are directly related to those core services. After that, you’ll need to find a tool to keep your ideas organized — I recommend project management software so you can easily collaborate with team members as you grow. Next, you’ll need to find open spaces in your calendar and book out one whole day each month for content writing and a few hours each week for ongoing marketing efforts. Lastly, you need to sit down, focus, and blog diligently. Rinse and repeat.
Bonus tip: If you get stuck with any of these sections on how to blog, hop on over to the Buoyant Business Insiders group on Facebook and ask away! We’ll be glad to help you brainstorm your areas of expertise or software systems that make sense for you and your growing business.
If you’re curious about my secret past life as a teenage blogger, head over to my post from (holy guacamole) 2017: Convicted Serial Blogger. Surely you’ll get a kick out of it as much as I did re-reading it.