I’m conducting a sold-out workshop today on blogging for business at the Enterprise Center of Johnson County. From the advance attendee list, it looks like there are several Brainzooming blog subscribers attending, so I reached out to a number of them for their expectations from the session.
Duane Hallock, Regional Communications Director and Chief Communications Officer for the American Red Cross, Kansas City Region, wrote back that he was “eager to see what goes on behind the curtain” with the Brainzooming blog to meet a five day a week publishing schedule.
My List of Blogging Hacks
I’m not sure there is a “curtain” to look behind, but since we won’t talk about these in the content workshop, here’s a list of blogging hacks (in no particular order) for maintaining a daily blogging schedule:
- Have a few foundation topics (strategy, creativity, innovation, social media) to put boundaries around the content. In this regard, boundaries are helpful in deciding what to blog about.
- Making a public commitment to publish every day is an incredibly strong motivator to back up my word and do it.
- Approach blogging as a body of writing instead of with a view to individual blog posts. This lowers the expectations you place on any individual blog post, which helps you publish tomorrow’s post that might not have come out exactly as you planned.
- I write starter ideas all the time, whether in a notebook, on the iPad, or in a Word document. Sometimes an idea turns into a full post right away - or maybe later. It’s okay if an idea takes a long time to develop into a full blog post. It might be a couple of years. And not only is that fine, but I’m always surprised that it’s the blog posts that take forever to come to fruition that people seem to enjoy most.
- Sometimes an idea NEVER gets turned into a full blog post. That’s okay too.
- It’s vital to have several go-to formats that work in a pinch when I need a blog post: lists, compilations of links to previous posts, Larry King-style posts (semi-random ideas chained together), groups of tweets that tie to a theme. You have to know what you can write quickly.
- Since one thing The Brainzooming Group does is help clients generate creative ideas through using tools and processes, it would be counter to our brand promise to not publish because I couldn't come up with a blogging topic. That's not to say, however, I don't tweet about struggling to come up with blog topics.
- I have developed a knack for re-writing other content I've created into a new blog posts. This helps a ton.
- You have to make conscious trade-offs since you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to cover everything. That translates into:
- Not writing many news posts (For better or worse, the blog is more encyclopedic or textbookish than newspaper-like)
- Focusing on writing to keywords that are already attracting people to Brainzooming.com (as opposed to an independently generated list of keywords we’re targeting)
- Rarely doing themed content over multiple days
- Not having a specific day (or days) for guest blog posts
- Being pretty picky about publishing unsolicited guest blogs
- Hardly ever doing book reviews (I’m a skimmer, not a reader)
- Not venturing into video – yet (“and I use the word, ‘yet.’”)
- Don’t read so many blogs, tweets, and Facebook status updates that it keeps you from getting something written.
- Making use of the weekend to get as much (if not all) of the following week’s posts written.
- Avoiding at all costs (but not with this post ironically) writing a post as late as the day before it publishes. That’s cutting it too close for my comfort.
- Using the following (as necessary) to stimulate your writing: sleep, wine, Twitter, getting out and meeting people in person, questions people ask me,
- If a blog post is close, but not quite there, not being afraid to simply cut out the parts that aren’t there. All of a sudden it’s all there, and the post is shorter – which everyone appreciates.
- Keep YOUR commitment to your blog subscribers to publish regularly front and center, even if readers don’t have a comparable expectation about you publishing a blog post regularly.
What to Blog About and How to Get a Daily Blog Post Done
That’s what comes to mind right now as my set of blogging hacks. You might want to return here in the future. The list of blogging hacks will likely grow as more come to mind. I hope that’s what you were looking for, Duane! - Mike Brown
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