How to Blog More Consistently (And Stop Missing Deadlines)

How to blog more consistently

One of the hardest parts of running a blog is creating content consistently.

Things get in the way. You have other priorities. Family, pets, Netflix… How do you sit down and just pump out blog posts every week?

Don’t worry. In this article, I’ll give you five actionable tips to help you write more content on a consistent basis.

1.     Create S.M.A.R.T Goals

Sticking to your writing goals (or any goal, for that matter) can be difficult if there’s no plan in place. S.M.A.R.T. goals will help you rid yourself of guesswork and procrastination.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

An example of a writing goal may be:

“Create 3 new articles of content for my website each week.” o“I will write 36 articles of content for my website by the end of the second quarter of 2017.”

Play around with your S.M.A.R.T goals until you find a winning combination that you can adhere to.

2. Create an Editorial Calendar

Although many of us are aware of how important it is to create an editorial calendar, few actually take the time to do it. It’s like eating healthy and exercising; We know it’s important, but somehow our brains find other things to do.

Well, I have good news.

Creating an editorial calendar doesn’t have to be strenuous and you don’t have to overwhelm yourself with unrealistic, tight deadlines.  

Content Calendar

To create an editorial calendar that will stick, all you need is an idea of what you want to publish and when you want to publish it. Then, set a habit of writing at the same time and day every week. 

Jeff Goins, a world-renowned writer and blogger, believes you should set a 500-word minimum for this habit. 500 words is enough to say something important, while not being too overwhelming. 

3. Brainstorm with Evernote

Brainstorming has never been easier with the help of Evernote. As you begin to create a road map of your weekly content, you can easily store all of your blog post ideas in one place for easy access when it’s time to sit down and write.

Set time aside once a week to collect research for your upcoming blog posts using Evernote. Add notes to your collections so that you can add data, things to remember when writing, and other related findings for your article.

Check out our guide to brainstorming content topic ideas if you need more help.

4. Think from the End

It may be tough trying to create content for your site or client if you have no clear picture in mind.

Before you begin to write, take a few minutes to think about what you want the final result to be for your article. This will help you with two things:

  1. You’ll have the motivation to begin because you’ve cleared the mud from your eyes.
  2. You’ll have a better idea of what you want the reader to gain from reading the article.

You can also use this technique to think about the overall goal of creating more content. Are you looking to gain more subscribers or more shares? Thinking with the end in mind will give you the inspiration needed to get the job done.

5. Reward or Punish Yourself

Using Operant Conditioning, coined by B.F Skinner, you can train yourself to expect rewards or punishments when those writing projects are finished or left undone.

A reward may be treating yourself to your favorite restaurant or a fun vacation. A punishment may be paying for a round of drinks for your buddies or giving a friend or family member $100.

Use your S.M.A.R.T goals when coming up with your rewards and punishments so that you continue to stay on target.

Remember to remain flexible and allow for change while building new writing routines and habits. The idea is not to beat yourself up if your goals go unaccomplished but for you to improve upon what’s working. You’ll soon discover the right set of techniques for yourself to produce content you’ll be proud to share with your readers. 

5 Blog Post Types That Will Keep Your Readers Coming Back

Are you struggling to keep your readers coming back? Are you afraid that your content is boring and aren’t sure how to turn it around?

We’ve all been there. It gets tough writing so many similar blog posts, sometimes we just can’t figure out what else there is to write. Don’t worry; if it’s your goal to get a good following this year, the fact that you’re reading this shows you’re on the right track.

Let’s take a look at five blog post types you can use to keep your readers coming back.

1.    How-To Posts

How-to posts are arguably the most popular posts for an important reason: they bring the most value to readers. Whether the post is teaching you how to crochet, bake a cake, or wax your car, it’s packed with valuable information that your reader may not be able to find elsewhere.

You could also film yourself doing whatever it is you’re writing about and put it at the end of the article telling them if they want to see you put these steps into action, to watch the video. Pictures are another great source of information and will help your readers along the way.

Make sure that you’re being as specific as possible when writing these posts. Your readers are looking to learn from these types of articles. They may even bookmark it to come back again!

