Image Credit: Show My Result
Everyone knows that at the heart of a great blog is great content. No matter how much social media and promoting you do, at the end of the day, it’s the insight and ideas that you present that get your readers coming back.
Coming up with great content is easier said than done. Coming up with great content quickly is even more difficult. If you’re staring at a blank word document, constantly getting distracted by the Internet, micromanaging your sentences and words, and fluffing up your content with unnecessary bullet points, headings, images, and links, then you’re probably doing something wrong.
Don’t worry, though. These steps can help you break your habits and get you back on track with your awesome blog.
1. The One Shining Idea
Mental chain reactions happen all the time. We make connections, gather new insights, from a single “aha!” moment. Coming up with one idea can get you going with several others. It’s a pretty messy, chaotic process, though. What you have to do is stay organized while you’re brainstorming. Your connections, if you come up with a great idea, will be flying out of your head at light speed. Get a pen and some paper ready, or get your word document open. Jot down every little connection, every little insight you make. I really mean every little detail, no matter how stupid it initially sounds.
Now that you’re done with brainstorming, you can look over what you’ve written. Anything that’s currently workable? Anything that’s so exciting you can’t wait to start? Any that can produce a series of helpful posts? Organize and categorize your ideas and get started.
2. The Structure Plan
Okay. So you got a great idea now, but great ideas must be well-executed to truly be “great.” Plan ahead; it shouldn’t take more than five to ten minutes. If you go with the templatic “10 ways to…” or “Top 20…” then it’s pretty easy. Just list out the subheader for each of the numbered steps. It’s simple, but definitely worth your time. Underneath each subheader, if you think it’s necessary, add a bullet point or little note to keep in mind when you actually start to write it out.
If your idea isn’t templatic, it still should be relatively easy to structure your ideas. An introduction, the body, and conclusion should be there. Organize the content of your body into categories that work well as subheadings.
These organizing tips, of course, are only how I go about it. If you like writing it out and organizing later, you’re more than free to do that. Just be sure that your method is producing results.
Now it’s time to write it. You got the idea, you got the plan. But look! Your crush just messaged you! Your best friend tagged you in a photo! Your not-so-close friend is bragging about his or her amazing vacation!
Close those tabs! You don’t want social media distracting you as you write. True, maybe distractions give you new ideas to add to your content, but it’s rare and more than likely, it’s toxic and unrelated to your actual plan. You need to find the place and time when you are least likely to get distracted by what your friends are doing or saying. That way, you’re sure that you’re producing the writing you want.
4. Revision is Your Friend
Editing while you’re writing is toxic too. Maybe you’re not distracted by social media, but you’re distracted by your own perfectionist self. Typos, awkward wordings, unfitting flow, etc. are definitely no-nos in writing, but that doesn’t mean you should stop and fix as soon as you notice it.
Revising is probably your best friend, perfectionists. Everyone knows it’s revision that is at the heart of great writing. A terrible first draft can turn into gold if you just revise. Give yourself some time, an hour or two, to clear your head, and then look back at what you’ve written with a fresh perspective. You’ll likely notice issues that you never would have with your tunnel vision micromanaging.
Constantly read over your writing, through different lenses each time. Maybe the first time is just to check the flow and structure. The second is just to correct grammar and spelling. The third simple to verify content authenticity. Don’t try to fix it all at once.
5. Formatting is Only Decorative
Your writing is now satisfactory, but everyone knows words alone won’t get people interested. Good thing this is a quick and easy fix. Add headings, subheadings, bolded text, etc. to make the text itself look more appealing. Then add your links, images, thumbnails. It’ll add some nice flare to your awesome content. But don’t overdo it and shift the attention away from the words themselves.
The first step is the hardest and most crucial. Finding the time when you come up with the most ideas is a must. Once that’s done, you just need to fix some bad habits — distractions, micromanaging, overformatting. You’re on your way to posting some great stuff.