Maintaining your own business while doing client work is a little bit tricky sometimes. I put client work before TheCrownFox work, which means sometimes things like blog posts get pushed to the back burner. I had a strong process going earlier this year and it is something I am trying to re-implement now, so I thought I would share it with you to not only motivate myself, but to maybe give you some ideas for how to get more blog-bang for your buck….er, time.
MAKE MONTHLY GOALS/THEMES
What I had been doing previously, and started slacking on, was the idea of all my content pushing towards a goal. I think this was easier when I was launching something, because I wanted all my content to push towards that. Now that I’m more focused on client work my content, though still under the big umbrella of branding/business, has become a little bit scattered. I sat down last week and spent some time outlining my goals and making sure that I had a concrete vision for what I wanted to teach, talk about, and share for the next little bit.
You can do this too, no matter what your industry or blog relates too. Say it’s a cooking blog and you want to try to focus on a more thematic approach – maybe base each week’s recipes on the season of the year or related holidays. Or if you are a travel blog, you could theme it related to price of trips, regions of the United States or world, or something along those lines.
This might seem too restrictive to some people, but for me thinking of overall themes helps me to generate ideas and topics quicker, versus just staring at a blank page and waiting for an idea to come. I also keep a list of questions I’m asked about branding, business, or blogging to look back to and draw inspiration for themes from.
THINK BIG PICTURE, BREAK INTO PIECES
Along those lines of themes/goals, I like to start really big picture and then start narrowing down topics. So I might focus on content this month, and that could be further broken down into blog content, newsletter content, courses/products content, and so on.
For how my brain works, a mind map is the best way to start organizing these ideas. So I start by writing blogging, but then I realize blogging actually relates to content, which has so many more branches. I like working this way because a simple idea for a blog post suddenly turns into a month’s worth of content.
In the same regard of “big picture” I always want to make sure I tie back to my overall brand vision of being a branding resource to online businesses. So though this particular post is about blogging, really it’s about generating content and for an online business to grow big and strong, it’s my opinion that good content is vital. I just try to double check that what I am putting out and tying to TheCrownFox always leads back to that brand vision.
P.S. if you need some help with that, check out Branding 101: Building Your Base – it has a ton of useful information, including help with your brand vision!
OUTLINE IN BULK
Just a time tip, once you’ve generated lots of ideas through mind mapping and making themes – I’d go ahead and roughly outline some ideas right then and there. Your brain is already in the mode of generating ideas and it’s definitely easier to outline posts before just sitting down to write them.
I don’t outline heavily, I basically come up with the title and the main sub-headers (aiming for between 4-8). Sometimes I stick with what I’ve outlined, but other times it’s just a good reminder for where my head was at when I came up with the idea. I definitely like to leave time between coming up with the blog post idea/outline and writing, because then my brain has had time to simmer on it and develop strong ideas about what I want to say.
In the past I would outline about a month ahead of time. Now I’m only about two weeks ahead, but I am putting aside time to get back to that month ahead of schedule soon. It really does save time in the long run. Once I have a post outlined, actually writing it is significantly less daunting and can be done in a much shorter time.
WRITE WITH INTENTION
This is where I lacked the most focus when it came to blogging post-launch. I couldn’t figure out how to structure my blogs because there was no intention – I wasn’t pushing anything. Then I realized, wait, I’m an online business. I’m always pushing for clients. So I started writing about client related processes and topics, which worked out well for the time.
I thought a lot about this sub-head, because I didn’t know how to properly explain what I mean with “intention.” But I think I can summarize it by saying again that everything should be pushing towards that brand vision and helping to fulfill it in some way. That you shouldn’t write a post, or any content actually, just to put something up. In fact, you may have noticed I’ve skipped a few weeks’ blog posts lately – because I refused to just write something that didn’t serve a purpose or answer a question that I’ve been asked by my audience or peers.
PROOF + READ OUT LOUD
Once everything is written down and “finished” I create a draft of the blog post and create the social graphics. Then I forget about it for a few days, come back, and read it out loud to myself. I do this for a few reasons, actually. First I am just regular editing and checking for grammatical or spelling errors, but perhaps more importantly, I’m making sure the post actually sounds like me and how I talk. I want everything I put out to feel natural and normal and authentic, so by reading it out loud I can test this and change anything that feels out of place.
As far as things that are not in my process – I don’t ever look up anything related to what I want to talk about, since there are quite a few people who work in the same circle as I do. I don’t want to be influenced, so I avoid “research” at all costs. I recommend you write from what you know and have learned on your own versus what Google says! I also use Buffer and go ahead and schedule new posts to be shared heavily within the first week and then sporadically after that. Once the post is live I use Boardbooster* to cycle the pin into my Pinterest boards and related group boards to get exposure and I share it in different Facebook groups on their sharing days.
I’d love to hear more about your blog post process in the comments below! What’s the part that you struggle with the most? Maybe we can come up with some solutions together!
*That’s an affiliate link, but I use Boardbooster everyday and am a HUGE fan. It’s awesome.