2.    List Posts

Get more traffic with these blog post types

Guess what? You’re reading a list post right now! List posts are great because they allow you to write as little or as much as you’d like, while easily breaking each section up. This makes list posts extremely easy to follow.

The best part about list posts is that each section is different from the last. This is great for readers who find themselves getting bored very easily when reading the same thing over and over. List posts are able to hold the attention of your readers and, if you’re good at them, you’ll leave your readers wanting more.

3.    News Posts

News blog post type

If you have a decent following on your blog and want to keep your readers updated on what’s happening in your industry, a news post will do the job perfectly. While news posts are wanted, you have to be on top of what’s going on. After all, no one wants to hear about yesterday’s news.

On the flip side, you could talk about the history of your industry. For example, DesignHill created a cool post on the history of logos. The main point? Try to think outside the box.

4.    Roundup Posts

Roundup posts are great for not only your readers, but you, too! They give you a chance to become closer to bloggers, leverage other bloggers’ content, and even allow you to create great content while providing great content! It’s a win-win for all involved.

Check out the post we wrote on how to write a great roundup post if you want to learn more!

5.    Case Study Posts

Blog post types - Case study example

Image Via: zapier.com

Case study posts are incredibly beneficial to readers. This is because people want to know that they can relate to others. Meaning, if someone has a problem going on in their life and they hear that someone else went through the same problem, they’re more likely to listen to what the other person did/said.

Case studies are real life examples shown to the reader in a step-by-step process in a scientifically detailed way. They end in a conclusion which tells the reader what the results were of said case study.

If you want more info, check out this article from Kissmetrics on how to create a great case study!

Conclusion

Knowing what to write about is one of the biggest struggles bloggers face. Hopefully, these blog post types helped spark new ideas for your blog.

If you still don’t know what to write about, head over to our guide to blog topic idea generation.

We hope that you found these tips and tricks helpful. If you have any questions or more ideas to add, leave a comment below!

Is your content boring?

Got boring content?

We all know blogging is a major traffic driver in the online business world.

In fact, WordPress has found that users produce about 73.9 million new posts per month – that’s 2.4 million posts per day or about 1,670 posts per minute. And that’s just on WordPress sites.

In order to make your post stand out and not suck, it has to be not only informative but also engaging and even entertaining.

Is your content boring? ‘Cuz if it is, you’re not beating the 1,600 other posts published at the same time as yours.

Oh… and boring means bad things for SEO, too.

Here’s what you need to know:

What makes “good” content?

Rand Fishkin, founder of SEO company Moz, believes good content takes four things:

  • Serves visitors’ intent by answering their questions and helping them complete their goals
  • Delivers an easy, pleasurable, accessible experience on every device and every browser
  • Gets the right information and experience to visitors FAST
  • Does all of the above better than any of the competitors in the space

So, in order for your content to be good, it has to be valuable to your readers and better than the competition. But you can write something that’s valuable and better, but still boring.

Why does it matter if your content is boring?

Boring content is bad for SEO. Boring content is bad for your readers. And, worst of all, boring content is boring to write.

Because boring content is boring, people won’t engage with it. This means:

  • A shorter time on page (which lowers your search rankings)
  • People aren’t actually reading your posts
  • You won’t receive as many comments, shares, or opt-ins

How to make your content more interesting

Even if you’re writing about an incredibly boring topic (like insurance agency acquisitions, or something) you can still use some basic writing elements to make it entertaining!

To make your content better, try these:

  • Use interesting analogies and metaphors. A great metaphor is like a gummy vitamin – they turn a bad-tasting (but good for you) habit into something tasty.
  • Provide plenty of media. Images, charts, graphs, videos, infographics… the more the better, as long as they’re relevant.
  • Format your blog posts for easy reading. Huge walls of text are boring and intimidating.
  • Let your personality shine through! This will get easier as you practice writing more.

Conclusion

While content is still important, quality matters far more than quantity. Focus on what your readers need, do away with the self-promotion, and add some jokes here and there. You’ll find these steps will take a drab post and turn it into something fun and entertaining.

What methods have you used to spice up your writing? Let us know in the comments below!

