This is the second article from the series “How To Build Reputation With A Blog”.
Why Writing Constantly On Your Blog?
The difference between a good article and a good blog is that in the first case people will remember the main idea from the article, while in the second they will remember the blog name. A good article is nothing but a good article. A good blog is much, much more than that: it’s a reputable brand.
It’s like the difference between a one night stand and a long time relationship. In a one night stand you can enjoy a little bit of satisfaction and novelty, but on the long run, a long term relationship tends to be more fulfilling. You get a much deeper connection and the benefits are there to stay long before the physical satisfaction died. A good article will leave your readers with a one night stand taste, while a good blog will create something more powerful. A relationship.
How To Write On Your Blog Constantly
Easier said than done, I agree. Many bloggers are starting full power, keeping the posts going on for a few months and then stop. Something happens. It may be boredom or a blogging burnout, fact is that very few bloggers are reaching the first year mark. I know, because I was there too. And from my own blogging experience I created a few scaffolds which helped me stay on track. I will soon reach 2 years of constantly writing on DragosRoua.com and here are some of the tools that helped me reach this milestone:
1. Create a Publishing Strategy and a Blogging Setup
One of the most basics activities in blogging is writing. What do you use for this? Are you using a text editor? Do you write directly in WordPress? In my case, after a few trials and (substantial) errors I created a blogging setup, using some GTD principles. It involves using a journaling software for Mac and a few tweaks. I use this for more than one and a half year now and I also teach this approach in my blogging workshops and one to one sessions. It just works, I guess.
2. Keep A Blog Posts Incubator Idea
Another popular reason for not writing constantly is the “writer block”. What should I write about today? I have no idea. My head is just a big empty balloon. Well, if you ever been there, you may want to create a blog posts ideas incubator. I had the best blog post ideas while driving and if I wouldn’t have this capture and store system, most of my blog posts would have never been written.
3 Monitor Your Writing Goals
It’s easy to get caught in some other things and forget how many articles you set up to write for the current week. Or for the current month. I know I forgot this quite often. So, I wrote my own little WordPress plugin to help me with that. In the process, a few features have been added: how many comments I would like to have and how many trackbacks. Go check out the Blog Audit WordPress Plugin, it’s totally free.
4 Write Series of Articles
Like this one, exactly. It will help you spread your writing for one-two weeks, while still forcing you to keep your focus on a very narrow topic. And that’s good. It’s good for you, as an exercise, but it’s also good for your readers who are expecting valuable information. At least for a reputable source like yourself, right? Series can expand into very interesting collaborative projects, like I did with this massive guest posting experiment (which, in my opinion, it was a total premiere in the blogging world).
5 Participate In Blogging Challenges
There are two types of blogging challenges (maybe there are more, but in my experience, those 2 are the most common). There is the head to head challenge, and then there are the collective projects.
In a head to head challenge you establish a common goal with one of your blogging friends. And then check out the progress. As easy as that. Writing in a challenge forces you to keep a certain pace and also keeps your focus on the quality. After all, you gotta be better than the other one, right? I did this at the beginning of this year, when I wrote 4 books in one month, and my blogging buddy was Steven Aitchison, for the Change Your Thoughts fame. I won the first month and lost the second one. But we both won a lot of experience and, most of all, we had a lot of fun in the process.
In a collective project, you start (or accept the invitation for) a collective ebook on a certain topic. Make the invitations and then wait for the posts. Or, if you’re invited, just deliver your post. At the end of this process, the ebook is released, usually for free. There are few variations about these collective projects, if you want to know more, have a look at my about page, you will find there all the collective projects I’ve been involved in.
That’s something you should be aware of. At some point, especially in the first year, you will eventually be hit by a blogging burnout. The words are not listening to you anymore, ideas seems dry and shallow, you can’t write more than 2 sentences in a run. And you can only have a run every half an hour. This is a blogging burnout. Just like every other burnout, the job burnout, the relationship burnout, it’s a signal that you reached the bottom of your resources.
What you can do when hit by a blogging burnout? First of all, acknowledge the fact that you’re having a blogging burnout and not something else. It’s easy to get caught in a mild depression, because you will feel the pressure of getting out there and you will realize that you can’t. Just relax and accept it. Let the cup fill back by itself.
Blogging burnouts are the best use case for keeping an idea incubator, or, even better, keeping some buffer posts handy. If you have 3-4 posts you wrote earlier but never published, just schedule them a week in advance and take a week off from blogging. The blog will still be genuinely updated, it will be your content and once back, you will respond to all the comments.
Another approach is to announce a guest posting opportunity. If you can’t write at all that doesn’t mean others can’t. Give them the opportunity to write on your blog and enjoy some time off. It’s called interaction and it’s good for you.
The Skill And The Habit
Just because you know how to write, how to express your best feelings, that doesn’t necessarily makes you blogger. You need much more than skill to be there. You need a habit. And habits are one of the most powerful weapons in our daily life. So powerful that we often overlook their power, especially when they are used backwards. And we only feel it when a bad habit kickback instantly.
Let me ask you a question: do you brush your teeth? Daily? Good. You have good teeth, then. Maybe nature gave you good teeth by design, but brushing them every day ensure the fact that they will stay like this. Now, do you write daily? No? Then you didn’t make a habit out of it. You may have some innate writing talent, just like you may have good teeth by birth, but if you don’t make a habit out of keeping your writing shiny and clean, every single day, you will lose it. Or, to be more clear, you will lose the benefits it may bring to your reputation.
Why Is This Important And What Are The Benefits
Writing about what you’re good at will gradually make you become better at it. It will refine your expertise. Your know-how and experience will grow just by doing it. You will be forced to find new ways of expressing what you want and that will refine your creative skills tremendously.
As for the “constantly” part, that will make your blog a powerful reference in your reader’s heads. Suppose you’re writing about minimalism. And your name is Leo Babauta. Now, if you write constantly for more than 2 years, every time somebody on this planet will think about minimalism, will be drawn to your blog. Being constant has this incredible power of building mental links which will work on auto-pilot at some point.
Yes, it works exactly like this.