I began my online life back in 2009, and at that time, I was primarily a blogger. Churning out blog posts multiple times a week was always something I struggled with.
Everywhere I looked, a blogger would have an amazing post and it seemed like maybe some people were just born to write or at least a whole lot more gifted than I was.
After starting this business, post writing got even harder despite the fact that I was posting less often. Trying to fill the blank screen week after week became something I dreaded.
So, I didn’t.
Instead I focused 100% on my clients and for a couple of years, I didn’t post regularly. Not that I didn’t want to post, it’s just that every time I tried, I ended up surfing around online finding a million reasons to ignore what I should be doing. After a few hours of zero progress I would give up and pledge to try again next week.
As you can imagine, that was not the best approach to blogging and it was something in 2012 that I was committed to change. Designing websites was and still is one of the most amazing parts of my day, but so is talking, sharing and the relationships that happen when I create content that hopefully helps people in some small way.
Fast forward to now, writing blog posts is actually one of my favorite things (I can pause here while you throw tomatoes at me) and consistency is no longer an issue. I have even toyed with posting twice a week because of how enjoyable this process has become.
So what changed this reluctant blogger into a blog post writing superfan?
- I had to admit to myself that I wasn’t living up to my own expectations (ouch!) and things needed to change so that I was.
- I created a framework I use to write blog posts that makes writing a breeze and so I don’t feel like I’m starting from scratch every week.
In the beginning, I was resistant to the idea of any kind of outline or framework because I thought it would really suffocate my creativity, but you know what? The opposite happened. Having a loose guideline gave me more ideas than ever before because it gave me some boundaries to work in.
Of course, this process and framework are just one way to create a blog posts but feel free to use it or adapt it to make it fit your style.
Creating a Well of Blog Post Ideas
Before I ever sit down to write, I’ve got all my blog post ideas hanging out in Evernote inside a handy notebook called “Post Ideas” (I know, it’s a brilliant name.)
Whenever an idea pops into my head, I get the thought into Evernote as fast as I can and record at least 2 key thoughts:
- Main subject. In the case of this post, the main subject would be Writing Blog Posts.
- The specific problem or central theme the post is going to address. Initially, I left this second step out and found that I would forget what it was that I really wanted to write about. “Writing blog posts” could mean a lot of different things, especially when I’m removed a few weeks or months from the original thought. For this post, the specific problem that I wanted to address was post writing consistency and detailing a framework for writing. Now that’s going to be specific enough to remember!
If I have time, I’ll sometimes jot down a few sentences or an opening paragraph but that’s about it.
Just this practice alone has been a game changer. Previously, I would struggle each week to come up with an idea and write the post. Now, I use the ideas that are built up in Evernote to create an editorial calendar for about 8 weeks at a time. The post ideas area already flushed out and it’s just a matter of dropping them into dates on the calendar.
Imagine knowing what you’re going to be writing about for the next 2 months and not feeling pressured to come up with an idea “on the spot”!
5 Part Blog Post Template
Every week, I schedule time to write a post outline and then another time to write the post itself. Yes, I know I’m a bit of a systems girl and I’m totally comfortable with that. Schedules bring me joy 🙂
For the outline, I grab my post topic for that week and then pull out this 5 part template to get all my ideas down on paper in point form.
For each section, I’m really just trying to flush out my thoughts, key points I want to highlight and then do any research that’s needed. The outlining process often surprises me with new insights I hadn’t thought of or entirely new post ideas. Having all my ideas for the post brainstormed ahead makes sure that when I do sit down to write I’m focused on writing rather than trying to come up with all of the content at the same time.
An added benefit to this outline process is that you get really clear on what’s in it for the reader far before you open your blog software. Ever write a post and then re-read it only to realize it doesn’t really say much? Ya, me too. This outline will help that immensely.
Once the outline is complete, I like to let it sit for a couple days then when it’s time to write the post itself, I just loosely follow that same structure and write my post being sure to detail all the key points I had written down.
Even with all the benefits, this post template has brought:
- saved time
- made writing easier
- focus on better content through a more thorough examination of ideas
It has made one change that’s even more profound. It’s changed the post writing process from being about what I want to say into how can I serve my readers better.
Question: Do you have a post writing template or editorial calendar system you use? I’d love to hear how you help your posts come to life.