Before you start writing you need a list of ideas and some rough notes sketched out the night before so that when you sit down to write, you already have a subject prepared. One of the tricks of the trade I've learned for blogging is to write the headline and a few notes the night before so that your subconscious mind gets a chance to work on it whilst you sleep.
Then when I sit down to start work the page is there in front of me ready to start typing.
Don't Wait For Inspiration To Strike!
In the beginning, I would sit for ages staring at the screen looking for inspiration. More often than not I'd get frustrated and visit websites that were totally unrelated to the subject and waste hours. You don’t have that kind of time to lose so preparing is paramount.
The first thing to do is to keep a record of all your blog ideas. This is the foundation of your blog. Get into the habit of writing ideas down so you don’t forget them.
I like to use Trello to keep track of all my ideas, and I have a different board for each project so that the ideas don’t get mixed up. Often the best ideas come when you least expect them so creating notes using speech to text on your mobile is a good habit to get into. That way you can quickly create notes when out for a walk or when quality thinking time is available.
If you keep adding your blog ideas to a list every day over time, you will quickly build a quality stock from which to write your posts and never have to start a session with “what shall I write about today”.
Get Started Blogging!
If the thought of having to sit down and write a blog post can put you into procrastination mode, you should read Eat That Frog! By Brian Tracy.
Tracy is one of the best-known authors in the field of setting goals and personal achievement and Eat That Frog! Is one of his shortest books, running to just over 100 pages. However, the advice to eat a live frog every day before doing anything else is a classic.
The frog is a metaphor for your biggest and most complex task of the day. The one that always gets put to the back of the pile in favour of shorter tasks that are easier to do.
When you start writing your post, imagine a really ugly frog sitting in front of you. Pick it up by its hind leg and dangle it over your mouth. Open wide and eat the frog. It has to be done. There is no alternative. If you don’t eat the frog, then your most important task will not get done!
Eating frogs every day for breakfast (doing the challenging work) is what makes the difference. If you keep leaving your frog to the end of the day because it is your biggest and most difficult task, then the likelihood is that it will never get eaten.
The act of publishing your blog is self-perpetuating. One blog gets published, and you start thinking about the next. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is where all of your ideas will originate from. Stay away from drugs and alcohol because they cloud the mind and prevent clarity. Clarity is the foundation block for creativity.
Bite The Bullet And Write Your Blog Yourself
The only person interested and dedicated enough to make a blog worth reading is you. You are the one with the vision.
If you are a CEO of a large company, then you probably don’t have the time to write a 500-word blog post a couple of times a week to express your ideas. But you do have a voice recorder and several people that can take your rough sketch and fashion it into a decent blog post.
But don’t let them ruin it by producing middle of the road music. Add your personal touch. Own the piece.
Claiming That You Don’t Have Enough Time is Not An Argument For Not Doing It
If you are the sales or marketing manager for a medium-sized company, then this is your chance to shine and make the gig your own. Put together a few blog ideas and refine them with help from your team.
Producing a blog on your company website is akin to having your very own lead generation machine. Do not leave it to the office junior to cobble something together.
Saying You “Can’t Write” Is not An Excuse!
The more often you hit the publish button, the better you will get at doing it.
If you are a small business owner, then this is the most important item on your agenda. Sure, your time is taken up with a lot of other urgent things that have to be done yesterday but putting aside the time to write a good blog is one of the best uses of your time.
Only you understand the product complexities and why you are bringing them to market. Only you know why you are putting yourself through the wringer to make this work.
Taking the time to extol product virtues and explain why you are doing what you do is THE single most powerful method you have at your marketing disposal.
Here Are Some Blogging Tips To Get You Going
1. Decide what content you want to produce in advance and how you will theme it. Always carry a notebook or a device for recording blog ideas wherever you go. I often get blog ideas when I’m taking the dogs for a long walk, and I use Onenote on my mobile to jot them down.
2. Make a publishing schedule. Similar to any other business activity decide when you are going to get it done by and put it on your calendar of jobs to be done.
3. Ask your customers what they would like to read about.
4. Have patience. The most successful blogs are born out of two or even three years of consistent development. You are producing a body of work that can be a legacy for your company or product for years to come.
Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to educate, inform and gain trust. This is not a sales pitch or a race to see how many new email sign ups you can get.
Building a blog takes time and energy which can seem daunting and unrewarding in the beginning, but the payoff is there for those who are prepared to take the long view.
Tell Your Story – Engage Your Audience And Sell More Product.
I gave up a reasonably well-paid job working at a timber merchant to go and make my fortune selling double glazing when I was twenty. It was a big step considering I’d only just moved out of the family home and was trying to stand on my own two feet by cooking more than beans on toast.
