Whether you are a marketer or a CEO, at some point in your career you are likely going to be tasked with writing a blog.
There is the researching, the coming up with an idea, and all those crazy grammar rules. It’s bad enough that people expect content from you, but they are expecting it quickly. How will you deliver? How will you find a way to show the world that you not only have something special to say, but that you actually know how to write?
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a stressful event. Mainly because of these tricks I can’t live without:
- Forget the introduction. Don’t even try to start with the introduction. It’s going to get changed anyway, so you might as well dive into the meat of the article. Personally I write intros last.
- Free write. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of ‘free writing’, it’s basically where you start writing and do not stop. You pay no attention to grammar, spelling, or anything else for that matter. You just keep going. Actually I am doing it right now. It’s literally how I am writing this paragraph. The plus side is that you end up with a lot to edit which is SO much easier than the opposite of not knowing where to start.
- Keep a list of ideas. I would love to say that I simply sit down with a great idea and go from there. But I don’t. I keep a list of ideas. Some of these are just titles, and some are half completed blog posts. My current list contains about 20 different ideas. It always gives me something to start with and for that I am thankful.
- Stop trying to be perfect. Similar to philosophy of free writing, don’t over think it. The best writing is the stuff that isn’t perfect. So what if your writing isn’t a candidate for a literary prize, the best writing is the writing that speaks from the heart.
- Find inspiration. I follow a lot of other bloggers. Sometimes for entertainment, but mostly for the inspiration. For example, the Bloggess was a huge inspiration to me. I highly recommend reading her blog because apart from it being extremely entertaining, it authentic. She isn’t trying to be anyone but herself.
- Only write what you know. Yes this is totally cliché. And it’s probably even a little frustrating to those of you who are tasked on what to write. But you still need to know your subject first. The more you know what you are writing about the faster you will write.
- Dumb it down. I don’t care who your audience is, no one wants to read heavy writing online. I always rely on tools to help simplify my writing, like Hemmingway App, or Pixelspoke’s readability tool. Aim for a grade level of about 8, and a reading ease of at least 70. If you can beat these numbers then great (This blog did!)
One final thought: writing is special. It’s one of the few things technology hasn’t automated. Yes, spare me the details on how tools like Evernote help, or how certain apps clean up grammar. What I really mean is that writing still maintains a certain degree of authenticity. Apps and technology play a role, but you still need to do the work yourself. And that legacy is timeless.
Now get to work!