As a small business owner, your biggest concern is probably not your blog. You’ve got clients to please, products to produce, services to refine, and a whole lot more. And yet, blogging is vital to the growth of your business and the support of your customers.
Your to-do list may seem endless, but you cannot afford to ignore your blog. If you’re disenchanted with writing for your business blog, it’s important to refocus, shake things up, and find your mojo again. Because let’s be honest, if you’re not loving what you’re writing, your customers probably aren’t either.
And even if you may not think so, you DO have insight, tips, and VALUE to share. You just need to find them.
The truth about why you’re uninspired by your blog:
1. Waiting until the last minute to write your blog posts
This is probably the biggest offender of creativity-zapping. Seriously. I can pretty much guarantee every business owner and marketing professional reading this post has experienced this frustration. Sometimes other work just gets in the way. We keep shifting the task “write blog post” from one to-do list to the next, until it’s the day the post is supposed to go live.
Let me tell you, the day or day before a blog is supposed to be published is the WORST time to write it.
Speaking from experience, this kind of urgency is not good. When I’m writing a last minute blog post, I often find myself at a blank screen for far too long just trying to figure out what to write. The ideas are gone and I quickly become discouraged.
When we are rushed, we often pick a half-baked idea and run with it. We write things as we go instead of seriously thinking about what our customers need or want. We don’t outline. We don’t plan. We don’t focus.
After some unenjoyable writing, we cobble something together, and you know what? We usually hate it. For me anyway, I usually read the post, don’t like it, and then spend way too much time trying to fix it. But since I’m short on time, I often call it “good enough.”
The reason I feel crummy is because I know I’ve rushed and haven’t had time to properly think about all of my points, tips, and ideas. I know I am giving my readers something less than stellar. Ugh. Who wants to do that?
Thankfully, it doesn’t take as much time as we think it does to plan ahead. Yes, it will take a bit of work upfront, but it will pay off in the long run.
How to stop waiting until the last minute to write your blog posts:
I believe waiting until the last minute is the number one reason business owners feel overwhelmed with blogging. So for that reason, I am going to dig into this section a bit more than the others. I hope you can implement these tips and never wait until the last minute to write a blog post again!
Here are my tried and true ways to get your act together when it comes to blogging!
Create a content calendar and follow it.
By planning out your topics at least a month in advance, you won’t have to scramble, and you will be able to breathe easy. Content calendars can be made in Excel, Google Docs, Trello, etc. Here are some ideas on what to include in your blog content calendar:
- Internal due date
- Publication date
- Photo ideas
- Target audience
- Call to action
Set aside time to get ahead with your writing.
I suggest getting 2-3 posts ahead of schedule. There is no reason you can’t write your blog content a few weeks ahead of time. After all, the best kind of content is content that is not time-sensitive and will be relevant for a long period of time. You will find yourself organized and less stressed when it comes time to publish a blog post instead of hastily trying to pull something together last minute.
Reach out to guest bloggers!
Not only does this take some pressure off of you, but it provides your readers with a new perspective and helpful tips. Not to mention, it gives your business friends a boost by getting them in front of your audience!
Keep a running list of new blog post ideas.
Whether you keep your list in a notebook or on a tool like Trello, be sure to capture fun ideas that come to you when you’re out and about! That will help with the dreadful “I-have-nothing-to-write-about” syndrome.
Set aside time every week to write for your blog.
This way you are constantly in the habit of writing and you won’t keep putting it off. I suggest scheduling it as if you have a meeting, so you don’t skip it. If you’re a morning person, like me, I suggest writing as soon as you've finished your morning routine and have had a strong cup of coffee. This is when my creative juices are flowing and I haven't used up all of my inspiration on other projects throughout the day!
2. Telling yourself there is nothing to write about.
As I mentioned earlier, what usually happens when I wait until the last minute to write a blog post is I start thinking things like “There is NOTHING to write about.” “All of the good ideas have already been written about.” “Everyone else is writing better content than me.” Or “I have nothing of value to offer.”
Okay seriously, those are ridiculous thoughts. Those sound like the thoughts of a child throwing a tantrum. They certainly do not sound like the thoughts of a creative, successful business owner who has consistently offered value to their customers in the past.
