In yesterday’s post, we went over the reasons why your business might want to have a blog and today we’ll talk about ways to help you keep going with your blog and avoid the fate of many who’ve started a blog but stopped within a few days or weeks when the initial ‘fun’ is over.
I Haven’t Updated in Awhile
A search for the phrase i haven’t updated in awhile turns up 468 million results (14 million in the last month alone) so don’t feel too bad if you’ve tried and haven’t updated in awhile once or twice before – you’re certainly not alone. It’s easy to start something, it’s hard to keep doing it consistently.
Schedule It In
If it’s not on your calendar, then it won’t happen. There will always be something else to do. This can be your actual day planner or just mentally in your head. For these blog posts I know that first thing in the morning at work, after I have some coffee, I am going to spend 30 – 60 minutes writing out an article for our blog. If I just left it to “whenever I have time”, it would never happen because there’s always going to be things that come up and are more pressing. If you have an assistant, tell them what you’re doing. Have someone hold you accountable. Decide how often you want to post a new article and then put that in every day/week on your schedule. Before you know it, it’ll be such a part of your regular routine that you won’t even have to think about it.
Here’s a few quick suggestions for removing distractions. This could be a whole blog post on it’s own:
- Turn off your email client. Or at least change the default “Check for New Mail” setting to longer than the default every 2 minutes. Try 30 minutes and you’ll be amazed by how much more work you get done by not seeing that little number pop up on your inbox icon.
- Log off Twitter & Facebook. Or whatever social network is pulling your time away from other things. You say you have the self control to stop checking it, but we both know you just checked Facebook while reading this sentence.
- Turn off the ringer on your phone and put it facedown on your desk. If you turn the ringer off and then you still see the notification pop up that someone called or sent you a text, you’ve lost focus whether you actually check it or not.
- Don’t fiddle with fonts. I’m guilty of this one. Whether it’s the fonts, or figuring out which application I’m going to use to write with, or what music I’m going to listen to while I’m writing – basically doing anything but actually writing. More on this in a future article.
This isn’t just for writing an article for your blog, it likely should be something you’re doing for most tasks that require more than 10 minutes of your time. But like I said, more in a future blog article.
Spend 30 Minutes Brainstorming Topics
I’m sure somedays you’ll sit down to write and be inspired by something you read or heard the day before – but generally, it’s much easier to write if the topic is already defined. Before I started this process, I came up with a list of 8 or 9 topics to get me started. That way I knew the first week I’d have at least a topic to write about. Between Michael and myself, we shouldn’t have much trouble coming up with the rest of the month’s topics now that we’re going.
But if I sat down each morning and had to try and come up with a topic, I’d waste a good 15-25 minutes thinking of something to write about – never mind the time I’d then spend on the fonts and colours!
Write in Advance
There’s nothing wrong with writing a bunch of articles ahead of time and then scheduling them out over the next weeks/months. There’s no reason that this article couldn’t have been written a week ago and then posted today. If you’re the type of person who, once you get going on something you can just keep going – why not set aside a morning or a day to write a bunch of articles all at once?
If there’s more than one of you, divide and conquer. If you’re posting once a week, take alternate weeks to post. Not only will it help with having time to write, it will also give your blog a more interesting voice. Don’t just assign one person to be “the blogger” and leave them high and dry. Unless they have a passion for writing and the topic they’re writing about, they’ll lose enthusiasm pretty quickly.
Calling in Sick
Try as hard as possible to be consistent in when and how often you post. But if you miss a week due to being busy, sickness, staff shortage, etc. just get back on the bike and try again. Be honest about what happened and acknowledge that a week was missed, but then move on to the topic at hand. Unless you’re running a membership site where people have paid to get articles on a specific basis, it’s fine to miss the occasional post. Just don’t let it slip more than once, otherwise you’ll be adding to the 468 million i haven’t updated in awhile posts on the internet.
And I think we have enough of those already.
For the next couple of posts, I want to cover a few of these points a bit more in depth as I know there’s a lot of questions about some of them we get from clients. Tomorrow we’ll touch on something related to collaborating on posting – can you trust your employee’s to blog for your business?