7 Common Blog Writing Habits You Should Break
Today’s Tuesday, the day I write a new blog post.
I’ve scheduled it into my diary — it’s one of my blog writing habits.
So far, I’ve read and answered some emails, watched a 6-minute video and made myself a cup of tea.
½ hour’s gone by and I haven’t written one word.
Like you (and the rest of the world) I’m in lockdown, and I’m finding that the longer this thing lasts, the harder it gets to stick to a routine.
However, I know that if I want to achieve something TODAY, I need to, stop procrastinating and start writing.
Which segues nicely into my first point:
” You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.“
The #1 blog writing habit you should break:
And (obviously) you are not alone. As you can tell I’m an expert at procrastination. Having said that, I realise that it’s not doing me any favours, so I work on it. I’ve implemented a writing routine to instil more discipline into my day. After all they go hand in hand— routine and discipline. You need them to beat procrastination because it’s a hard habit to break. So, if like me, you love to dilly dally, here’s a couple of tips that’ll help make you more proactive.
Establish a Blog Writing Routine
A simple method for creating content
Planning and writing your blog post takes time. It’s a lot easier to achieve if you break the process down over a couple of days. I’ll show you how I do this later in this post.
To ensure it gets done, work out how often you want to publish a post, then block some time out in your diary on a set day, at a set time, once a month, or once a fortnight and stick to it.
It doesn’t matter what day or time you choose; it matters what works for you. For me, first thing in the morning every second Tuesday I nut out the first draft. Then on the following morning, I edit and proofread—that way if something unexpected comes up on either day, I don’t have to stress it. It’s done.
Forget about the dirty dishes in the sink, grab yourself a cuppa and sit down at your computer. But first (obviously), shut the office door (if you have one) or go to a quiet place, where you’re less likely to be interrupted, and tell everyone in your house not to disturb you because you are writing.
Then, log out of everything except Word (or whatever program you write your blogs with). By everything I mean all other programs that can lead to distraction – email, social media notifications, messages – anything that’s likely to pop up and shift your focus.
AND this includes your mobile —turn it onto silent or better still leave it in another room (out of sight out of mind).
“Your results are the product of either personal focus or personal distractions. The choice is yours.”
The #2 blog writing habit you should break:
You haven’t set a writing goal
Ask any writer what tip they can suggest for becoming a better writer and the answer will invariably be “WRITE”.
It’s well known that author Bryce Courtenay (Power of One) was one of Australia’s most successful commercial authors (he published over 20 novels). But what is less known is that he was also Creative Director of a successful Advertising Agency (remember the Mortein campaign – Louie the Fly?) so, Courtney would get up at 4.30 every morning and write 1500 words before heading off to the office.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Bryce Courtenay: Use bum glue.
OK, novels are longer than blog posts, but you get my point.
As an example, here’s my routine:
I will write 250 words, or I will write for 20 minutes – some days words flow other days not so much. Then, I will have a break for 15-20 minutes after which I’ll get back into it until I’ve written an outline and first draft. Then I’ll leave it for a day or two.
When I come back to it, the draft will be edited, proofread and rewritten numerous times before being published. The idea is to think of your first draft as as a ‘brain dump’. Just get it written.
Pro Tip: Outlining your blog post first will help the content to flow keep you on point.
The #3 blog writing habit you should break:
You haven’t defined a purpose for your blog post (before you started writing)
You know what they say?
Fail to plan- Plan to fail.
If you’re going to devote time to your business blog then it’s important to set goals for it.
After all, why are you blogging?
So before you type the first word think about this…
What’s the purpose of your blog post, what do you want it to do for your business?
Every post should have a purpose, for your business and for your audience. Otherwise it’s just another piece of irrelevant content among a sea of irrelevant content.
So it’s important to think about why you are writing it before you sit down to write the post.
Of course, every post will be different, depending on your business goals, but to help you answer this question, here are some beneficial outcomes for blogging:
- grow your audience
- educate your clients on your services and products
- introduce your new product or service
- get people to come along to your workshop, webinar, XYZ
- assist in establishing you as an expert
Sometimes your post may have more than one goal. If so, pick one main one.
“The secret of success is the constancy of purpose.“
What do your readers get out of your blog post?
