August 11, 2010

8 tips on how to be a blogging machine



There are a lot of blogs and articles out there where you can read about how to come up with blog content and discipline yourself to write frequently. But how many of those tips are coming from people who have 1,000+ blog posts themselves?

As a way to celebrate my 1,000th post, I decided to put out the word to prolific bloggers to find out how they keep their blogs alive, fresh and fruitful. Whether your blog is a primary marketing tool for your business, or you just use it to share a topic you love, follow these suggestions to keep the blog posts coming!

1. Make a commitment and stick with it

For about a year, I committed to writing six days a week. It was HARD, but I mostly kept up. That year of consistent writing is what I believe propelled me from just having a link on the front page of Google to becoming #1 on Google for "public speaking coach."

I don't feel the need to write six days a week any more, but I don't feel productive unless I write at least three posts a week. What works for you? Find a groove and commit. You'll be more inclined to write even when you don't really feel like it.

Denise Wakeman said, "Stay focused on your core topic so you don't confuse your readers and they know what to expect from you. Figure out your optimal posting schedule, say 2 to 3 times per week and stick to it so you become a content machine and build a robust resource in your niche for which you become the go-to expert."

2. Be conscious of examples in your daily life

In my blog post about incorporating more analogies in your presentations, I mentioned steps that also apply to prolific blogging, including looking at the world as a giant library of resources.

Tara Burner said, "'Life" happens daily and there's something to learn from what we go through on a daily basis. It makes for quality consistent content."

Henk-Jan van der Klis said, "Actively seek inspiration, try new things, visit new places, test, look, listen and blog your findings. Don't forget to enjoy the writing process. :-)"

3. Save ideas in your drafts folder

Every time I think of a topic to write about, I save it -- even if it's just a sentence -- as a draft blog post. I set a scheduled publishing date a year in advance, which keeps the draft at the top of my list of blog posts.

Now, any time I open my blog dashboard, I have 10 or 15 or 20 drafts at the top of the page that I may or may not decide to blog on that day.

4. Don't be afraid to express controversial opinions

Maybe 20% of my posts might never have been written if I let concerns about my readers' potential disagreements prevent me from writing.

Erica Friedman said, "Have something unique to say and say it uniquely."

5. Use guest bloggers when necessary

Don't get me wrong; I want the voice of Speak Schmeak to be mine. However, there are times when guest bloggers come in handy.

For example, when I was dealing with my panic attacks at the beginning of last year (yes, I told people I was sick, which was partially true), I knew I couldn't keep up the blog to my usual degree, so I asked a few of my public speaking blogger friends to help out. It was a win-win situation, as I could take the time I needed to recover, while my pals were exposed to new readers, and my readers exposed to new ideas.

Vacations are a good time to bring in a guest blogger. And sometimes I just get too busy, so having a guest post or two in the wings is helpful if I think my posting frequency is going to drop off too much in a week.

6. That being said... Write even when you don't feel like it!

During the period of my worst anxiety last year, I still had speaking engagements and clients I had to see. And I still had to contribute to my blog or watch it fall by the wayside. Looking back at January and February 2009, I'm surprised at how much I was able to post myself, remembering how crummy I felt.

I didn't feel like writing, but I have a commitment to my readers, and I have a commitment to myself not to let this blog become a dusty ghost town. So I forced myself to write, even when I really didn't want to. Also, those draft posts came in handy!

Dave Saunders said, "Waiting for motivation before writing is a great way to write nothing at all. Inspiration follows action so write badly but write something."

7. Be creative about your content

Sometimes I find a video that represents a public speaking concept I want to convey. Sometimes I post song lyrics. Sometimes I post a commercial or a print ad.

Sometimes I post a quick 200 words, and sometimes it comes out to more like 900 words. I love using analogies, stories, examples from clients, links to other bloggers, and Twitter. How can you tell your story and get your core message across in creative and unusual ways?

Huub Koch said, "Very inspiring, for myself and others, is to blog about books. I discovered that most publishers are very much willing to send you a review copy if you ask them."

And finally...

8. Have a goal for your blog

If you don't know why you're writing, it might be harder to keep yourself motivated. What's your goal? Entertainment, education, making money, personal journaling, accountability? There are probably as many reasons for writing blogs as there are blogs, but knowing your specific reason and goals will help you keep your commitment to yourself and your readers.

John Ettorre said, "To keep it going every day for years, you have to choose a broad topic that resonates with you over time, maybe even that's central to your life's work. If you don't continue to care about the topic over time, or have a real passion that's obvious to readers, there's no chance they'll care."

I hope these tips help keep your mind fertile and your blog fruitful, especially in those times where you are least inclined to produce. Keep up the good work!

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10 comments. Please add yours! :

Denise Wakeman said...

Lisa, this is a really inspiring post. Thanks for being open and honest about your process and sharing tips from others. I'll be passing this along to my community of readers. And thanks for using my tip, too! ;-)

Blog on!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks, Denise, and thanks for sharing your tip. My readers can learn a lot from you about successful blogging!

Tara Burner said...

Excellent inspiring post Lisa. Glad I could help with my simple "life" tip :)
I'm sure many will be motivated from this post seeing that you've done it (and others have too) even while dealing with other situations that come up.
You rock!!!

Sue West said...

Perfect timing! My accountability partner and I were just discussing "how to keep it up," amidst all else there is to do in our businesses. Unique points you make.Thanks.

Fred E. Miller said...

Great Post, Lisa.

I really appreciate your honesty about your panic attacks. WOW, that story really connects with your audience emotionally.

Good information, also, about blogging. It is hard work!

One tip that works is to always carry a digital recorder to make notes about those blogging ideas when they occur.

Follow the mantra of Yoga - be always present and in the moment. When those potential blogs occur in real time - Capture them on that recorder.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Glad to help out, Sue!

Thanks for the tip, Fred. My favorite recording device is my phone! I either e-mail notes to myself from the phone, or use one of the note-taking applications. The quicker, the better!

TJ said...

Congrats on the 1000th posting. That is a real accomplishment!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thank you, TJ, and thank you for reading!

Kathy Reiffenstein said...

Lisa,

This is exactly the inspiration and practical advice I need...I'm feeling like I'm close to being out of ideas for posts because it seems like I've written on every topic there is about presentations. But you offer a great reminder that there are story ideas all around.

Best,
Kathy

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks, Kathy! Even when you've written about a topic, there are still so many different ways to talk about it that might work for different people. Not to mention the people who weren't reading your blog six months ago and are starting fresh!

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