Do you struggle to keep up with consistently posting to your blog, email newsletter, or even a podcast? Let’s solve that once and for all, right now. I’m going to share the 10 simple steps that will create an easily manageable system for your blog.
This is what I have learned after helping people launch thousands of blogs, and in writing my own weekly blog for 12 years. This is my best advice.
Okay, let’s dig in…
Step #1: Have a Clear Focus
You want to be laser-focused on what you write about, and who you write for. Create a mission statement for the blog, identifying exactly what you are focused on and why.
Be clear about who this blog is for. Have a picture in your mind of the exact person who will read this. Don’t write for “an audience,” write for one person.
Step #2: Mindmap the Themes
Now that you have a clear mission and sense of who this blog is for, create a mindmap of the basic themes. You can do this on paper, or via software such as Freemind.
Create a circle in the middle and write your mission. Then create a line extending out and write one primary theme of it you will dig into. Draw a circle around that. For that specific theme, create sub-topics around it.
Step #3 Create an Editorial Calendar
Create a basic schedule to adhere to. Get out a paper calendar or use software such as Excel to create a basic editorial calendar. Plan to post to your blog at least once per week, if possible.
Take each of the themes from the mindmap, and begin to place each general theme on a given day or week. Plan 6-12 weeks out. You do not have to stick to a rigid schedule such as this, but I find that it is a useful organization tool, and prevents bloggers from feeling that they are starting from scratch each week.
Step #4: Consider Different Types of Posts You Can Create
Consider how each theme you write about can take a different form. Would your mission and the person you are writing for benefit from a long story, or a short how-to post? Would they prefer a video? Would a quote be useful? Do they need links and research? Would a drawing be most engaging to them?
Don’t feel trapped by “best practices” you read about the blog content that works best based on “industry trends.” Instead, focus intensely how your themes and mission can best connect with an actual person.
On your calendar, you can color-code these different content types. Blue can be a poem, red a short how-to post, yellow a long essay, green a diagram, etc.
Step #5: Capture Ideas
Your mission and themes will be a general guide, but I encourage you to have a place to capture ideas for specific blog posts. If you prefer paper, buy a small notebook that will fit in your pocket and an equally small pen. Jot down ideas as you have them.
If you prefer digital, download Evernote on your phone and computer so that you can capture ideas when you have them, or even just save a photo of something that inspires an idea.
Step #6: Process Your Ideas
Process those ideas weekly. Review your notes, and begin to outline how they would fit into specific blog posts.
Use a writing tool such as Scrivener where you can outline multiple blog posts in one place, or create a folder on Dropbox (so you can access them anywhere) where you can keep these ideas organized.
As ideas slowly turn into potential blog posts, brainstorm potential headlines early. Create an outline of what a final blog post may look like. This can consist of a few key phrases that gives the post a narrative arc. Consider how this post could delight the person you are writing it for.
If you have a file of outlines such as this, you never have to worry about writers block. When you sit down to write, you can choose the outline that is most interesting to you. This gives you a massive head start. You are FINISHING, not STARTING.
Step #7: Create a Writing Routine
Writing isn’t easy, and it can be an emotional process. Prepare for that by creating a routine that includes some of these steps:
- Creating final headline
- Final proofing
You can even include these steps on an editorial calendar. Perhaps you want to focus on one post per week, and align each of these actions to a specific day. Or maybe you want to batch posts… outlining several at once, or writing several at once. Then processing them the next week through editing and formatting. It’s up to you.
Step #8: Find Collaborators
Consider if you need an accountability partner to keep you motivated. Or if you have a friend who will proofread posts. Or if you want to hire an illustrator on Fiverr.com to create diagrams for each post.
I have those things. I bounce ideas off of the people in my mastermind group every single day. I have hired someone to keep me accountable to certain aspects of my social media calendar. I have a friend I chat with once per week to talk about big picture plans, and keep me focused on item #1 above: the mission and who I write for.
I strongly encourage you to involve others in this process.
Step #9: Obsess About Engagement
Writing a blog is about sharing a message with someone. To do that most effectively, become more and more curious about who these people are, and what engages them. I wrote a whole book about audience research, and I suppose the short version is: care about those you hope to reach.
Give yourself a few months to experiment. Concern yourself with crafting the best blog posts you possibly can, and on meaningfully connecting it with others in a way that is welcome to them, not spammy.
Step #10: Celebrate
Throughout this process, you may feel uncertain. You may seek immediate validation of the work you post, and it may be difficult to receive that very quickly. You may hope for a lot of social media shares or page views, and you may be disappointed.
Celebrate what you do create each week. How your mission has become clearer. How you identified more ideas that inspire you. How you wrote more posts. How you connected with at least one person.
Because if you can make one person’s day better, you have changed their world.