Your middle name isn't "Consistency". But you're working on it.
Your audience can count on you to provide strong content on a semi-regular basis, as is. But you want to take that "semi-", wipe it off the map and establish yourself as a trustworthy, steady provider of knowledge.
Consistency is a massive contributor to your success online. And off.
So, how can you be consistent while creating delicious, easily digested content at the same time?
Make A Plan
Research Everything, Even When You're An Expert
Follow An Outline
Rinse And Repeat, Everyday
Learn The Basics To Writing Well
Plus a bonus tip you won't want to miss.
Writing consistently doesn't have to be some over-complicated process.
With the following key factors, you can strengthen your skills and create a roadmap to your best content format.
Because, let's face it, every solopreneur needs to write. If you can't afford a copywriter, you want to sell more, build more trust and authority, or you're a DIY-er, then this post is for you.
1. Make A Plan
As nice as it would be to churn out amazing content day in and day out without any forethought… actually no. I don’t think that’d be very amazing.
It’d be boring. And pretty darned unprofessional.
Your blog is your voice online.
Why should anyone listen to you if you don’t take it seriously?
So, creating a content plan for your blog posts is crucial. You can plan for up to a year or longer. And, oddly enough, I created a blog post all about this right here.
For now, imagine having every piece of content you’ll create for an entire year (or longer) mapped out so you’re never guessing what to do next.
Tools that help you maintain a thorough content plan balance are:
2. Research Everything (Even When You're An Expert)
As much as this should be a given, there’s plenty of content out there making claims the author simply won’t (or can’t) back.
Think of your blog in terms of a popular magazine or newspaper.
It’s of the utmost importance that what you state in your blog is factual.
If you’re making conversation or starting a discussion based on your opinion, you should always make that known as opposed to making statements fashioned in an official context.
Like, say, you make this statement: 87% of blog posts written are opinion-based.
Okay... So, where's the credit to the source of that research?
When you're writing the first draft of anything, concerning yourself with these details will only slow and disrupt the process.
You should aim to write out your blog posts in one sitting. With that said, stopping to check facts and get sources, links, quotes, and more will turn a 30-minute first draft into an 8-hour workday.
So, when writing your first draft, include notes for yourself to go back and add those important factors. For example, in your first draft you can pop in notes like:
[add an expert quote]
[add screenshot of data/metrics]
Because, let’s face it, we don’t know everything.
Your audience will trust you more if you own that instead of trying to be the one-stop-shop for anything and everything.
3. Follow An Outline
Outlines don’t have to be restrictive.
Some authors, like Dennis Lehane whom wrote Mystic River and Gone, Baby, Gone goes into writing a book with only 3 or 4 plot points planned out.
A perfect example that your outline doesn't have to be a complex undertaking of constraint. And that's for a whole darned book, not a 1,500+ word blog post.
Back in 2005, I took a “Writer’s In Paradise” Course at Eckerd College with Dennis, and he talked about writing Shutter Island.
A book completely opposite his normal style, he wrote around a 300-page outline for it. Yes, the outline’s length exceeded the novel.
The point I’m making here is:
You can have a thorough, well-defined outline, or a brief topic points and takeaways summary.
Just make sure you’ve got research (and links) to back claims, and that you’re not running around in circles with your words.
You want your readers to understand you. Not be confused by the time they’ve finished.
Trust me, I'm the "Queen of Verbal Rabbit Holes".
I have to plan and edit the crap out of every single blog post. Tangents aren't easy to follow in any sense. *Ahem, Sara*
So, make sure you have a Point-A and Point-B to every post. And get your reader to Point-B on as clear and concise a path as possible.
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4. Rinse And Repeat, Every Day
Writing isn’t just something you do a couple days before you need a blog post published.
Writing is an art. A skill. A talent you need to continually build upon if you ever plan to get your blog anywhere.
If you’re at your best in front of a camera, consider video blogging (vlogging) instead. Or, if you prefer to talk, try a podcast.
You have to go with the form of content that suits you and your style best.
If you know your writing sucks, then video or podcasting would be a better fit.
Either way, whatever you choose, you should get in the habit of practicing it every day.
Even if you start at writing 200 words a day for a week, you created a good blog post in 5 to 7 days there. Then, the following week, shoot for 300 words per day. And up and up.
I tried, early on, to get in the habit of writing 1,000 words each day. Even if it was 200 words to a journal entry and 800 words to a blog post—it all contributes to honing a skill.
A skill that has tripled my business’ growth in less than 6 months.
This is something you need to do to form a positive habit around, otherwise your content will flounder.
Start small and realistic, and work your way up to where you need to be every day.
Work your way up to where your end-goal lies.
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5. Learn the basics to writing well
There’s a huge difference between writing a blog post and writing a book.
Storytelling and artistry in a blog post doesn’t mean the use of fancy words that most people don’t understand.
Writing for the Internet needs to be simple, clear, and direct.
One example: instead of using a phrase like “seek to attain”, go with “chase” for ease on your reader.
Most readers don't want to put a ton of brainpower into reading a blog post. However, an E-Book or a novel could use a bit more intellectual stimulation.
Write for the busy reader whom doesn’t have time to sit and fumble with a word or ponder a deep concept with no resolution.
The next best piece of advice I can give you is to know who your audience is.
BONUS TIP: Lead your writing with examples. Lots of examples.
Use images, text, quotes, links—however you see fit to explain exactly what it is that you’re trying to say.
My favorite blogger on writing is Henneke Duistermaat.
As a blogger with a novel-style writing background, it was tough for me to go from complex word vomit to simplified, web-friendly text.
Henneke’s blog and interviews helped me to refine my content and un-complicate my writing style.
But, as with everything, writing will always be a work in progress.
Some may tell you something totally different.
Some may say that the shorter the blog post the better.
Some may say that “dumbing down your prose will over-broaden your niche”.
I believe that, deep down, you know what’s best for your content. You just need a little guidance to truly understand before you can take your blog to the next level.
I get that.
A couple posts back I wrote about email marketing and told you to throw out my teachings and those from others. And go with how other people’s emails make you feel.
There’s a tiny sliver (or mammoth piece) of yourself in your target reader.
If you don’t like something, it’s likely your reader won’t either.
So, you can throw out every piece of advice I gave to you in this post, too. If you don’t want to write simply, then don’t.
But one thing’s for certain:
If you want to take your blog anywhere, then you need to form strong planning and writing habits to light the way.
Start with a plan.
Make your life and your business simpler by mapping out your content today.
Jot down your important projects over the next 12 months. Then your important events or personal appointments.
Once you’ve got those down, you can start brainstorming your blog posts or theme ideas, or go with your rolling list of topics and start organizing them to support those projects throughout the year.
For more details, check out: How To Create An Impenetrable Blog Content Plan + Strategy In 90 Minutes (Videos + PDFs)