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How to Write Blog Posts When You Hate It

“How to Write Blog Posts When You Hate It” is part of a series. Other installments include Social Media Posts, Search Engine OptimizationEmail Newsletters and About Me pages.

A computer screen showing healthy site traffic, probably thanks to writing blog posts.

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Blogs are kind of awesome. Like Wikipedia, they’re a huge source of detailed, personal knowledge covering every topic you can think of–from cooking to obscure medical conditions to dwindling cultural practices.

I read recently that the greatest source of information to historians is often just the daily journals normal people keep. Because they give insight into things that other people wouldn’t think to write down–the daily habits and practices that we take for granted as being common knowledge, which is easily lost when history moves on.

Think about it: Already the younger generations don’t need to know how to dial a rotary phone, or how to fix a cassette tape that needs rewinding. My parents grew up on a party line with a phone number that had letters in it–now, you don’t even need to know a person’s phone number to contact them immediately. Things change, fast. 

Blog Posts are Democratic (or Socialist?)

Which is why blogs can be an incredible source of information. They’re not just a way to share insight and expertise between people freely, they’re also a record of the way things were at a specific point in time. All of this to say that I hope you can see how blogs are a little bit magical. 

Because I don’t blame you if you hate writing them. Sitting down to a blank page sucks. Battling the critical voice in your head sucks. And figuring out the mechanics of blogging platforms and endless optimizations and tweaks sucks. 

But what you have to say? That’s important. So here are some ways to make you hate writing blogs a little less: 

1. To write good blog posts, go with the flow.

You don’t need to blog about a topic nobody’s covered for it to be valuable. Creativity is awesome; twisting yourself into knots trying to be original isn’t. And that’s because your insight is valuable enough as it is.

Ten different people could attend the same event and write about it, and you’d get ten different perspectives, with various insights, criticisms, praise and questions. Your value is in how you see the world. Not in contorting yourself to try to be different.

Case in point: the last time you looked up a recipe for a specific dish, how many listings did you browse before you chose one? You probably didn’t just click on the top result and make that, did you?

No, because everyone’s recipes are a little different. I recently made a Thai chicken curry, and probably rifled through at least half a dozen recipes before I found one that 1) fit the ingredients I had on hand and 2) looked like the dish I envisioned making.

No matter what you’re writing about, just share your own experience and thoughts. Take the pressure off yourself and lean into authenticity. Write how you talk. Write what you know. Tell us how you disagree with other opinions about the topic, or how you found something out the hard way. You’re enough.

2. When in doubt: research your blog posts.

There are a few different approaches to coming up with blog topics. You might just write whatever inspires you. Or maybe you look at what other similar bloggers are writing about and use that as a jumping-off point. You might see which blogs of yours perform the best and create more content along those lines. Whatever works for you is valid.

But if you’re not sure where to start, you can also do some solid keyword research to help inform your topics. (This ties into search engine optimization, so be sure to read my blog about SEO, as well.)

Google Keyword Planner is a free service where you can see which keywords and keyword phrases get the most monthly hits, whether they’re trending up or down and how competitive they are. Targeting low-competition keywords means you have a better shot at turning up on the front page of those search results, even if they get lower monthly traffic. 

Other Free Keyword Research Tools:
 

3. For better blog posts, break things way, way down.

Just like I mentioned in my blog about social media posts, it’s pretty common to come up with a blog topic idea that’s too big. For example, when I started writing the blogs in this series, I thought it would be one blog. And then I started writing – and realized it was going to be a blog way over 5000 words. Uhh…no, bitch, that’s FIVE BLOGS. (Bitch in this case is me. My self-care voice is sassy sometimes.)

Ask yourself, is this one blog? Or should it be two blog posts—or ten?

And you know what? Breaking the topics into five different posts actually loosened some things up for me. Where I had been sort of dreading writing because it felt overwhelming, I now had five shorter assignments with a specific focus. I also increased my output 500%, because instead of having one BEHEMOTH blog post, I now have five new pages to promote, to get ranked on Google, to link to. All those actions are valuable in terms of search engine and site optimization.

Plus, instead of trying to cram five topics into about 1500 words (Google recommends 1500-2000 words as an ideal blog post length for easy ranking), now I have the flexibility to cover one topic really well in 1500-2000 words.

Nuance, Value and Conversation

That means I can provide more value, because there’s room for nuance and conversation around what works. Shorter blog posts mean you either need to cover one tiny subject or risk writing something so basic about a larger topic that no one’s going to care.

Let’s say you’re a boutique laundry detergent company writing a post about how to remove stains. In 300 words, you can tell us that your product might help. In 1000 words, you can tell us that your product might help, why it can help, and how to do it. In 2000 words, you can tell us about your product, why it works, how to use it to remove different kinds of stains, what methods don’t work and offer up troubleshooting tips. Which one would you rather read?

