Three Tips for Writing Blog Posts (+ a Bonus Tip)
Over the past few years, I have transitioned from mostly consulting into writing blog posts for myself and more publications. When I was a kid, it was a dream of mine to be a writer, so this is literally my dream job. I get to spend time writing for publications like Sonoma Magazine, SonomaCounty.com, and Wine Country Mom Blog, in addition to a few wine publications here and there. Oh, and my own blog. You are reading this on my blog, so you may have noticed that I'm writing for myself as well.
Through my social media consulting business, I have taught people how to create content for social media as well as through their business blogs. My personal mission has been to inspire marketers to create MORE content for their brands. In order to do that, I need to help them learn that it can be easy and fun.
These are just a few of my personal tips and tricks for writing blog posts:
#1: Dictation is your friend when writing blog posts
The number one thing I tell people when they’re nervous about getting into blogging, wanting to blog more, or finding that they don’t have the time to write: grab your phone and use Siri/Google Assistant. Almost every article I write is completed via talking to my phone (and many times using the Google Doc Voice Typing App through Google Docs on my desktop). This helps me to efficiently express the thoughts in my head - and honestly, it is great for when I don't know how to spell something.
Yes, you will find that some words are misspelled, the grammar is not perfect, and sometimes Siri gets a word wrong. But, all writers edit their work, so you shouldn't be embarrassed about your first draft.
Using dictation also trains you to be more intentional with your words, which is so helpful for public speaking and feeling more confident about what you have to say in general.
Quick tip: Pay attention to what you’re dictating! Sometimes Siri doesn’t just get things wrong... She gets them REALLY wrong, and then you don’t remember what the hell you were trying to say. It has also occurred that I was talking for a while and didn’t realize that my phone had stopped dictating, so I lost my entire train of thought.
If you use any voice typing app, you can say “comma” between ideas or “period” at the end of a sentence, and instead of writing the word out, it will include the punctuation mark. With voice typing within your Google Docs, you can format much of your writing just with simple voice commands like “next line,” “next paragraph,” etc.
Dictation is like journaling – it allows you to get ideas on “paper” quickly.
My favorite part about dictating my writing is that it allows me to get all of the ideas out of my head when they are fresh in my mind. Whether I’m busy having a conversation with someone, driving, or trying to get my toddler to eat, an idea may just pop into my head. In moments like these when I don't have time to sit in front of a computer, I use my voice to open up a note in my iPhone and just start writing..
This is especially good when I am upset about something that I need to vent. By writing down how I'm feeling, I am able to stop stressing about it anymore. Kind of similar to journaling...but I also hit publish. These have been the types of blog posts I have written for wine country mom blogs – rants for when I am stressed out about being a mom.
#2: Write in outlines first, edit blog posts later
When I’m being a little more intentional (having a clear idea in my mind) with what I want to blog about, I will dictate the main ideas as a list into my phone. This list creates the outline for my topic. From there, I am able to take those ideas and fully flesh out each thought. Most of the time I actually create my outlines and then do my writing on different days, which allows me to take my time with my writing, especially if research is involved.
For example, when creating this blog post, I knew I wanted to talk about dictation, creating outlines, and the idea of hiring an editor, so those were the three original items on my list.
As I started developing my ideas, I realized I also wanted to talk about some other reasons for why dictating my words has helped my clients. So, I added another headline to this article after I transferred the list from my iPhone Notes to Google Docs.
#3 Don't put so much pressure on yourself when writing blog posts.
Whether you are just getting started or writing a blog for your own business, let me take some pressure off of you. Your posts don’t have to be exactly one thousand words or help save the oceans. As I have said before, they just have to be YOU. This is more easily accomplished by dictating your words, and bringing your voice to your writing – something that can be more daunting when you are physically writing the words on your keyboard.
I actually recommend this to people who are writing out Instagram captions for their social media marketing efforts. The more you can connect one-on-one with your community, the more people will know you, like you, and trust you (and eventually buy whatever it is you are selling).
With dictating, you will find that your content is naturally going to be a little bit longer. Although, remember that it doesn't have to be, and in some cases it's better to edit out some of your words. Fortunately, cutting words out of your post is much easier than forcing extra words in.
Bonus: Hire someone to edit your content, and spend your time on what you are good at.
Earlier this year, I decided to allow myself to hire an editor for two hours a week to quickly look over the first drafts of every article I write. I found people through Upwork, and it’s been one of the best decisions I have made for my business. Even the content for my blog that I don’t get paid for gets a once-over from an editor because, frankly, they are better at it than I am. When it comes to my own work, it’s hard to see flaws because I am more connected with the words that I use.
I know this last tip isn't for everyone, but if you find that you're writing four or more blog posts a month (or would like to) and you just don't have time to edit them, hire someone. That way, your time can be spent doing what you're good at. You will quickly find that the stress of writing takes more time and mental energy than just physically sitting at a keyboard and editing your words. The feeling of being overwhelmed has stopped many people from blogging or writing in the first place – myself included.
...And, there is a lot of bad content out there, so hiring someone to help ensure that your content is readable is only going to help your business in the long run.