A great blog writer doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s a slow accumulation of skills and learning to get to a place where you can consistently create and publish insightful content which ranks well for key SEO terms, and has brands fighting to work with you and audiences coming back for more.
Comments can also be key, alongside understanding your blog analytics, to understand what is working well and what could be improved upon. In short, your blogging journey should be continuously evolving over time – responding to things that you learn and also shifts in the wider world.
So, when things are busy, how do you keep your blogging skills fresh?
Seek Inspiring Chaos
Hit a little bit of an inspirational roadblock? It happens to all of us from time to time, but if it’s stopping you producing the content you need to, you can borrow a few techniques from creative writing workshops to get you going. Start by freeform writing – where you begin to type a general stream of consciousness – any thoughts that pop into your head. Don’t focus on what those words are, just concentrate on the process of writing and translating thoughts and feelings into words on the page.
From there, you’ll probably find one of two things. Either the words will crystallize into an idea that you can develop for a post. Or they won’t – but you will find that you’ve switched on the part of your brain that writes, and you can then apply this to a topic of your choice. The brain is a muscle, so if you’re using yours to write creatively then try to get into the habit of using it every day, if only for fifteen minutes or so.
Keep On Learning
Part of keeping our brains engaged is actively making an effort to learn new things. They don’t have to be connected to the topic of your blog necessarily – everything you learn inspires new ideas, broadens your horizons, and keeps your grey matter engaged and forming new connections. But dedicating time to learning doesn’t have to mean becoming a full time student again.
With distance learning from places like Bradley University, you can opt to fit studying something new around your life using online lectures, tutorials and assessments. Learning doesn’t have to be formalized either. Just making a commitment to read more can be transformative. Try dedicating half an hour in the evening right before bed to a chapter of something rather than another episode on Netflix. These can be general fiction books, or books about blogging to give you a boost.
There are also lots of helpful podcasts on creative writing that you can listen to on the go – meaning you can make your daily commute or housework time good for your mind as well.
Schedule In Enough Time
Finding time for blogging can be hard, especially if you already work another job. You want your posts to improve, but frequently, you end up just dashing off something quickly and hitting publish in a hurry. A better strategy is to focus on quality over quantity. Take the time to produce some solid, evergreen content that will act as a pillar page on your blog, drawing people to your work and getting your search engine rankings up.
Think about the topics that you want to be known for, or that your audience is especially interested in. Do some keyword research with a tool like SEMRush to understand what topics and phrases people are searching for around that. And then schedule in time to properly work on your post. This has three phases – ideas generation, development time, and editing.
All three parts are equally important. As soon as you have some ideas, you will need time to write the articles based around the keywords you’ve found. It’s then a good idea to leave the piece for a while and come back to it later to do the editing work. You’ll see it with fresh eyes and be able to edit out parts that aren’t working when you feel more objective.
Need help creating a content calendar? Check out my e-book here.
Remember That Less Is More
When you create something, often the editing process is the hardest part. You feel like you’ve put blood, sweat and tears into a piece, and cutting any of it out can be difficult. But good editing is definitely as important as good content. You can use the Hemingway app to give your work a readability score – remember that even academic audiences don’t necessarily enjoy or respond well to overly complicated content. Try not to cram your piece with too many adjectives or laboured metaphors. Keeping it short, sweet and simple will almost always play better.
The blogging world is in a constant state of change. Keeping up with new applications and skills is key to keeping your blog fresh and relevant. I know it is super easy to get lax the longer you blog but if you want your blog to be successful and bring in an income for years to come, you must go with the flow and always keep expanding your knowledge.