When we start feeling this way, we need to stop, take a step back, and start thinking more positively.
How to stop telling yourself there is nothing to write about:
Once when I was indulging in these negative thoughts, I decided to reach out to a business friend of mine. RuthAnn reminded me that while it may not feel like we have new ideas, we do have a unique perspective. We all have a different point of view, individual skills, and styles of communicating. That is what adds value to the content we are creating.
So no, you may not be producing content that is EARTH SHATTERING. But if you produce well thought-out, authentic, intentional, and value-focused content, your audience will thank you. The idea may not be unique, but your perspective is. Instead of writing about a topic, tell your experience with that topic, what you’ve learned, your approach, etc.
Again, having a running list of ideas and your content calendar on-hand will help mitigate these feelings!
3. Spending too much time looking at what other people are doing
We live in an overly connected and stimulated world. We have endless opportunities to see what our competitors are doing. If we’re not careful, we can spend hours looking at other people’s Instagram feeds and blog archives. While it is totally normal and healthy to pay attention to what our competition is doing, sometimes we go overboard. And when we do, we can get pulled onto the Negative-Comparison-Train. Not good.
While I enjoy Instagram and reading blogs, there are times when I need NOT to look at what other people are doing. There are times when I need to unplug.
For example, when I am trying to come up with a blog post, it is not a good idea for me to look at other people’s blogs. Instead of becoming inspired, I usually become frustrated and discouraged. If I am in that mindset, I start doing some unhealthy comparing.
We want to use the internet as a way to stay connected, reach our audiences, and build a business community. We need to read other industry blog posts to stay informed. But if we are not in the right frame of mind, we can quickly fall into the trap of feeling like we aren’t doing enough, we aren’t unique enough, and we aren’t skilled enough. Not a great platform for creativity, right?
Remember, you are enough.
How to not fall into the trap of comparison:
Figure out what times do and don’t work for you to look at what other people are doing online. I know I have a better day when I don’t look online when I first wake up or right before I go to sleep.
Pay attention to what feels good and what doesn’t. If you find that you are falling into the comparison trap, take a step away and unplug for a bit. I love this quote by Steve Furtick, “Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” SO true!
Also, find ways to encourage others. By shifting your mindset to being more positive, you can reset and overcome your negative thoughts. We are all going through similar struggles - the person’s blog that you’re coveting has probably felt the same feelings you have!
4. You’ve lost sight of why you’re writing blog posts
If you’ve been writing blog posts for awhile, and you do not see a ton of traction, you may be asking yourself, “why am I doing this anyway?” Writing is hard. Coming up with ideas is hard. Consistently promoting your content is hard. But it is doing something for your business, even if you can’t see it.
Writing blog posts consistently has been proven to help your website’s SEO, strengthen your level of credibility, and build trust with potential customers. Your blog is a platform to build relationships, to connect with your audience, and to share your expertise. (Hello, content marketing!)
Are you using your blog strategically? In your mind, why ARE you writing blog posts?
I write blog posts for RDS because I want to answer questions for small business owners. I want to explain why content creation is so important and help small business owners become better writers and marketers.
How to refocus and find your why:
Sometimes all you need to do is sit down and write out your "why."
Why are you writing blog posts? What is your goal? How are you using your blog to grow your business and help your customers?
If the answer isn’t clear, maybe you need to reevaluate your content and come up with a new strategy. Make sure you aren’t just publishing blog posts because everyone else is doing it. Have a specific reason and goal!
Set measurable goals and keep track of them. Look at your Google Analytics and see which posts are doing the best. Then do more of that kind of post.
Can you relate to any of those feelings? I think most of us can.
Sure, blogging can seem like a massive undertaking, but it is worth it.
I have found that when I take the time to blog about topics I care about (like this one), and I know my customers are interested in, I am left feeling inspired and encouraged. It’s when I don’t give myself enough time and fall into the trap of comparison that I don’t want to write and I feel disenchanted.
What’s interesting about all of these struggles I mentioned, is that we cause them ourselves. Let’s get out of our own way and start producing content that is relevant, helpful, and energizing.
I promise that if you put your heart into producing valuable content that your customers need and want, you will see results. The results may not come tomorrow or next month, but they will come.
Tell me, what gets in the way of your blogging? How do you overcome these obstacles?