Is Stress Free Blogging Possible?

I am going to tell you a little secret.  Blogging can really stink and could turn into something you really hate.   I can just see some of you scratching your heads.  I did a teaching on blogging    and recently did an article on Blogging versus a Learning Center where I stress the importance of blogging.  So why would I make such contradictory statement?

You hit the publish button and it starts all over again…and again…and again.

Ever watch the movie GroundHog Day?  It can feel just like that.

Photo Credit: Babble.com

Photo Credit: Babble.com

I have been there and felt that way at times and when I recently started working a full time position with a Customer Service Company, I was afraid I would feel that way again.

Fortunately, I learned a few secrets from some of the trainings I have been to, and I want to share those with you.

Before we get to Getting Started

Remember all those things you learned in grade and high school about outlining your story?  Those teachers were so right.  You want to have a general idea of how you are going to set up that blog- and each and every blog to follow.  A good idea might be to use a template that allows you to just drop in the necessary information.  There are multiple ideas that you can choose from here.      

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Create a checklist of sorts of those things that will make your blog post engaging as well as uniform that help to set you apart from others.  I am big on lists, but I am an even bigger fan of crossing things off my list.  If you can relate, this is perfect for you.  Want to see my list?

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Rinse and Repeat.  By documenting the steps you use to write your blog post, the idea, the research and the actual writing, and by breaking it all down into smaller components, you now have a formula that will work each and every time.

Now it is time for the fun

Step 1:Find an idea and come up with a headline

Knowing what you want to write  when you are blogging can stress you out if you leave it to the last minute.

I have learned the best thing to do is to have a list of ideas and then pull from them as needed.  I have them all on a spreadsheet and some are actual outlines I keep in a file folder.  I also keep interesting articles in my OneNote and have sub-sections such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook Advertising, Twitter, email marketing, sales, sales tips, content and so much more.

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I have learned to listen to each and every training and webinar with the mindset of having to teach the subject myself.  That has trained me to take great outline notes, and I have often used some of those notes for blog articles.  I have also learned to listen to those teachings keeping my keywords for my website in mind. I like to keep questions in mind, like:  How can I apply this to my business and to those that read my blog?  How can I adapt this teaching to complement what I am already saying or to improve upon what I am already saying?  Having this type of mindset will help with that writing process.

Now it is time to create a great headline.  There are so many tools available. One is from CoSchedule and another is from Advanced Marketing Institute.

Step 2:  Research

Now you have to validate your idea or topic for your blog.  Head on over to Google and type in your topic:

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Needless to say: click on any article that shows up in the first two pages of your search. It is always a great idea to pick someone you already know and respect.

Paste those links into your appendix.  You do not have to read these right now, just pick the ones you know would be reputable.  This is a no brainer and really should not take much longer than 5-10 minutes

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Step 3:  Create a structure and fill it up with content

Now is when you draw inspiration from the best content of your chosen topic on your blog article.

You are literally reading these articles that you just saved, with pen and notepad in hand, taking down key points, themes and structures you see.  Especially note the ones that are repeating themselves.

Now is the time to replace those generic headings in your writing template with your new structure.

Fill in the correct areas with the best content you have found.

Using a different font or color for each source is a great way to go

Once again, this is really not a long process.

Step 4: Write

Now it is time to shut off the Facebook alerts or better yet, just shut off all distractions and just write your blog article.

Personally I have learned I put out my best blog articles around 3 AM on a Saturday morning.  There is nothing on the television, I have just put in my forty and now my mind is totally focused on my business.  The blog is foremost on my mind as I like to get it out once a week, on Mondays.  For me this means having it written, edited, click to tweet links, photos, and any images completed by no later than Sunday at 4:00.

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I have learned that the key is to start writing.  No distractions.  This is not the time to worry about perfect grammar or spelling.  Just write and put down your thoughts on the topic.  You can edit and re-word later. Here is the rough draft of this blog.  Note all the mistakes:

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Keep working until you are done.  If you have to work in small spurts, set chosen amounts of time and do not allow those distractions.

Be careful not to plagiarize, you are reading other’s inspirations, and you have read this to be inspired and to help you in your writing process, not to replace your writing process.

Step 5:  Fine Tune It

You have to read that blog post from beginning to end.  Look for those grammar mistakes and the spelling mistakes.  Look for those red and green lines that show up as you type and correct those mistakes first.

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Add those links that you may have mentioned.  I love to share images to help break things up a bit.

I like to have someone double check behind me.  (Unfortunately I have learned I can make horrible mistakes and I would rather someone close to me see them than someone else tell me about them when they are on my site)

Use screenshots to add to your content.  I personally love Jing,  but others like Skitch

Take advantage of the arrows, boxes and annotations that you can add.

Step 6:  SEO

This is a step that many like to forget because it can seem complicated.

Pick the blog category, try and link your blog to other articles you have already created (this helps with your SEO for both posts)

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Optimize your post for SEO using something like WordPress SEO by Yoast

Yoast will tell you where to include keywords, how many, and help make your article look good for the search engines.

HIT PUBLISH…It’s time!

Your Turn: What do you do to keep blog writing from being stressful?  Your sharing could help someone else!

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