Where to Get Blog Topic Ideas & Inspiration

Blog topic ideas and inspiration

It can be tough to find blog topic ideas. We’ve all been there – staring at a blinking cursor, waiting for words to come out. Then…

Nothing.

Your brain just doesn’t want to give you any ideas. It’s like all your creativity is just zapped away.

It happens to the best of us. My advice?

Get away from the blinking cursor of doom!

The longer you sit and stare, the less likely you are to come up with anything useful. Instead, go do something else. In fact, here are four “something elses” you can try:

Read Other Content for Blog Topic Ideas

Often times, my best ideas come while reading. In fact, most of the world’s billionaires (and millionaires) have one thing in common: They all read. A lot. Heck, Warren Buffet says he reads eight hours a day. Eight hours!

If billionaires need other people’s words to come up with ideas, what hope do we have? Do yourself a favor and start reading. Some things you can read include:

  • Fiction books (You shouldn’t just read books in your subject matter!)
  • Business books (I highly recommend The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale and Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joe Sugarman)
  • Other blogs, either in your niche or a different subject entirely

I often find I get inspiration that not only fills me with blog topic ideas but also motivates me to get started on them right away!

Related Reading: Write killer blog posts with this template

Watch videos

Just as reading helps stimulate the brain to connect new ideas, so too does watching educational videos. When I say educational, that doesn’t mean they have to be boring! I find TED talks to be both informative and fascinating.

Some of my favorite TED talks include:

You can also check out some YouTube channels, like What I’ve Learned or ASAP Science. Be warned, though – you might start with one video, then spend hours watching them!

Ask Your Blog Readers

This is one of my personal favorite ways to get new blog topic ideas. You can send a survey to your readers using a tool like Typeform or SurveyMonkey, or take a poll on Twitter.

This helps in two ways:

  1. You get to know exactly what your readers want to read about, so you won’t be shooting in the dark with topics.
  2. You’ll learn more about your readers, which will help you develop better content and engage with them.

Finally, if none of these things work, think about movies.

Get Takeaways From Movies

Have you ever been inspired by a movie? Motivated to take a stand?

Movies are powerful like that because they are stories with lessons to be taken away. Think back to the last time you felt motivated by a movie, then think of the message behind that. What’s at the core of that story? Can you write a post about that?

One time this happened to me was after watching a movie starring Will Smith and his son: The Pursuit of Happyness. It made me think of perseverance and doing something to better those around you, not just yourself. Plenty to be written about that!

Conclusion

If you’re feeling stuck, get away from the keyboard and break out a book. Do something entirely different. Give your brain some “food for thought”.

Of course, there are many other ways to get blog topic ideas – talk with friends or colleagues about it, go for a walk, get some exercise – but, the point is that thinking harder simply won’t work. That’s like telling your fireplace you’ll supply the wood once it supplies the fire. It’s backward!

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. What have you done to give yourself blog post ideas? Let us know in the comments!

Read Next: How to Promote Your Blog and Get More Traffic

Using Stories to Boost Your Blog Engagement

Using stories to boost your blog engagement

It was a dark and stormy day. A house sat in the woods, shutters smacking off the siding as thunder cracked in the air. Rain poured relentlessly off the metal roof with a “rat-tat-tat”.

Two men stood in the open doorway, staring inside. A family sat in the living room, watching a scary movie on TV. No one heard the men come in. And then…

Are you captivated yet? That’s the power of a good story – it can suck you in better than facts, advertisements, or anything else. Humans have been telling great stories for thousands of years, from cave paintings to modern-day movies. We love a good story.

In fact, researchers found that when we hear a story, the parts of our brain light up as if we were acting out the story! 

That means if we hear about someone running, the parts of our brain in charge of running light up. If we hear about someone picking something up, the parts associated with picking things up lights up.

That’s not all! Stories capture our attention and make us forget about everything else. If you’ve ever watched a kid watch a cartoon, you know exactly what I mean. They’ll even talk to the TV as if they were in the show!

This is great news for us bloggers. Story-telling can keep our readers engaged and push them to take action.

In this post, I’ll explain how to tell a great story (or where to find one) and how to use it in your blog posts.

Gather round the fire, it’s storytime!

