Four steps to create kick-ass blog posts

In the three part series Eminence in the Social Age, authored by Katie Keating and myself, detailed the what is, why and how to of working on becoming the go-to person in your area of expertise with the aid of social media. This follow-up post extends the how to with additional tips and tricks for writing high value blog posts.

1. Unleash your creativity

Sometimes the hardest part about writing a memo, report, or proposal is getting the words on paper. This great management tip from Harvard Business Review provides some very simple advise: Write Your First Draft Fast!

The key is to write all of your thoughts down before you can overthink them. Then decide how to best structure them. Once you’ve done that, rapidly write your first draft. Don’t wait for inspiration. Write against the clock, giving yourself 5-10 minutes for each section. Resist the urge to perfect as you write. Save the editing until the draft is finished. If you find yourself stumped, move on to a section you’re more comfortable with and come back to the problem area once you’ve found your flow.

kick-assSome very practical tips to do so can be found in the blog post 5 Ways to Increase the Flow of Ideas and Improve Your Writing Productivity.

  1. Be Prepared for Spontaneous Ideas
  2. Stay Away from Strict Scheduling
  3. Create a Simple File with Your Daily Blogging Routines
  4. Have a List with Possible Future Posts
  5. Feel Free to “Borrow” a Concept

2. Sharpen for high quality content

But don’t let go of the quality of your writing, here are some 10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy. On September 7th, 1982, David Ogilvy, iconic businessman and original “Mad Man”, sent the following internal memo to all agency employees, titled “How to Write”:

  1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
  2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
  3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
  5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
  6. Check your quotations.
  7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.
  8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
  9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
  10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

3. Stay respectful!

Also try to follow these simple rules of engagement:

  1. You are personally responsible for content you publish on-line. Remember that what you publish will be searchable and in the public domain.
  2. Be mindful of your professional reputation and make sure your profile and what you publish is consistent with how you wish to present yourself.
  3. Respect your audience.
  4. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace.
  5. Don’t pick fights, be the first to correct your own mistakes.
  6. Add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective. Don’t provide confidential, proprietary or sensitive business information.
  7. Don’t talk about clients, partners or suppliers without their approval.
  8. Respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws.

4. Monitor, track progress and learn

And naturally, you need to make most of your effort and monitor your progress. There are some good books on how to promote your blog posts, but frankly I still have to read the first one. I did however use the infographic 30 ways to promote your blog post with some good tips I also follow.

Don’t be shy in promoting; you spend all this time creating creative and high quality content, make sure that people get a chance to read and learn from it by letting them know that your content exists.

By Edwin Schouten, find out more on edwinschouten.nl or follow me via @schoutene.

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