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Getting words onto the page is the first step to success
Getting words onto the page is the first step to success

Creating outstanding blog content

It can be tough and time-consuming to generate fresh, original content for websites and blogs. BETH WALKER shares strategies that can help the process.

One of the hardest things about running a blog for your company or website is trying to come up with good topics for your articles, especially when you don’t have much time. The instinct may be to skip publishing but that’s not best because frequency matters when it comes to blogs.

By utilising these five essential actions, you can create outstanding blog content consistently and still stick to your publishing schedule.

Crappy first draft

American novelist Anne Lamott is famous for promoting bad first drafts. Her point is that you just need to get something on paper.

“Writers write" is a quote I hear or read at least once a day because it is a crucial device that writers use to remind themselves that their job is to write.

My first drafts often take on an outline form – I’ll consider the title and keywords I need to target and, as I research, I’ll pull out the ideas I want to highlight. Once I determine the sections and flow, I can start in the middle of an article even when the introduction isn’t coming together.

The point of the crappy first draft is to get some words written. You may delete them all later but at least you’ll have started.

Walk away
"'Writers write' is a quote I hear or read at least once a day because it is a crucial device that writers use to remind themselves that their job is to write"

After you get something down, walk away. This might seem counterproductive, but I promise that it works. When writer’s block strikes, I’ll sometimes take an actual walk. Getting outside and doing something active seems to be a perfect method for inspiring new perspective and thoughts.

Use tools

While no tool is perfect, automated grammar software Grammarly is my go-to tool so that everything I write is checked by a second set of eyes before I hit publish. This is a helpful tool to catch spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes, but the paid version goes further.

For example, Grammarly often highlights that my drafts are “wordy”. This isn’t surprising to me, but it is a gentle reminder for me to edit my work.

I don’t turn Grammarly on when writing my first or second drafts. I’ll turn it on once I’m on my final review so that I can consider any suggestions and edit accordingly. After this, I do one final read-through before sending my content to a proofreader.

Use a proofreader

As writers, we can find ourselves feeling defensive about the editing process, but the reality is that developing outstanding content requires editing. Even when you have a great handle on your audience, it’s still important to make sure your ideas are communicated clearly.

Remember that you’ve been focusing on your article for several hours or even days at this point and have probably read it through at least four times; it’s possible you are not as clear as you think.

Proofreaders are also great because they can tell you when you complicate an explanation – perhaps you are using five sentences when only three are needed.

A great proofreader will provide suggestions that clarify your content without substituting their voice or perspective for yours. Consider all suggestions and always keep the end goal in mind: you’re creating outstanding content for your reader.

Content calendar

The best way to stay on track when writing content consistently is with a content calendar.

There are many benefits of having a calendar, but my favourite is that you only need to brainstorm subjects once as opposed to every time you sit down to write.

With my personal blog, I plotted out a yearlong content calendar with titles and subjects in January. This might sound like an overwhelming task, but I publish eight times a month so I only needed to come up with 60 titles and plot out the publishing dates.

When you work ahead, life circumstances may inspire new content. I have found that titles can be easily postponed for the future, perhaps even the next time I develop my content calendar.

Thinking about all of your blog articles in one go mightn’t work for everyone, but I suggest you think further ahead than a few weeks – quarterly calendars are the ones I encounter most often.

By taking the time to brainstorm keywords, titles and subjects, you can jump into that ‘crappy first draft’ easily and with a little bit of inspiration.












ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Beth Walker

Beth Walker writes for US-based website The SMA Marketing Blog. To learn how a content writer can help your business. Learn more: smamarketing.net









Saturday, 22 September, 2018 05:35pm
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