Before You Sit Down To Blog
5 Things To Do Before You Write A Single Word
Everyone knows that they should start a blog. Whether your business is big or small, or you just have a website that needs more visability, publishing great content on a regular business will help bring more visitors to your site and expand your sales funnel.
But of course, not all blogs are created equal, and simply sitting down to write without clear goals can be a nightmarish process. In this post, we will tell you what you should be doing before you sit down to write.
Make An Editorial Calendar
One of the most helpful tasks you can do before you write anything is to create an editorial calendar. Simply laying out all of your content projects or campaign strategies on a calendar template can really ground you, and create a strong foundation for all your upcoming writing. There are even free tools out there to help you make one.
Seeing how content will be laid out by day, week or even month will help you determine your direction you want to go with your blog. Having ideas all in one place will help you focus as well and lay out your plan of attack.
An editorial calendar is also great if you aren’t sure of the ideas or content strategies you want to go after. Sitting down and taking the time to think about what you want to accomplish and the content ideas you want to go after or write can really help you.
Many times these are broad content goals like “SEO Tools Content” or “Affiliate Marketing Content” that serve as guides on what you want to write about for that time.
Creating an editorial calendar will help save you time in the long run and help you stay consistent.
Come Up With Ideas, Good or Bad!
The great thing about editorial calendars is they help you come up with ideas on what you are going to write about – sort of like a launching off point. Once you launch, I would recommend writing down as many ideas as you can, good or bad. This step is commonly called ideation!
If you don’t have an idea, it’s really hard to get anything written. Writing down as many ideas as you can will help get the creative juices flowing and get you to the best idea that you could possibly write.
When you are coming up with ideas there are definitely some things to consider.
- Who is your audience and how is this helping them?
Make sure the ideas that you are coming up with are appealing to your target audience and fits some need that your content can help solve. This will ultimately get you great interaction with your audience.
- How shareable is this idea?
This is important because you don’t want to take time and effort on something that will just fall flat. You want to come up with ideas that are awe-inspiring or have an emotional draw. Something that is unique that makes people what to share your content with other.
There are lots of ways to help you come up with topics to cover in your blog.
- Survey your readers & the field– This will increase the likelihood that others will find your blog by searching for this topic. And you’ll further establish yourself as an expert in the field.
- Read other Blogs in your industry– This can many time spark ideas for your own blog. See what has been covered, where the gaps are, and consider how your knowledge could add to the field.
- Take a great idea and make it even better– This is especially works with content that you have seen perform well. Well performing content means people are very interested in it and if you can curate it and make it into something even better, your audience will be interested in it even more.
- Look at trends– This can generally help spark an idea and relating trending topics to your content will really help get exposure to your content as well.
- Write ideas when you’re on the go– Many times ideas just come to you wherever you are.being out in a new a different scene can help spark ideas. Bring a notepad with you so you can always capture these ideas, or install a note taking app on your phone.
- Write down 10 ideas, then write down 20 more– Forcing your brain to think after it has hit a wall can help develop ideas even further. Ideas you wouldn’t have ever thought about. Writing down as many ideas as you can starts to build on itself and can really get the creative juices flowing.
Once you written down all of your ideas, highlight your favorites to narrow your list down.
Research Till The Cows Come Home
You’ve got your ideas. Now what?
How do you know which idea to go with or which is the best? Research!
Rank your ideas to see which one will be the best.
Ask Questions like:
How rankable would you be for this idea?
How much traffic does this idea get?
Does this idea meet my audience’s need?
Will this be easy to promote?
How Shareable Is this?
What Is The Amount Of Effort To Create This Post And Is It Worth It?
Do We Have Skills To Pull This Idea Off?
Once you have those questions answered and more, ideas will start to become more clear on which one is the best and which one you should go with.
You’ve got an idea but don’t know how to write it or in fact don’t know that much about it at all. Research!
It’s ok to not know everything. That is what is great about research and developing new ideas. Research online, research in books, research in newspapers, research as much as you can to develop your idea into the best and most thorough piece of content you can. The more work you put into get, the better it will become.
What Makes This Post Different?
Ok, you’ve got your great idea and you researched everything you can. What possibly more can you do? Lots!
If you really want to make this piece stand out and be very shareable and engaging, plan out what you want want to include in the piece to make sure those two things happen.
Plan Your Keywords– Make sure you are including the right keywords to help this piece rank.
Link– What links are you going to include in your post? Are there any influencers that would be great to link to in the piece that you can reach out to after it’s written? Are There other backlinks other blogs or business would appreciate and additionally do the same to you for your piece or your blog?
Build Community– Start engaging more in the blogging and forums where you think this piece will be best served. Once you make these connections before you write the piece, it will be easier to promote and get traction on.
Tweets– What lines, information or quotes should you be sure to include in your piece that would make great tweets for people to share. Be sure to include easy click to tweet boxes to help your piece go even further.
Sumo Content– Will people love this because it is a sumo sized explanation of a problem or an idea? Great, be sure to write it that way and plan it out before you write it.
Journalistic- Will people love this because it goes in depth into a topic that not many people know that much about and people will rally latch on to that. Again, be sure to plan this out before you write it and really capture the essence of the journalist experience in your post.
Helpful lists– Does your idea and blog post cover helpful tips or lists? Be sure to develop a summary that people can use to help summarize this for them and make it really shareable.
Graphics– People love graphics. Be sure to do some research and plan out what graphics that you will want to include in your post to make it engaging and sharable. Including never before seen interactive graphics in your post will really make it go far. Even making your whole post or idea into an infographic can be great too! Gifs are really popular too, thinking about including those in your post can be a great idea too.
Come Up With A Kick Butt Headline
One last thing before you start writing, come up with a kick butt headline! This may sound backwards but really the headline can set the tone and feel for your entire piece.
If you put some thought into what headline perfectly summarizes your piece, it will help focus you into how you want the piece to turn out.
Another important part of a headline is it is the first thing people will see when they interact with your piece and it’s the deciding factor on if they want to read it or not decide If you don’t have a catchy headline that make people want to find out more about what you’re writing about, you might as well not be writing at all.
“Five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy”
– DAVID OGILVY
That is what headlines are so important and should be focused on before you even start writing. This is what people will see on the SERP pages or see on their social media and that is why it is so go to focus on.
I personally use Coschedule to check all of my headline ideas before I start writing too.
Once you have been though all of those steps and thought about all of those things, you can start blogging! And not just blogging, rather making the best blog posts out there!