Even if you don’t understand why, you know you need to blog. Everyone is doing it and you keep hearing about the values of blogging. In today’s age of digital socializing, just having a website often isn’t enough. When potential clients and power partners are seeking more information about you and what you do – they turn to the Internet. Larger companies and corporations have a digital footprint of online reviews, press releases, and branding information. However, smaller businesses lack information and personality. There is often only a single webpage with contact information to use for research. The lack of a blog, or the presence of a blog that hasn’t been updated in awhile, is a turn off.
A blog is a great way for people to discover you and determine whether or not they want to work with you. It’s a way to encourage an online following of brand advocates and individuals passionate about you and your work. It will also dissuade the people that won’t make good clients and partners from contacting you. Once people have a better feel for your work, they will be more inclined to talk and do business with you.
Developing a New Habit
The common misconception is that it only takes two weeks to form a new habit. Turns out that information isn’t entirely accurate. This study over the course of 12 weeks showcased that the time differed, depending on the person and the complexity of the habit. On average, it took around 66 days for a new habit to be formed. For some people, it took much longer. The point is that you have to make a commitment and stick to it. Don’t give up on the habit and one day you will wake up and realize it no longer needs to be forced but is an automatic part of your routine.
Scheduling Time to Blog
The first, and probably most important, part of developing a new blog routine is scheduling a set time to do it. It needs to be a time where there are no excuses. Also taken into consideration should be the time of day you feel most inspired and productive. If late at night sounds like a regular time that would work but every time you sit down you are too tired to write – then that schedule will never be successful.
- When do you feel most productive?
- When do you feel most creative?
- When are there fewer distractions?
- What time of day could you be most consistent?
Do you spend the first 30 minutes of your day checking your email and/or social media profiles? Put that off until later in the day – when you are tired and drained and distracted. Is 10 am the time of day you find yourself whizzing through projects or client calls? Then schedule a 10 am meeting once a week or month and dedicate it to developing your next blog post.
Developing Your Voice
This is the tricky part. This is true for every type of writer just starting out. Finding and developing your writing voice is essential. However, it’s important to understand that you won’t know what it is at first – and that’s ok. The only way to truly discover your writing voice is simple – you have to write. Write every day, if you can.
Why do you need your own voice? Without it, you come off as boring or unattached. Your voice is your personality on paper. Your audience will become curious and dedicated to you only once they begin to feel like they know you. It shouldn’t feel like they are reading a textbook. Knowledge is important but personality is the hook.
You will find, that with time, your voice will sort of naturally develop. However, if you are having issues with it there are some things you can do to help locate it.
- Aim to write the same way you would talk to people.
- Also a good branding exercise, come up with a handful of adjectives that describe you.
- Examine blogs you enjoy reading and write down WHY you enjoy them.
- Imagine that you are your perfect reader. What are you looking for in a blog?
- Ask trusted advisors what they think about your writing voice.
- Join some blogging groups for advice and support.
We all have moments where we can’t access new ideas. We get stumped and blocked and frustrated. It’s important to make finding inspiration a regular practice. This means examining when you feel the most creative. What time of day do you usually find the creativity flowing? What activities do you engage in that motivate you? Do you finding listening to music inspiring? Do you get your best ideas during exercise or in the shower? Starting paying attention to when you feel creative and see if you notice any patterns. Then develop a technique to jot down ideas during these peak times.
It’s often possible to force creativity into action as well. This will vary based on the individual. Perhaps it means taking time to read a book, or go to a museum, or watch inspirational videos online. Does the sunrise motivate you? Then wake up early from time to time and spend a few moments enjoying it. Create a playlist that you can listen to over and over again as needed. Spend some time reading blogs you enjoy or finding new blogs and voices. Grab a book and learn something. Whatever works for you, make it a part of your regular routine. Do this even when you aren’t stumped for ideas because then you will have a list of concepts already developed for moments when inspiration eludes you.
As with any new habit or activity, only the investment of time and energy will yield results. No one should expect to come out of the gate as an expert on something they have no experience doing.
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers
It’s necessary to continue to dive in there and just do it. You’ll find that, after time, you will get better and that will encourage better results from your blogging efforts. Stop procrastinating and make a commitment TODAY to develop your new blogging habit. It’s just one more way that I’m encouraging you to #BeAwesome in your business! #NewHabits
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Hollie Clere, of The Social Media Advisor is a "#BeAwesome" Developer, Social Media Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn,Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+ , YouTube,Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.
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