After reading your post how with the reader benefit, what will they gain? People will invest their time reading your post if they think there’s something in it for them. So in the planning stage, think about how your content can make a difference to their lives. Are you helping them learn something new, understand something better or solve a problem?
Having a clear focus gives your writing direction and stops you going off on tangents. It also makes the entire writing process easier, because it also helps you to structure your post.
For example, what format the post will take is determined by the type of content you have. Is it easier for the reader to digest in a list format, a step by step process or an article (text based) post? Should you include video?
And by focusing on the goal you want your readers to achieve, it can help you pre-empt the answers they’re after, which give you your sub-headings.
The #4 blog writing habit you should break:
You don’t include a CTA
The #1 purpose of your CTA (call to action) is to capture leads. This is how your blog post works to grow your business and make you money. All good content needs a CTA, especially your blog posts as they are the perfect vehicle for them.
What do your readers to do after reading your post?
What action do you want your readers to take once they’ve read your post? Do you want them to further educate themselves by diving deeper into your topic? Then get them to download your ebook. Do you want them to register for your workshop? Then include a CTA to get them to pre-register.
All CTAs should link to a landing page on your website, that connects to your email list. From where you can continue a more personalised connection through tailored email marketing,
CTA’s should be clear, instructive and use persuasive language to lead readers to action. Some CTA’s take the shape of a button, a form or a combination of both.
Image: An example of an effective CTA
The #5 blog writing habit you should break:
You’ve written your post in one sitting
Writing a blog post in one sitting can have its benefits but it can also have its negatives.
The benefits – it’s done. Kudos to you, you’re a blog writing ninja.
Me, I prefer to write a post over a couple of days. This is an example of my routine and why I do it this way.
Day 1: First Draft written. (as mentioned in point XXX above)
Once I have this down, I do not touch it. Also known in some circles as the First Ugly Draft and for very good reason which probably doesn’t need explaining except to say that it will need further work. Which I leave for:
Day 2 or Day 3: (I may have a break in between).
Rewrite. This is where I spend an hour going over my post, rewriting, moving paragraphs around and proof reading. I also read it out aloud.
Reading your post aloud helps with editing.
Flow and rhythm are important to keeping your reader engaged. By reading aloud you will hear the flow of your language, from word to word, sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph.
Take note of any sentences or words that jar— these will cause your reader to hesitate and to start scanning instead of reading— or worse—to lose interest. You can avoid this by being mindful of jargon, wordiness, clutter and long winding sentences that should be split into two.
The #6 blog writing habit you should break:
You haven’t proofread or edited your content
Some people may think that grammar and spelling mistakes don’t matter so much in these days of self-publication. I totally disagree. You can be forgiven one or two spelling mistakes, even the odd grammatical error, but any more than that comes at great risk to your credibility. I’ve seen copywriters publish documents with typos and misspelled words. Copywriters!
Like wearing a tie splattered with the remnants of the curry you ate for lunch, it’s sloppy. It doesn’t present a good impression and you risk to be not be taken seriously. There is no excuse, proof-read your work then run your blog post through spell check or better still use one of these writing/grammar apps Hemmingwayapp.com or Grammarly.com
The #7 blog writing habit you should break:
You haven’t promoted your post
You put your heart and soul into your blog post, so why not make sure as many people see it as possible?
SEO will only go so far. To gain a following you need to get your latest blog post out there. Once you’ve uploaded and published your blog on your website, let everyone know it’s arrived.
- post a link to your post on all your social media platforms (add it to your bio in Instagram)
- send it out to your email list
- add a link to your email signature
- Break down your post into multiple pieces of content to keep it interesting. Then continue to promote it for a couple of weeks after publication to get as much traction as possible.
When I started blogging it used to take me forever. I’d slave over an article sometimes for days. As I progressed I learned about pacing myself, breaking tasks up over a couple of days, outlining and structuring. I learned as much as I could about the process. I started to feel less overwhelmed and more productive.
You might think that it’s all to hard. That you don’t have enough time for writing blogs. This is what I’d like to suggest.
- Start by taking small steps.
- Set a writing routine and start writing.
- Set a couple of goals and start outlining.
- Pace yourself. Write and edit in stages.
- Remember to proofread and grammar check
- Then promote the s*** out of it.
That’s how it’s done.