The importance of posting regular content is something we talk about a lot at The Yardstick Agency.
But inspiration isn’t easy to come by. Finding the time to sit down and write can be tricky too.
Whether you’re looking to upload a topical investment piece, an evergreen guide to tax, or musings from a recent family holiday, there’s always the chance you’ll find yourself staring at a blank page.
Here are some tips to help you break the deadlock, meet your deadlines, and produce great content.
1. Set aside a time to write
You’re no doubt very busy. You have competing responsibilities vying for your attention and writing isn’t your main focus.
But if you want to post your own content, you’ll need to find time for it somewhere.
If it’s only realistic for you to write a couple of times a week, between 6.00 am and 7.00 am, or between 9.00 pm and 10.00 pm, so be it. Make that your time to write.
Commit to it as much as possible but accept that real-life will still get in the way sometimes.
Put aside more time than you need.
This gives you flexibility. It also takes the pressure off and stops you from being too hard on yourself if a writing slot gets filled with something else.
2. Make a schedule
Put a schedule together for the week or month.
Decide how regularly, and on what days, you’d like to get content out. Then use a diary, a scheduling tool, or Outlook’s calendar to map out your month.
Plot regular posts and think about the topic for each. Some subjects will complement each other and can be scheduled in adjacent slots. Others might need to be spaced apart.
You don’t have to stick resolutely to your plan, but a general map of your intentions will get you thinking about your content long before the deadline approaches.
Time how long you spend physically writing each blog.
That way, as well as inputting an upload date on your calendar, you can add a writing start date too. This should help prevent a last-minute rush.
It will give your content time to mature, to be rigorously edited, and ultimately to be the best it can be.
3. Keep track of your ideas
Create a bank of ideas that you can go back to at the start of each month.
Notebooks, Post-its, an actual drawing board? It doesn’t matter how you keep track of your ideas, just be sure that you do.
An app such as Evernote could help. Whenever you see a website or article that might make a good future topic, grab it before you forget it.
Clip and collate thoughts, opinions, and quotations from all over the internet. You’ll have a ready-made supply of inspiration when the time comes to put your monthly schedule together.
But remember that your schedule isn’t set in stone. A mix of evergreen subjects and topical pieces will make for the most interesting blog page. Don’t be afraid to alter the schedule if something else crops up.
And finally, don’t be shy about repeating yourself. If a message is worth relaying to your clients, it’s worth relaying multiple times.
Covering perennial issues like Inheritance Tax or pension options regularly means that your clients won’t need to scan through months of blogs to find the content they want.
You know your clients. Make sure your plan includes all the subjects of interest to them and they’ll never have to look far to find what they’re after.
4. Write it (and leave plenty of time for editing)
Then comes the hard part.
By having a schedule in place – and website, and article links already collated – you’ll have saved time on deciding what to write.
And because it’s been sitting in the calendar for a few weeks you might find you’ve been subconsciously thinking about it too. You know your stance on the topic, but maybe the structure has also become clear.
If not, now’s the time to think about how your article will flow. Are your arguments clear? Do they progress in a logical order? Is the benefit to your client – the reason why they should read your article to the end – clear?
Once the basic outline is done, write quickly. It’s the first draft. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
Get your ideas on to the page and finesse your work at the editing stage.
Leave yourself plenty of time for this part and be brutal. Anything that doesn’t further your argument or help your client understand the benefit you’re offering must go.
Spell check, Grammarly, Hemingway Editor – whatever you use to check your work for spelling punctuation and grammar, use it. And then use it again.
5. Let your readers know what’s coming up
Your monthly schedule isn’t written in stone but that doesn’t mean you can’t give your clients a flavour of what’s to come.
If you plan to talk about a complex topic over multiple blogs, let your readers know what they can expect in future articles.
Your clients will be more likely to come back to your website to check-in on it.
It will focus your mind too, applying gentle pressure to yourself to get the next instalment written and out on time.
And if you’re still struggling for inspiration?
Even with a fully mapped schedule and a mood board packed with great ideas, writing regular content isn’t easy.
It’s a drain on your time and your mental resources. That’s time and energy you could be using to help your clients directly.
At Yardstick, our team of content writers can produce great content on your behalf, tailored to your clients and your business. Get in touch by emailing [email protected] or calling 0115 8965 300.