Once you’ve started your blog and read all about the three essentials of marketability you might be wondering exactly how you should go about actually writing your first post… and every post after that. Don’t worry, I know sometimes standing at the beginning of a project and looking forward, it can seem scary or intimidating to even get started. But, the beautiful thing is you’re already full of great topics to write about and there are people just like you who want to hear what you have to share.
All you have to do is open your mind and heart and allow yourself to share your thoughts on issues and things that really matter to you. That can be dishing about your daily life (maybe you’re a busy mom with some great insight) or helping people be better at something you happen to be good at (are you a great crafter, writer, marketer, artist?), or…maybe you just love to lift people up and you want to share ideas and stories that have lifted YOU up.
Whatever your mission is, once you decide what kind of information you want to share it will be easier to create topics that help to spread your core messages.
HOW TO COME UP WITH BLOG TOPICS
The easiest way to start gathering ideas is to begin with what you already know and care about. What topics draw you in or catch your eye? Whatever they may be, you’re probably knowledgeable and passionate about the information, which is why you’re attracted to it.
Start a list of all the stories, topics, events, and projects that matter to you.
Don’t censor yourself, this is just a brainstorming list, so go crazy. It’s ok to take breaks, carry your list around with you for a couple of days and add to it as you think of topics or are inspired by what you’re seeing or reading each day. Don’t rush the process.
This list is never-ending. The idea is even after you have a starting point with at least 5 or 10 topics and you begin writing posts, you’ll keep gathering topic ideas as life goes on – after all, you want to keep blogging indefinitely, so you’ll need ideas on tap!
Now that you have a list of at least 5 topics to choose from, decide which one you’d like to start with. You can start with whatever topic you feel like, but if any of your topics have to do with current events, it’s a good idea to write those first. That way you’re writing about a trending issue while the internet is still revolving around that information and people are already looking for more info on the topic (so you instantly have an audience).
HOW TO CREATE AN OUTLINE THAT MAKES BLOGGING EASY
Before you actually start writing your blog post it’s a good idea to create a simple outline to help you stay on track and fit all the important points you want to make into the storyline. One of the best ways to do this (and one way that helps identify potential blog series) is to create a web outline.
Why is this helpful? Three main reasons.
The first is that it’s easy to follow. Your core topic sits at the center of what will become the web (it’s underlined in the example) and each subtopic that supports your main idea branches off into its own bubble.
The second reason is because you can put like-ideas together quickly. Subtopics often have supporting ideas. Using a web outline you can link each supporting idea to the subtopic it fits with best and still see the big picture at a glance.
Need an example? Here is the outline for this blog:
The third & final reason it’s the best outline method for new bloggers is it allows you to see natural divisions in complex topics and easily identify potential segments you can use to split the information into a series and make it easier for the reader to follow.
HOW TO DIVIDE A COMPLEX OR LENGTHY TOPIC INTO A SERIES
When you’re on a roll it can be great to get out everything you want to say in a single post. But, if your topic covers a lot of ground or is really in depth, it can be too much new information at once and hard for your reader to absorb.
The quickest way to keep your writing on track and help your reader follow all the ideas from start to finish is to separate dense topics into a series of shorter posts. If you’re using the web outline we just discussed, it’s actually very easy to identify when you should split a post and where you should split it.
See the example of this post’s outline, which I ended up splitting into two separate and complementary posts (the one you’re reading now and a post on marketing your blog):
Here’s what to look for to know when to split a topic across multiple posts:
• Any time your topic has more than three subtopics, you should consider splitting the post into a series with two or three subtopics covered in each segment. (So if you have six subtopics, you could split that post into two complementary blogs with each post covering three of the subtopics).
• You want to have about three supporting ideas (or subtopics) for each main idea. You can probably get away with having up to 5 in a single post, but just make sure they’re simple to explain and closely related to your main idea or theme.
• Anytime you have more than three subtopics and those additional subtopics have three or more supporting ideas, those subtopics could become main topics in a series. (If a single subtopic has a lot of supporting ideas it might be enough to become its own 500+ word blog post as part of a series, like the example above.)
HOW TO WEAVE IN A SALES MESSAGE WITHOUT BEING SALESY
Lastly, we come to the real meat of what everyone wants to know… How do I sell without being pushy or salesy? It’s simple. Take YOU out of the equation and make it all about your reader.
What I mean by that is, when you’re thinking about sales as a bad or uncomfortable process it means you’re spending too much time looking at how it benefits you (making money) instead of how it helps the reader.
When you switch your focus to what the reader will gain by purchasing whatever it is you’re selling, it’s much easier to write authentically and without sales-talk.
It’s not about you or making money – it’s seriously about how that person who may purchase your service or product will benefit from buying. Maybe your service makes their lives simpler, easier, or more interesting. Maybe you help them learn something new or feel inspired. Whatever it is, there IS a benefit (or many) for the reader and that’s what you need to remember and focus on.
Once you share the benefits, products and services sell themselves, you don’t have to use any flashy language or special techniques, if people can understand why something would be useful to them and know how to purchase it, they will if they want to. It’s as simple as that.
So, how do you actually explain benefits without being pushy? Follow these tips:
• As you’re writing your blog post, remember to weave in your core message or offer. Whether you’re writing to inspire people, to help them learn a new skill, or to tell them about a great product that they may want, stay on topic, be truthful and informative.
• If you’re selling a service or product, use descriptive words that paint a picture in the reader’s mind so they can envision how life could be if they purchased whatever you’re offering
• Keep the focus on the reader and how they benefit. It doesn’t matter if the goal is to get them to visit your site and read your posts, to get them to click on something, or to get them to make a purchase; if you keep the focus on them, you’ll keep their attention and be less likely to use a blatant sales pitch.
GET STARTED TODAY
Now you’ve got everything you need to know to start writing a great blog! All you have to do is take that first step and decide what kind of entrepreneur you want to be and what messages you want to share.
Still feel like you need a little more help? That’s what I’m here for!
Contact me and I will share more about what works for me and how I use Empower Network so I can focus on writing about what matters to me (helping creative entrepreneurs like you) and let EN do all the hard work like maximizing my SEO and attracting an audience.
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