The Elements of Great Stories

Of course, there is a lot that goes into writing and storytelling. Some people dedicate their whole lives to mastering the craft.

However, we’re all capable of telling stories. It’s one of the fundamental ways of communicating. If you’ve ever told your significant other how your day went or told someone about the crazy time you went to the mall and someone was dressed up like a banana, you’ve told a story!

So, what are the elements of a great blog story opener?

  • Tell a true story. Did you make $50 selling something you made? Deal with an angry customer beautifully? Blow up a watermelon in the backyard? Steal a Gamecube controller from GameStop when you were a little kid? Tell people about it! Truth makes stories resonate with people.
  • Tell your customer’s stories. If your customers (or readers) engage with you, share their tales! They’ll feel honored, you don’t have to waste time coming up with something, and it will resonate with your other readers. Win-win-win!
  • Keep it simple. You’ll notice the opening story was barely two paragraphs. You don’t need to go on a tangent – just say what you need to say, relate it to your blog topic, and move on.
  • Don’t use fancy words. Try to keep your writing to a 7th-grade reading level, at most. You can check your writing’s reading level using a tool like Hemingwayapp.

If you can’t come up with a great story, look around you! There are great stories everywhere. TV shows, movies, video games, books, blog posts, friends, family… even strangers have great stories!

Keep your ears open and keep a pen and paper or notes app ready to write it down so you don’t forget!

Using Storytelling In Your Blog Posts

Have you ever listened to a speaker tell a funny joke, then follow it up with something like, “Anyway, on to this incredibly boring presentation.” It had nothing to do with the content – it was just to get a cheap laugh. You don’t want to be that person.

Relate your story to your topic. 

It’s not that hard, either. I’ve seen random funny stories about ducks relate to selling in eCommerce. With a little creativity, you can find a way to make them relate.

Conclusion

There you have it – storytelling is at the core of every great blog post, book, and business. Use stories in your posts to boost engagement, get your readers hooked, and make them take action.

What kind of stories have you told on your blog? Did they get more engagement? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!

Write killer blog posts with this template

Write killer blog posts with this free template.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say it takes a ton of time to write killer blog posts.

But it doesn’t always have to be that way.

You can use a template to cut the time it takes to write a great blog post in half!

In today’s post, I’m going to share with you an amazing blog post template you can steal and use as you please. Excited?

You should be.

Why use a template?

If you’re not convinced by the whole “cut your writing time in half” part, there’s more.

Using a template can improve your end product. 

Having all your ducks in a row before you start writing makes the writing process smoother, quicker, and easier. It also makes the resulting post flow better and simply be written better.

Oh, and did I mention you can use this template for eBooks, webinars, and speeches as well?

What’s in the template?

Glad you asked!

In this free template, you get:

  • A proven 9-step process to creating your draft
  • A simple, easily repeatable system to write amazing blog posts
  • Extra tips to ensure you’re making your content as good as possible

Don’t wait – download your free template now!

One simple thing holds people back from success

What is the one thing?

Inaction.

They procrastinate in every possible way, from “researching” to “waiting for the right time”.

The perfect time will never come. The right time is now.

So, don’t wait. Download the ultimate writing template and start writing better blog posts right away.

Once you’ve got your template and you’re ready to write, check out our guide to getting more people to read your blog.

Of course, the next step after writing an article is promoting it and getting more traffic.

That’s all there is to it! You’re going to be a blogging machine once you’ve followed these steps.

How to Get 80% More People to Actually Read Your Blog Posts

How to get 80% more people to actually read your posts.

Yes, you heard that right – you can increase the number of your visitors who actually read your content by 80%!

Xerox found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.

Here’s the secret to taking advantage of that fact:

Insert highly enticing media in your blog posts. 

Media is the key to getting people to read.

In this post, I’m going to show you what qualifies as highly enticing media and where to find it so you can get people to stay on your website longer and actually read your posts.

Let’s get right to it.

What is “highly enticing media”?

Highly enticing media is:

  • Colorful and relevant images (no cheesy stock photos!)
  • Graphs, charts, and other ways to visually show statistics.
  • Embedded content such as videos, tweets, or infographics.

The most important of these points is relevancy.

Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.

