At this point, most people know the many benefits of blogging. To explain briefly: the process of writing helps you think, the content you create can promote your brand and expertise, a blog is a great way to stay in touch with people and meet new people, and lastly, there are several ways to monetize a blog.
Some of the most common questions I get, and challenges I hear people having, are around simply how to start blogging. Below is my best advice for forcing yourself to start creating content.
Forming the habit
There are many tactics for forming habits that have been written about previously. Getting into the habit of blogging was very hard for me, but now that it’s a regular practice, blogging has become much easier. Below are some of my favorite habit-forming tactics as they pertain to blogging.
Small habits can lead to bigger habits. Starting with shorter, more frequent blog posts can help you get in to the practice of blogging. Writing a small, even just 100 word, post can help you get over the hardest part of blogging: getting started. From there you can build some momentum to start tackling more ambitious posts. Starting with a long post first can be intimidating. Starting small lowers the barrier to getting started.
Setting specific and realistic goals can be motivational and force accountability. If you’ve committed to yourself to write a certain number of blog posts or words within a given period of time you will feel inclined to do so. I like to set goals on a weekly basis. Reaching the goals can bring confidence, and therefore more motivation.
Find the time that’s best for you
Different people feel more able to focus on writing at different times. Experiment to see which times are most conducive to writing for you. Maybe while you’re walking or driving to work you can record yourself talking about a topic that you can later transcribe. I personally like to write on weeknights and weekend afternoons.
What to write about
What are the most common questions you get asked? Many people find it easier to write or speak when they’re prompted to do so. Think about questions you’ve been asked in interviews or meetings, and answer them in a blog post. Think about great answers you’ve had to questions, and write it as a blog post. Browse Quora for questions on the topic you want to write about. Answer those questions as blog posts. By starting with a question, you also know there’s demand for that kind of content.
Even if it’s not earth-shatteringly unique content, write about what you know best. While you may take your skills for granted, someone with no experience in the field would probably find it extremely informative. Write How to [whatever you did today]. If you created a prospect list, write How to Create a Prospect List. If you cold-called, write How to Start a Sales Call.
Your opinion on controversial topics
Most people have topics, stories, or issues that they’re passionate about or have opinions on. Comment on a article you enjoyed reading recently. You could even re-write it in your own words. Read other blogs to get an idea for how others write.
How to actually start writing
Write what comes to mind
There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank page and a blinking cursor. Write down the first thoughts on the topic that come to mind. Write an outline and then fill in the blanks. Remove all filters to help you get started.
When you think of an idea for a post, write it immediately. Previously, when I would think of an idea, I would simply make a note of it on my phone or to-do list. This often resulted in forgetting what I actually wanted to write, or simply losing interest in the topic. Now when I think of an idea for a post, I write as much as I can of the post right away. It helps me to write while it’s top of mind, and reduces filtering.
Write the conclusion first
Write the conclusion, which is everything you want the reader to walk away with, in a short and straightforward way. This will help you determine what you need to include in the post. Sometimes the conclusion becomes my opening paragraph. Sometimes I break up the sentences in the conclusion across the post. Writing the conclusion first is a quick and easy way to get your main points down and focus the rest of the post.