How’s your blog doing?
Remember in high school when the cheerleaders would spell the letters out loud for the word CONFIDENCE to the crowd? They’d yell “C-O-N … F-I-D … C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-C-Eeeeeeee!” The cheerleaders wanted people in the stands to join in the chant and encourage their team to victory.
For blogging, I think the word we need to pay attention to is C-O-N-S-I-S-T-E-N-C-Y.
If your company has a blog, and you’re not publishing consistently, then you’re probably:
- Losing followers.
- Missing new leads.
- Losing online authority.
- And your website may be penalized by search engines, including Google, for the lack of fresh content.
Maybe you’re feeling a little regret. A year is almost done and your company has missed the lead generation gusto a regularly published blog can bring.
Do you want a different result next year?
Here are three practical tips to help you establish a blogging habit. Once you tackle this, you’ll feel good about yourself and your company will increase followers, leads, online authority, and Google will love your website.
1. Start Small and Celebrate Small Wins
If you perceive blogging as hard, then you’re less likely to blog regularly, right? No surprise. So how do you make blogging easier? One way is to create small wins.
In the chapter on Progress in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown, wrote about research showing the #1 human motivator is progress. Why?
“Because a small, concrete win creates momentum, and affirms our faith in our further success.” Greg McKeown
Changing my eating habits to eat more fruits and vegetables, and less high-caloric snacks, works similarly. Think about this. What requires less effort: grab a handful of chips on the shelf that’s at eye-level or open the door to the fridge, rummage through the vegetable drawer, take out the carrots, wash, peel and chop them, and put them on a plate? Enjoying chips is an easier option. I mean, I’m hungry now. Processed food is appealing, in part, because the process is done for you. The food is ready to eat. So fast.
So how do I overcome this weakness?
I prepare the carrots the night before. When the urge to snack strikes, I have a convenient, healthy choice. The carrots are ready to eat. I simply open the refrigerator door, get the carrots and yummy vegetable dip.
And each time I choose a healthy fruit or vegetable, I’m more likely to do so in the future.
McKeown has kept a journal for over ten years and rarely misses a day. Many people start a journal, but fizzle out after a few days. How was he able to stick with it? He uses the “less but better” principle to establish the habit. He writes less than he feels like writing. He recommends people set a lower expectation and restrain from writing more until daily journaling becomes a habit.
You could use the same approach in your blog. Write less than you feel like writing, but start earlier. You could try starting a month before it’s due, using the “early and small” approach. Writing 100 words a day will get you to the finish line of 1,000 words in ten business days.
“Any piker can be paranoid when up against a deadline. It takes a true professional to be paranoid at the start of the writing process.” Josh Bernoff, author of Writing Without Bullshit
2. Reinforce by Using the Mark an ‘X’ Calendar Method
I learned another approach to establishing a habit by reading Pete OC’s guest post on Copy Hackers, “These techniques make it 10x easier to beat Writer’s Block.”
Post a monthly or annual calendar on the wall in your office. Mark a big red ‘X’ for every day you complete a writing session. According to Pete OC, Jerry Seinfeld used this method to help build a habit of writing jokes continually. He would mark his calendar for every day he wrote a joke, and then try not to break the chain. It looks like this:
These techniques make it 10x easier to beat Writer’s Block
A year ago, I used this technique to stick to my physical therapy regimen. Sometimes, the calendar was the only way to motivate myself to begin my exercises, and I usually found once I got started, I followed through the routine.
3. Set Blog Publishing Appointments for the Year
Consistently posting a blog sometimes wins or loses at the planning stage. Having topics ready to go will help you maintain progress.
Schedule the publishing of your posts with an editorial calendar. Plan what topics you will write about for the next 12 months. You’re more likely to publish on-time because you’ve set an appointment, much like scheduling a vacation or a three-day weekend trip. The calendar will hold you more accountable than willpower or inspiration ever will.
Neil Patel, co-founder of Neil Patel, recommends using a Google spreadsheet and Google calendar because the simpler the calendar, the easier the process is to follow.
He says this approach will help you blog consistently.
“Editorial calendars are a quick fix for a blogger’s procrastination.” Neil Patel
What I’ve experienced in my own blog is how the topic will be top of mind as I read an article or attend a seminar. I’m thinking about what I’ll write weeks before the deadline. Since a large chunk of time in writing is researching and thinking, you too can do this heavy lifting in advance.
If you prefer a template, or have multiple writers, here’s one from the Content Marketing Institute. It’s also handy to have all the editorial information in one document. I modified this multi-tabbed spreadsheet for a client recently and found it useful.
Content Marketing Institute’s Editorial Calendar Tools and Templates
Click here to download your own copy, which you can customize to your company’s specific content needs (go to “File > Download As >” and select the format you would like).
What useful tip do you have to establish a good habit? Tell me what you did and how it’s worked for you.
Image by Ryan McGuire at https://gratisography.com.