Content with relevant images and media gets 94% more views than content without.
via QuickSprout
Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. Click To Tweet

Pro Tip: Awesome images get people to ready your content, but headlines get them to click on it in the first place. Make sure you’re also writing great headlines.

Where to find enticing media

There are a few places I go to find good media:

  • YouTube for video content.
  • Twitter (every Tweet is embed-able).
  • Similar blogs in your niche (just be sure to give credit for the image).
  • Google (again, give credit!)
  • Free stock image sites (like Unsplash or Stocksnap.io)

Of course, the best way to get enticing media is to create your own. You can use a free tool like Canva to create infographics and images of all kinds (it’s kind of amazing).

How to create your own media

Canva created an easy-to-follow video to learn their platform in just three minutes.

Once you understand the basics, the hard part is figuring out what to create.

Here’s one way:

Take a statistic related to your post, then turn that into a quick little graph or image.

It took me less than five minutes to create this:

75% of people who read this will click the link at the end of this article for a quick laugh.

If you need more ideas on what to create for your post, you can also:

  • Repurpose old how-to posts into infographics.
  • Create a Tweet for the purpose of embedding it.
  • Create a Slideshare.
  • Record a video of yourself explaining your points more in-depth.
  • Turn your blog into an audio-blog by reading it and embedding the audio file at the top of the post.
  • Add a “Click to Tweet” as a break in your content. (You can do this with the ClicktoTweet plugin if you use WordPress.)
  • Add images with quotes over-top them.

Einstein quote, "In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity."

Don’t wait – go find or make some media to add to your content right now.

What’s your favorite kind of media to add to your blog? Let us know in the comments below.

Oh, and one more thing:

Once you get people to read, the next step is getting them to take action.

(Click here if you’re one of the 75%!)

7 words that make your reader stop and take action

7 words that make your reader stop and take action

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

That’s a quote by Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts. He may be a fictional character, but his quote is certainly grounded in reality. Words are magical, capable of great things.

Words are magical, says Albus Dumbledore. You can use them to your advantage. Click To Tweet

Not all words are created equal, however. Some are more powerful than others. Here are seven words that will make your reader stop what they’re doing and sign up for your newsletter, download your ebook, or buy your product.

#1: Discover

The first word is “discover”. It has an almost magical sound to it, doesn’t it? Like you’re about to discover a lost land, a buried treasure, or a hidden secret to getting more traffic to your website.

Discover is a great word to use in a headline or a call-to-action (CTA). You could write something like, “Discover 5 ways to get rid of your acne now!” It makes a great headline and an equally great link to an ebook or product.

#2: Reveal

Similar to discover, “reveal” has a mystical property. It’s like you’re pulling back the curtain to reveal a magician’s (aka a “marketer’s”) secrets.

The word 'reveal' has a mystical property. Like you're pulling back the curtain. Click To Tweet

You could write a CTA along the lines of “Click here to reveal the dirty little secret about social sharing for your blog“. Tempting, isn’t it?

#3: Secret

Something that’s revealed is almost always a “secret”, is it not? People love to hear about secrets because of our natural need for hierarchy. If we know something someone else doesn’t, it gives us a leg up.

As an example, use a headline or CTA like, “5 Secrets Social Media Marketing Masters Don’t Want You to Know”.

#4: Quick (or Fast)

There are two things in this world everyone wants more of; money, and time. If you can give people a way to save time, they’ll love you. Because of our need to save time, when we see the word “quick”, we naturally gravitate toward it.

You could use a CTA like, “Here are 5 quick ways you can get the most of your marketing budget.”

#5: New

We all like new stuff, right? Like secrets, getting something “new” makes people feel they have an edge. If it’s new, it might mean not a lot of people have it yet. It’s also a status symbol if you have new things.

An example CTA might be, “Get your new guide now!”

#6: Free

This is the holy grail of power words. Remember before when I said people like to save money and time? Well, here’s the money part! If it’s free, it’s for me.

Here’s an example: “Get your FREE worksheet now!”

#7: You

Did you notice 5 out of the 6 CTA examples I gave above contained the word “you” (or “your”, for you smart alecs out there)?