The fortune didn’t quite work out, but I did meet someone along the way who had a massive impact on my life and helped me understand the psyche of selling. Selling is easy if you ask the right questions and listen.
Ronnie arrived on the scene in a whirlwind of enthusiasm. He was a very experienced salesman and had landed the gig as the area sales manager. He had come along to see his “crew” working the stand in one of the big DIY stores.
You know the type, stand and harass anyone that made the unfortunate mistake of making eye contact by forcing a leaflet into their hand and asking them if they needed their windows “done”.
Of course, it was a futile waste of time, and I’d been standing there for a couple of weeks without even a whiff of a lead when Ronnie rocked up in his white shoes and expensive suit. He explained who he was and then beckoned me to follow him out of the store and into his car.
Learning The Direct Sales Approach
What followed was a tour de force in how to make money in direct sales. For the next couple of months, I did nothing but learn the script and knock on doors from 4 pm to 7 pm every day. Saturday mornings and Sundays were good days as we knew people would be more likely to be in.
Trudging through the snow, I’d approach the door and give it a good knock, and as it opened, I’d spring into action with a great big smile and start reciting the “pitch” which I knew off by heart and could counter almost any objection before the house owner had even finished the sentence.
The whole idea was to get the customer interested enough to book an appointment later that evening or for the next “as we were only in that area for a short time”. Creating urgency is the name of the game in direct sales.
I was good at getting the appointments, one of the best in fact and I won many awards for being a top canvasser.
Ronnie though was something else. He had customers eating right out of the palm of his hand from the get-go. No extended sales pitch for this guy, it was a simple “If I can do the front of the house for £1,500, would you be interested?”
Once they said yes there was no going back. It was brilliantly simple in its execution, and more often than not they took the bait and asked how much it was to do the rest of the house.
Ronnie was a top salesman by a long way, and our Clacton area was the top revenue producer – even though there were only two of us and six or more in most other areas. He used to wind the old pro’s up chronically at the sales get together and ask why they weren’t standing in their store to get more leads and make up the deficit.
Then he’d wet himself laughing in the car on the way back from London – “Did you see his face” he’d guffaw with tears in his eyes.
Remove As Many Barriers To Purchasing As You Can
You see what Ronnie knew, was that understanding your customer's mind was crucial to selling to them.
Everyone “wanted” new windows on the council estates where we were plying our trade. A lot of people had bought their own council houses, and they really wanted new windows to replace the rotten ones they had – the question wasn’t of motivation but affordability.
So Ronnie developed a slick entrance where he immediately laughed and joked and was likeable and then within a flash his line would come out:
“So if I could do the front of your house for £1,500 – that’s £10 per week – would you be interested”.
And of course, they were. Ronnie understood he was primarily selling finance and the customer was happy to pay the £10 per week. It was a relief to them not to have to sit through the ordeal of someone measuring every window and taking two hours to tell them it was going to cost 5k and how were they going to pay for it at the end of it all.
Tell Your Story And Engage Your Audience
We sold them a story from beginning to end and made it easy for them to buy.
From standing on their doorstep with a pretend shiver in the freezing cold snow to Ronnie cracking quick-fire jokes we made them smile and feel fuzzy warm inside.
One time I had a lead from someone who just wanted their toilet window replaced because it was broken.
Now in that situation, many salespeople would try to pitch for more business to make it “worth their while”.
But not Ronnie. He was too savvy to seek to make a deal where none was possible. He walked in, took one look at the cracked window and said: “yes no problem, £235 please”.
No measuring up, no extended small talk or anything else. He knew the customer just wanted to get the damn eyesore replaced as quickly as possible.
Ronnie held out his hand, the customer hesitated, pulled out his wallet and counted out the cash before handing it over. He signed a contract, and we walked out of the house in fits of laughter with Ronnie holding a bundle of notes.
The customer could see the funny side of it and was laughing at himself for being "fleeced" so easily. He’d just parted with £235 in short order for a toilet window, and it hadn’t even been measured up! It became one of our favourite anecdotes that year.
Good stories are what make the sales world go around. From direct sales to newspaper advertising, TV advertising to your website blog.
How you tell your story makes all the difference between connecting on a higher level with your audience or them moving on to someone who has a better tale to tell.
Keep a record of all your blog ideas and write a headline for your next blog post the night before you go to bed so that your subconscious mind can work on the idea whilst you sleep.
Make writing your blog post the most important task of the day.
Create a publishing schedule that you can stick to. Twice a week on Monday and Thursday is a tough schedule for a beginner.
Try weaving a personal story into your blog post and be authoritative in your tone.