So you want to start a blog. Great! ...Now what?
Before we go further, something to note:
This is all under the impression that you're serious about blogging and are prepared to treat it like a business rather than just a hobby. Whether or not you want it to actually become one is up to you, but if you want your blog to stand out, you'll need to work at it like you're getting paid to.
Blogging takes work. It's FUN work when you're passionate about what you create and the people you're creating for. But don't expect to coast by without any real effort and see big payoffs. It's just not gonna happen. #GettinRealHere
Today, I'll be showing you the first 3 things I did when I decided to take blogging seriously and how you can do them yourself to create a strong foundation for you and your blog!
1. Stop researching. Start doing.
Wanna know what I used to tell myself every day?
- "I have to learn more about x, y, and z first. Then I can start."
- "I'll start another day. I'm not ready yet!"
- "I need to research how to do this first."
Ahem, excuse me. What I meant to say was... BULL. FREAKIN'. SHIT. ;)
While we should always seek to learn more and grow, research can turn into a never ending circle if you let it. I was stuck in that circle for 3 years until just a few months ago, always telling myself that someday I'd start a blog. Someday I'd start a business.
You and I both know that "someday" never comes. But TODAY is here right now. Take advantage of it.
Don't let fear control your life. Take action.
If you're waiting until you're completely ready, you're gonna be waiting a loooong time, my friend. You can read every blog post, watch every video, but until you actually put into practice what you're learning, it's never going to do you any good.
And guess what? You already have what it takes to get started.
So start! Experiment. Find out what works best for YOU. The only way you're going to do that is by taking action.
Break down goals into mini-milestones.
It's so easy to become overwhelmed by all your big/awesome/epicsauce ideas and goals. And that overwhelm can be completely paralyzing.
This is when some breakdowns are in order.
There are a couple ways you can go about doing this:
- Write the different required steps or tasks on note cards or sticky notes.
- Create a list in a word document.
- Record yourself voicing out loud what you need to do.
Don't worry about order right now. Just name off everything you can think of as they come to you. From this, you can then rearrange everything to create a project timeline.
To give you an example, here's what my project timeline looks like for the free email opt-in offer I'm currently working on.
- Assess survey answers I received to find commonalities.
- Brainstorm topic ideas to meet those needs.
- Decide on a topic.
- Decide on a format.
- Outline opt-in content + any necessary resources - worksheets, audio/video, images, etc.
- Create content.
- Design visuals and resources.
- Set up opt-in in MailChimp.
- Test to make sure everything works properly.
- Create promotional images and/or a cover page.
- Launch on the blog.
- Send email announcement.
Over the course of the project, some of your tasks may alter or further develop into additional tasks, but your timeline will at least give you a starting point.
2. Get into the habit of writing every day.
Notice how I said writing. Not posting. There's a big difference. Pfft, most of my writing never sees the light of day!
But just as your muscles need consistent workouts to stay flexible and strong, so does your writing.
Do you have to write every day? Well, no. It's not a blogging law or anything.
But I've found that by putting it off for even a day or two, it makes it that much harder to get back into it and start writing again.
Making it a habit to write every day helps you stay consistent not only with your timing, but also your quality.
Related post: 7 Ways to Stop Procrastinating & Start Blogging
I swear by brain dumps because they've given me results every. single. time. Not exaggerating here. Whenever I'm stuck on what to write for a new post or a letter for the Weekly Adventures, I do a brain dump and BOOM. Buh-bye, mental block.
This is my go-to tool in my productivity toolbox, and I go more in-depth with it in this post.
But to briefly reiterate, here's what you can do to get started:
- Write non-stop for the next 10 minutes. No pauses allowed. Don't even go back to edit spelling or punctuation. Write everything that comes to mind even if it makes no sense or seems totally insignificant. Heck, you can even write "I don't know what to say" over and over again until you do. Just don't stop writing.
Get your fingers moving and get all of your thoughts out on paper, no matter what they are.
Listen to music.
I've found that playing music helps me focus a gazillion times better. My favorite playlists at the moment are Deep Focus and NOT Your Parents' Classical Playlist on Spotify.
(Mk, so the Wake Me Up cover by 2Cellos is my OBSESSION right now. I've probably listened to it at least 25 times already while writing this post.)
There are sometimes those rare occasions when I prefer to just have some background noise instead of music. When that's the case, I use this little gem called Coffitivity. If I can't leave the house to go to a real coffee shop, this app + my own cup of joe is a pretty damn good substitute!
3. Narrow down your focus.
When I first sat down to start planning my topics, I thought I had to blog about EVERYTHING.
I looked back at my old planning docs to find that I originally had 13 different topics (?!?!?). Everything from love & relationships to DIY & crafts... Okay, I can count on one hand how many craft projects I've completed after the age of 6. I'm not a crafty person AT ALL.
Needless to say, it was overwhelming to feel like I had to come up with content for all these different things. I was spreading myself too thin.
If you want your blog to grow and reach the right people, your blog needs to have a focus. Melyssa from TheNectarCollective.com has a kickass post on how to choose one that I encourage you to check out!
Focus on what you're truly passionate about.
If you're not truly passionate about something, people will be able to sniff that out a mile away. Your content won't be authentic, you won't enjoy creating it, and people won't enjoy reading it.
- Do I really enjoy this subject? Or do I feel like I should because it's popular?
- Do I have knowledge on or experience with this subject?
- Could I see myself creating content about this long term?
Define your WHY.
If you're still struggling with what focus on, it's time to get clear on your WHY. What drives you to do the things you do and help the people you help? What is the main purpose behind your brand?
To help you out, I've put together a free bonus worksheet for you.
Once you start blogging, you may find your focus begin to shift as you learn more about yourself and your audience. That's okay! With time, experience, and experimentation, you'll get a better idea of what you really enjoy blogging about and the audience you wish to serve most.
What are you doing today to take action on your goals?
So who wrote this, anyway?
Hey there! My name's Allison Barclay, and I'm a brand designer and mentor for adventurous creatives who carve their own path and don't play by the rules.
I'm here to help you get focused, take action, and set your brand ablaze. Click here to learn more!