In the content-based model, blogging is an essential element of what you do. Blogging is a way to deliver quality content, help potential clients to “pre-qualify” themselves and really get a sense of what you’re about (anyone who is a good fit for you won’t hang around you for too long if they don’t resonate with what you blog about), and it can become a great way to generate passive income.
People generally fall into one of two camps when it comes to blogging approaches.
Approach #1 = Blog when I feel like it, write about what I feel like writing about.
Approach #2 = Be strategic about how I blog, when I blog, and what I write about.
So what’s the alternative? Approach #3: The hybrid approach of strategically blogging when you feel like it and writing about what you feel like writing about.
First, I’ll talk about the problems inherent in the first two approaches, and then I’ll outline how you can be an organized blogger by using Approach #3.
Approach #1 has limitations, namely that if you aren’t someone who is driven to write a lot, you might not feel like blogging a lot. When you don’t feel like blogging a lot, you have less content to promote, less to share on social media, and generally you’re driving less traffic. If you’re blogging about anything and everything, with no focus, your audience might not have a reason to continue showing up.
Sometimes I hear about so-and-so blogger’s rejection of setting any guidelines for themselves around blogging, and I think, “Sounds nice. Wouldn’t work for me.”
I need some kind of rudder to guide this ship. It helps me enormously to have a plan of some kind.
But what I don’t need–and what I imagine you don’t need!–is too much of Approach #2, which is ridiculously rigid. In that model, everything becomes about strategy and doing things in a certain way, following “rules.” It sucks all the joy out of creating content or sharing your message.
The Editorial Calendar
I like to think of the hybrid approach as taking the best from both worlds. There’s a way to create some kind of structure while also creating/allowing for the flow.
It looks something like this:
- Define the goals or objectives for your business for the next three months. What is it that you specifically would like to see happening? Try to be as focused and specific around one top goal as you possibly can. Example: to increase the number of clients you’re taking on, or to launch a new e-book.
- What are the steps to getting to that goal? Map out everything that you need to do in order to see that happen. For example, if I were wanting to increase the number of clients I were working with, I’d put everything on this list from re-visiting my “sales pages” for potential clients, to interviewing other people who would be willing to promote my site when the interview goes live.
- As it pertains to blogging, write out a list of topics that your audience needs to know more about. How can you be of service to them? How can you help them? If you don’t feel you have a clearly defined audience, yet, think about your own journey. What are the top 10 life lessons you’ve learned? Turn those into 10 different blog topics.
- Find a calendar (digital or otherwise) and print out three months’ worth of blank calendars. Use a pencil to start slotting in each blog post. If you are interviewing someone else, definitely plan that far, far in advance. If you’re only giving 2 weeks of notice for interview requests, someone might have to say “no” not because they don’t want to, but because they just don’t have the time.
Now, right about now, this idea of an editorial calendar might sound really, really, really rigid.
Here’s the part where things loosen up: You don’t necessarily stick to it like white on rice.
Ease and Flow
People ask me how it is that I manage to create a prolific amount of content. Answers range from simply being lucky, to keeping creative flow open, to enjoying writing.
But it’s true: Once or twice a year, I go through a few weeks of intense writer’s block. It’s incredibly difficult to write as much or as often as I would like at those times.
How do I deal with it? Exactly what you’re reading about, above. I create an editorial calendar to start generating ideas. Then I sit down and start to write.
If the writing doesn’t flow, I get up and go. Off to get a soy latte, off to take a walk, off to the gym for a swim, off to read a book or watch trashy television–I don’t force things.
When the writing is ready to flow again, through using an editorial calendar I bypass the 20 minutes of sitting down and going, “Wait, what am I going to write about?”
Quality and Consistency
Another way that bloggers can seem as if they get a ton of writing done? Working in chunks and scheduling out the pieces.
Instead of sitting down once a day and scratching your head to ask what you could write about for a blog post, write several pieces at a time when everything is flowing…and then schedule them out.
Sometimes, I see entrepreneurs go through a writing binge – they’ll have a lot of blog posts for several weeks, and then it dries up again. They’re so excited and inspired that they’re hitting publish almost as soon as it comes off of the “press,” so to speak.
Instead of posting as it comes, strategically aim for consistency. Create a “buffer zone” for busy times by scheduling things out. If you have five blog posts, don’t think, “Great! I have blog posts for every day this week!” Moreso, think, “I have two blog posts for this week, two for the week after, and one for three weeks from now.”
Your audience will appreciate your quality content followed by your consistency more than they will appreciate quantity (and most people are too overwhelmed to deal with a lot of quantity, anyway!).
The Middle Ground
What you’re aiming for in all of this is a middle ground–a way to create a plan that guides you, without attaching to the plan to the point where running your blog feels rote and mechanical. Rather than being 1-2-3 easy steps, this is an ever-evolving process that will change as you change and as your business changes. But if you want to create a lot of content, and create it consistently, it’s good to have some way of at least getting started and having a vision for what’s to come.