I’ll make a bet ‘update blog’ is on your to-do list right now. In fact, it’s probably the one job you always struggle to get round to.
You know the benefits a well-maintained blog can bring. Things like more traffic, more enquiries and improved customer engagement.
But when you sit down to write a blog post, you suddenly find something, anything, more important to do. Like making another cuppa, checking Twitter, or reading someone else’s blog.
And you’re not alone. A survey by Technorati showed 95% of blogs had not been updated within the past 120 days.
Depressing? No! It means you have a great opportunity to be in the 5% of successful bloggers. If you can just get beyond *thinking* about updating your blog to *actually* updating your blog.
95% of blogs have not been updated in the past 120 days. That means you can be in the top 5%. Click To Tweet
If you’re reading this article as another distraction from writing your next blog post, here are some strategies you can try to make the blog writing process less painful.
Have a plan
Before you start thinking about potential titles or opening sentences, create a blog strategy and content schedule. Armed with these you’ll know exactly what you are going to blog about next and also how you will measure the success of each article.
With a plan in place, you’ll never stare at a blank piece of paper wondering what you should blog about. And knowing exactly when you are due to publish your next article will keep you focused and stop procrastination in its tracks.
Understand why you are blogging
Blogging will always be difficult if you don’t know why you’re blogging.
If it’s just something you feel you should be doing because everyone else is, it’s hard to get excited. But if you understand how blogging will help you achieve your business goals, it suddenly gets a whole lot more interesting.
If you want to learn how blogging affects your web traffic the BoostBlogTraffic site is a great place to start.
If you find yourself cringing when you write, there’s no wonder the blog writing process is painful. But don’t worry; even professional copywriters often hate their first draft.
And that’s the thing, you shouldn’t expect to write an amazing blog post in one take.
Usually it will take at least two drafts and often more to get a piece you are really proud of. So don’t strive for perfection (at least not on the first draft). Just make a start and you’ll soon have something you can polish and hone into a brilliant article.
Give yourself thinking time
Writing is always more enjoyable when the words flow easily. When you’re in the zone, it feels as though your fingers can’t keep up with your brain. But how do you get into this zone?
Well, I find if I let an idea stew around in my brain for a while, it begins to write itself. So don’t sit down to write until you’ve been mulling over an idea for some time. Then when you do begin writing, you’ll find the words will flow.
Write and edit on different days
Don’t attempt to write and edit your blog in one session. You need to step away from what you’ve written and come back with a fresh perspective to create your next draft.
Often when you think you’ve written a load of rubbish, you come back later and realise what you wrote wasn’t that bad. And taking some time away can help you spot the areas where you need to tweak things.
Give it the time it deserves
You’re busy (as always) but somehow you find a spare half hour to dash off a quick blog post. You figure something’s better than nothing and at least you’ll have uploaded something new onto your blog.
The problem is if you don’t invest time writing a blog post, no-one will invest time reading it. And when no-one reads your article, it’s natural to question why you’re blogging in the first place.
So instead of trying to find short-cuts, block out a period of time each week for blog writing. Treat this time as importantly as you would a client meeting – that means no postponing and no distractions.
Professional bloggers will often allow a day or more to write one post. That may sound excessive but they know it’s worth it. The traffic, enquiries and sales that can be generated from one post far outweigh the time invested.
If you’re tempted to keep your blog posts short to save time, it’s interesting to know research consistently shows longer (1,000 words plus) blog posts perform better than shorter blog posts.
According to Buffer, the optimal length of a blog post is 1,600 words.
Moz.com found posts of between 1,800 and 3,000 words attract more than 15 times more ILDs (that’s In-Linking Domains – simply put, links to your site from other sites).
Track your success
It’s important to know how you will track your success. Do you have a set number of subscribers you want to gain each month or a certain number of social media shares?
By setting goals for your success, blogging becomes a fun challenge as you watch the impact your blogging activity has on your business. This will spur you on when you need to write your next post.
Recruit guest bloggers
A great way to get fresh content on your blog without writing it yourself is to invite guest bloggers to write for you. This could be people from within your industry or even people from other industries who have useful insights to share with your readers.
If all else fails, you can always outsource your blog writing to a professional freelance copywriter. “You would say that!” I hear you cry. Well, yes; I do write blogs for other people and yes, it pays the bills.
But seriously, if you really hate writing, then let someone else do it. Once you’ve handed the responsibility to someone else, you’ll feel unburdened and have more time and energy to focus on other areas of your business.
Do what you love
Hate writing? Then don’t! I officially give you permission never to write a blog post again. That’s because blogs are no longer limited to words. You can create a video, infographic, or graphic-based blog instead.
As long as the content is useful and shareable, there’s no reason why you have to stick to the written word.
So there you go, ten strategies that will make writing your next blog post less painful.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your own tips for beating blogging procrastination? Post them in the comments below.
I’ll be adding lots more advice, checklists and copywriting guides to the blog over the coming months. To stay up-to-date, just pop your details in the box over on the right hand side of the page.
See you next time!