The Time is Now
I have a confession to make. I didn’t want to write this post. I have been putting it off again and again, conveniently moving it from my Google Calendar to the next day. I love writing, but sometimes I find it really hard to get started. I have had to also learn how to stop procrastinating and start writing.
To just put one word in front of the other. It’s like that age old saying – every 1,000 mile journey begins with a single step. Well, here you are beginning with a single character on your screen and then it leads to another. And then finally you have a whole sentence or (gasp) a paragraph.
In this day and age, you really need business blog. They are wonderful tools to show off your expertise in your specialty – whether it is reptile knowledge, plumbing techniques with 50 foot snakes (not the live ones) or tax return abilities. Blogging these days is way to increase your visibility and boost your SEO on your website.
You want people to find you, right? You want to be known as the industry expert. You can do this!
I help my clients think of blog topic ideas and actually compose the text for some of them. But if you want to do this yourself, the first step to blogging is to actually physically show up. This is the ultimate secret on how to stop procrastinating and start writing your business blog.
Let me show you step by step.
Step 1: Schedule a Time for Yourself to Write
I know this seems utterly simple, but it really works. Try putting a one hour (or even a half hour to begin) writing slot in your calendar and see what happens. You may want to choose to do this in the beginning of the day when your mind is fresh and vibrant. It’s also a known fact that doing something that you (ahem) don’t really want to do first thing is probably the best way to actually get it done.
It’s called eating the frogs. Or was that licking the frogs?
Anyhow, when you have it down in your calendar, you have to resolve yourself to stick with that time slot and make it happen. Treat it like any other task that you have to do for your business and once your time slot is over, you can treat yourself to something that you like to do – like collecting all your business receipts and organizing them (haha).
Step 2: Make a List of Blogging Topics
Take about ten minutes of your scheduled time to do a massive bullet point friendly list of all the potential topics swimming around in your head. You’ll be surprised how much you can easily come up with. It’s an even better exercise if you want to do this with a partner.
Think about your audience and what they might be interested in learning. Do you have a special tip that you want to share with them? Has a customer approached you recently with a certain question and you had to explain something to them? Think back about some recent interactions you had with clients and jot down some ideas. What did you say to them and how did you solve their problem?
It’s always a great thing in a blog to educate your client and share some of your natural expertise with them. You don’t want to give all your secrets away but you have to remember that sharing is caring in social media. The more you give, the more you will get…referrals that is! People will learn to trust you through the advice you offer.
Some other popular topics to write about are how you got started in your business, seasonal tips depending on your business, special promotions, a featured product and an interview with either an employee or a happy customer (with their permission of course).
Step 3: Pick a Topic and Free Write ‘Til the Cows Come Home
Okay, so you have a list of interesting topics. Now is the time for action! Here is the trick to writing. Don’t agonize too much over the words. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to edit your work. And don’t censor yourself either. Just start a fifteen minute timer and GO!
Once you start stringing some words together, you will magically have a sentence. If you are writing a how-to posts (which are wildly popular) think back about the steps that you took to solve the problem. Sometimes it is helpful to make a list post where you lay out the groundwork in a structured organized way. “First I did this and secondly, I tried this.”
After your first fifteen minutes are over, you may be surprised with yourself that you want to keep going. This is a good sign and I suggest that you go with it! In fact, today I blocked out exactly one hour of time in my schedule to finish this post and I am already at my thirty-minute mark. Woo-hoo!
Finally, you’ve learned to stop procrastinating and start writing – and the key is just do it.
Step 4: Set Your Writing Aside and Work On Something Else (Like Your Laundry)
I think that it’s a great idea to step away from your writing once the first draft is complete because you’ll have a different perspective when you are ready to edit it. Your mind will think of things you want to add and your subconscious will do its work. So find something else to keep you occupied. I’m sure that your task list will appreciate it.
Step 5: Begin to Edit Your Writing
Read over what you have written and try not to gag. This was your first draft and if you have some polishing up to do, well then now’s the time. It’s not the time to judge yourself or to start to tell yourself that you will never be a Pulitzer Prize winning writer. That’s actually not the point. You are trying to tell people about who you are, what makes you good at your work and why they should potentially hire you.
Be sure to use spell check and look over your grammar. But it’s always a good idea to read it slowly and even out loud in order to find the occasional mixed up “there” and “their.” (The other day I actually got “bare” and “bear” confused and even told a client to change it on his LinkedIn profile. So even the best of us make silly mistakes!)
Step 6: Add a Call to Action
You may want to tack on a few sentences at the end of each blog post telling your audience what they should do next. Do you want them to call you for a free consultation? Would you like them to sign up for your weekly newsletter? They may not do it right away, but the goal is to repeat this process until it goes deeper into their minds. And one day, they may take that action to reach out to you. But not surprisingly, you have to ask for it.
Step 7: Search for Cool Graphics
The final step is to give your blog post a boost with some cool graphics. You can easily search through www.freeimages.com or www.pexel.com for some really nice photographs which don’t need attribution. It’s not a good idea to just Google an image and use it without researching the original sources and giving it credit. You can get into some serious doo-doo that way. Look out for the Creative Commons License and read through the fine print to see what you can actually do.
You may also want to read my post about Canva to get some ideas on how to create nice graphics for your blog posts. Seriously, Canva is one of my staples right now and I use it all the time to make really beautiful images for my blog. In fact, check out the graphic I created just for this post! All done with Canva.
Congratulations! You Conquered Your Fear of Blogging
You made it to the end of the post. Congratulations on taking that next step towards the world of business blogging. Whether you do it once a month or once a week, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are sharing yourself and your business to the world and making an impact. And boy, you really do have a lot of good things to say. I can’t wait to read your blog posts.
Also, if you need some more help, please contact me (call to action time!) at email@example.com for a free 15 minute phone consultation. I would be happy to help you brainstorm more ways to make your business blog powerful and promote it effectively on social media.
Before I go, I will leave you with one question. How do you deal with procrastination when it comes to writing and blogging? Please leave your comments below.