Just Starting Out With Your Company Blog? Blog Writing Tips for Businesses
I get ideas for blog articles and useful news features at the strangest times. Like right now. This is the first of a series of blog writing tips that will help clients and I’m writing this with the rest of my household asleep, but when I get the idea for a feature or a blog post, I have to act upon it. It’s a characteristic I seem to have in common with many writers and if you’re just starting out trying to write content for your company blog, you’ve probably discovered one thing quite quickly. The fact is, setting aside from 1.00pm until 3.00pm to write just doesn’t work.
Your brain doesn’t work like that. You’ve probably found yourself staring at a white expanse of digital page on your screen, keyboard glaring back. It’s not happening and you become frustrated, disheartened. Don’t try and force words out into the page. You may well be one of the very few people on earth that bucks the trend and can write quality content ‘on demand’. If you are, well done. For the rest of us, here are some essential ways to be prepared, so that when you sit down to write some articles, you won’t feel fear and despair inside you.
Here’s the solution. First and most importantly, you’ll find that your ideas appear at the strangest of times. For me, it’s in the evenings, or when I’m driving. No doubt a neuro-scientist will be able to tell you why. But regardless of when the idea happens, you need a way to grab that thought, otherwise you’ll lose it. These ideas are like gold and it’s vital that you find a place to curate them. That way, when it’s time to write those articles you will feel far more confident in what you’re about to do. Here are a couple of tools that will help.
Evernote – It’s free. And regardless of what your platform of choice is, it’ll work for you. Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows. There’s a version that will work on every operating system and every device. Evernote uploads and saves your thoughts to your account, whether they’re text files, pictures, voice memos, emails. And then distributes your information across your fleet of digital devices, enabling you to work on an idea, save it automatically, then continue with the same idea later. Download Evernote here
EDIT – since I wrote this post, I’ve dropped Things as my GTD app. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Things but, like all of these apps, your data is locked into a system and difficult to export should things change. As I used Evernote more and more, I realised that it could actually work as a primary resource. Some Googling found me this excellent article on using Evernote as a GTD app called The Secret Weapon. My views on Things remain, it’s a good app. But I no longer use it myself.
A GTD App- I use Things by Cultured Code and is developed around the ethos of David Allen’s Getting Things Done philosophy. This app is available for Mac, iPhone, IPad and features a powerful tool set, grouping your information into projects, plus just as importantly, contexts. You can concentrate upon a project or list jobs by context. Such as when you have thirty minutes to wait for that train. No point in trying to make a call with all that background noise, look for those entries that you tagged as ‘Two Minutes”. Things can help you find something to do with that time slot other than buying a magazine you didn’t really want to read with that curled up sandwich you didn’t really want to eat. There are a whole array of productivity apps just like Things, with choice being a personal decision. This Lifehacker article is a useful overview of the different GTD apps for bot Mac, Android and Windows
Moleskine Notebooks – What, real paper? A notebook with actual pages, not digital ones? There are times when you don’t have the ability to digitally record what’s in your mind. I use mind maps on occasion. Mainly when interviewing someone or getting my thoughts in order for a 2,500 word feature, chatting through content ideas with clients or perhaps drafting out the structure of a clients new website. On those occasions, you need to simply doodle, go with your ideas and what the person is saying or what’s incoming into you head. Having a sheet of A4 paper will work, but they have a habit of running away and hiding when you go to transform those thoughts into something more actionable. A Moleskine notebook isn’t expensive, but it’s a quality product that can travel with you and is available in a variety of sizes and formats. I use a plain paper version and I keep the old ones as a kind of mental diary. Nothing chronological, just a record of my thoughts at that point in time that triggered the resulting story or project. Moleskine also collaborate with Evernote and have a notebook that can be scanned, photographed and sent to Evernote from your iPhone, where text recognition then turns it into an entry.
All of these tools should give you an inspiring pile of subjects for you to create content around. If you’ve managed to do this and now you’re grappling with your company blog and need some more substantial help, drop us a line. Turning your great ideas into useful articles for your customers is what we do for several clients, we can do the same for you if you have your golden nuggets of ideas. Drop us a line for a chat, we can cover a lot of ground in a simple conversation and get you started right away.