You are the most important person in your life. Everyone else is the most important person in their lives. That’s what makes “you” so special – it pertains to the most important person in the world!

Some Extra Tips on Headlines and CTA

Now you’ve got seven powerful words. But it doesn’t stop there! Here are a few tips to get the most of your new-found power:

  • Use multiple “action” words (i.e. “Discover the Newest Secrets of Millionaires… for FREE!” or “Click here to reveal the secrets to losing weight fast and free“)
  • Be specific about the benefits and time or money involved (i.e. “Find out how you can increase email signups by 300% in just 30 minutes“)
  • Provide data (ie. “One study found that sitting can cut 10 years off your life. Click here to find out why.”)
  • Know your audience. If you don’t, it won’t matter how good your headlines or CTAs are.

Hungry for more? Go check out our 5 quick & dirty steps to writing a top headline or read about how BlogWorks gets you blog traffic.

Good luck!

4 Steps to Never Miss Another Blog Post

4 Steps to Never Miss Another Blog Post Again

Have you ever been to a blog, only to find they haven’t added a post for months, or randomly update it in batches? Will you ever subscribe to a blog like that?

I won’t – and most other people won’t, either.

In fact, Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi), the founder of Content Marketing Institute, published an entire hour long podcast about the importance of consistency in blogging and content marketing.

Consistency is one of the keys to a successful blog. People will come to expect your blog posts, and if you don’t deliver them when and where you say you will, you’ll undermine their trust and lose potential customers.

Obviously, you don’t want that. But blogging is so easy to forget about – after all, you have a business to run!

All hope is not lost. There are four steps you can take to never miss another blog post, and start seeing the results you want from your blog.

Step #1: Set a Publishing Timeline

You can publish monthly, biweekly, weekly, or multiple times a week. If you want to establish yourself, setting a goal to publishing two-three posts per week seems to be a sweet spot.

The important thing to keep in mind is this: Only commit to something you know you can keep up with. Blogging three days a week for two months, then cutting it back to once a week, will upset your audience and reduce your credibility.

Blogging three days a week for two months, then cutting it back to once a week, will reduce your credibility. Click To Tweet

Step #2: Create a Content Calendar

A content calendar is, well, a calendar of when your content will be published.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a calendar – you can use Trello or a spreadsheet instead. I like Google Calendars, though.

Here’s an example of what a content calendar might look like:

Never miss another blog post when you create a content calendar.

You’ll notice the calendar includes:

  • The publish date
  • The due date (meaning the article is finished and ready to be published)
  • The author (if you have multiple authors on your site)
  • The topic/title
  • The details of what the post should be about or include
  • Keywords you want to rank for
  • Personas you’re writing for
  • The offers or calls to actions (CTAs) you’re going to include
  • The goal of the post
  • Any helpful links, such as resources to link to

You can also use your content calendar as an blogging idea bucket list so you never run out of content ideas.

Step #3: Set Up Notifications and Get an Accountability Partner

Once you have your content calendar in place, it’s easy to set up notifications to remind you when your posts are due.

Google calendar allows you to set an email or text reminder hours or days before the due date. Trello also lets you set up reminders. If you use Google Sheets or another spreadsheet, you’ll have to set reminders another way, like IFTTT.

Additionally, finding someone to hold you accountable to sticking to your schedule will help a lot. If you don’t have coworkers or employees you can ask, branch out to friends or family.

Step #4: Write Posts in Advance

If you set up your content calendar properly and built a list of content ideas, you’ll be able to write posts way ahead of time and schedule them to be posted on the correct date and time.

This step is the most important to never missing a post. There will be weeks when you won’t have the time or motivation to write. Things happen. But if you write your posts ahead of time, you can do your writing in bulk and take less time in the whole process.

Conclusion

Consistently posting high-quality content to your blog is a necessity. You won’t be able to build a loyal following or see the results you want otherwise. So set up a system to make consistency as easy as possible!

Remember, however; consistency alone isn’t enough to see results.

The other side of the content marketing coin is marketing. You need to promote your content as well!

It can be difficult to remember to share your posts multiple times and come up with unique things to say after you spent all that time writing. Automate the process of social sharing with BlogWorks!