Breaking your topics down means:
  • You have a narrower focus to write about, which is less overwhelming.
  • You can provide valuable knowledge to readers. 
  • You can write thoroughly about a subject, which Google likes. 
  • Sharing niche knowledge makes it easier for readers-slash-customers to trust your authority. 
  • Your site will rank better on search engines. 
  • You’ll have more blog posts to promote on social media and Pinterest. 
  • You won’t use up all your good ideas too fast, because by choosing a detailed topic, there’s plenty more room to cover in future posts.
 

Better than writing about laundry stains? Write 1500 words about how to get out ink.

And another post about oil.

Write another about blood.

What makes them different from one another? Why doesn’t one solution work for everything? Bestow your audience with content that gives them something truly valuable and you’ll be rewarded with business.

4. Develop some formulas for blog posts that make your job easier.

Formulas get a bad reputation when it comes to writing. Are romance novels formulaic, in that they often use the same elements as other romance novels? Sure, I guess. But each story is still its own (pleasurable) journey, and because romance is THE most profitable genre of fiction by far, I think we can agree that it works.

So when I say develop some formulas for your posts, I mean this: find one or two types of blogs you can easily repeat that don’t take as much time as others. Lots of bloggers and content creators do this, and it can still provide value.

Some examples I’ve seen around the internet:

Themes
Once a week (or month) you post about a new product you’re developing or a case study from your service-based business.

Interviews
Feature someone else in your industry or a related industry who you admire and get their perspective on relevant topics. This is how I do it and it’s a formula I’ve used in past jobs, too. 

Weekly roundups of your favorite things
Podcasts you found useful, services you want to try, products you love, TV shows you’re anticipating. Recipes you’ve made, playlists that inspire you, industry articles that were insightful. This could include almost anything, and all you have to do is keep track of the things you’re already reading, listening to, watching, cooking, and buying. 

Reviews
Give us a deep dive into a product or service you’ve tried. Did you like it? Was it what you hoped? Would you recommend it to others? 

State of the biz
Some bloggers and small businesses share their income reports (which is controversial, but worth mentioning). You could share news about upcoming products, behind-the-scenes processes, quarterly reports about your growth (but like, in a fun way), lessons you’ve learned the hard way, etc. People who like your business want to know how you’re doing–and how they can help. If supply chain problems are messing up your sales, tell your customers about it. Be transparent about your struggles and celebrate your wins. Your customers want to see you succeed.

Spotlight new hires
If you have staff, introduce us to them. Let us learn about the people who run and staff your business, what they’re like, what they’re into. Build a relationship with your customers by letting them see the humanity behind the brand. 

 

I’m sure you can think of a ton of other ideas for yourself, too. But having these kinds of categories to choose from will help round out your blog posts and give dimension to your site.

5. Remember that there’s more to writing blog posts than getting site traffic.

Authority

Blogging to increase site traffic is valid, but not the only way to do it. Writing blog posts can be valuable for a number of other reasons, as well. For example, it can increase your authority on a topic. If you have a service-based business, like as an accountant or a makeup artist, blogging can help set you up as someone who knows what they’re talking about. It helps people trust you more.

Context and Information

It can also give context to an aspect of your business. For instance, I’m allergic to nickel, and my skin reacts to most metals. Not just while I’m wearing earrings, but even wearing necklaces or bracelets. If you’re a jeweler who uses stainless steel, or 14k gold, writing a blog about why your materials are ideal for sensitive skin is going to have me looking hard at buying from you. Because a lot of brands use materials like brass, zinc or gold-plating that’s not going to last a month once I get my hands on it. And although I know what my problem is, your expertise can help provide the solution.

Building Relationships with Customers

You might also use blogging as a way to humanize your brand, as mentioned above. People want to do business with people they like. If you try a new coffee shop and the employees are all rude, will you want to go back? Probably not. If you find a cool new brand and the owner is blogging about their journey and things they’ve learned and things they’re excited about, you become emotionally invested in that brand. You want to support them more–because humans are social creatures, and that’s okay. Use it!

Marketing and Promotion

Blog posts are a great way to market your products, too–especially if you’re launching something new and want to tell the world more about how you created it. Or why it’s different than similar products elsewhere. Or if you’ve started providing a new service, write about why you made that choice, and how it will help the people that hire you.

Build an Email List

Or maybe you just want something to help you build an email list. (This is why email lists are so valuable.) Write a longer blog about a topic you share to your social media channels, drive people to your site to read more, and entice them to sign up to your list with a freebie or an offer.

But as you can see, there are tons of valid ways a blog can help grow your business. So even if you’re not pulling in tons of traffic from search engines or backlinks or Pinterest, don’t despair. You can still benefit your business just by sitting down to write. It all adds up, promise.

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Hi, I'm Lana.

I’ve spent 16 years in advertising, and now I’m using that knowledge to help creatives grow their own small businesses. Will that include you this year? 


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