Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Six tips for slogging through blogging: Lessons from the Blogathon

“How can I force myself to blog regularly?”

The investment and wealth managers in my blogging teleclass often ask this question. I grappled with this challenge during the Word Count Blogathon, for which I committed to post daily. So now’s a good time for me to share tips with you.

Tip 1: “Set it and forget it.” Most blogging platforms allow you to schedule blog posts in advance. This potentially lets you put your blog on auto-pilot when you’re busy. During the Blogathon I learned how to take automation one step further. I set HootSuite to tweet my blog posts without human intervention. Read about "How to Add an RSS Feed" using HootSuite.

Tip 2: Blog when the spirit moves you, whether or not your schedule requires you to post. It’s much easier for me to blog when I’m in the mood. On a good day I can push out three or more blog posts. To help me write regardless of location, I always carry a spiral-bound notebook or pad of paper. It’s worthwhile jotting down blog ideas, not only full-fledged posts. It’s much easier to blog when you don’t face a blank PC screen or piece of paper.

Tip 3: Write posts that are “evergreen” or tied to a future event, so you’ll have material to post when you’re too busy to write. “Evergreen” articles aren’t time-sensitive. Like a pine tree, they don’t lose their attractiveness with the changing of the seasons.

I scheduled a bunch of evergreens to run between May 16 and May 31, when I was distracted by attending the CFA Institute’s annual conference and going on vacation out West.

Blog posts tied to events such as the April 15 tax deadline or the August-September “back to school” season aren’t evergreen. But they can be written and scheduled long before a timely date for posting.

Tip 4: Keep it short. Short blog posts are okay. Just pick one point and explain it. This is how I dealt with Jeremy Grantham’s wide-ranging presentation to the FA Institute’s annual conference. Having trouble writing economically about your topic? Slice it narrower.

Tip 5: React to online articles or blog posts. Notice when you have strong feelings upon reading something. Your passion makes it easier for you to jot down a quick blog post that links to the original article. Links spare you the need to describe the other author’s position in detail. However, it’s kind to your reader to briefly summarize what sparked your blog post.

Tip 6: Hire someone to type your blog posts if you dictate or write your drafts on paper. I drafted this post on a plane to Las Vegas. Later I scanned it for my virtual assistant to type. Or follow the suggestion that Bill Winterberg of the FPPad blog gives in the comments below.

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Copyright 2010 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved

5 comments:

  1. Regarding Tip #6, you may want to look at text-to-speech applications.

    I started using Dragon Dictation on my iPad over the last week to get my ideas in text form. It does a surprisingly good job (in part because I intentionally speak like a robot) and saves me a little time and money not having to arrange transcription.

    Dragon Dictation is free for iPad and iPhone. Each dictation is limited to about 60 seconds, but you can say a lot in that time!

    Lastly, there's no shortage of dictation apps that support unlimited recording lengths for a reasonable fee. A Google search will yield the top providers.

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  2. Bill, this is a great suggestion. Thank you! I could never dictate, so it's great to be reminded of other people's approaches to creating their blog posts.

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  3. Great post. As you suggest in #2, I always carry a spiral notebook with me to jot down ideas. I also use the "notes" feature on my Blackberry.

    One question for you: in your comment on my blogathon wrap-up post (http://writinginsand.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/things-i-learned-during-the-blogathon/) you commented that if you were keeping Blogger you would add a Twitter follow button to your blog. If I can ask, why can't you add a Twitter button to wherever you are moving to? Just curious!

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  4. Beth,

    I'm moving my blog to my website where a Twitter follow button already appears on every page. If it weren't there already, I would add it.

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  5. This is a great list, Susan. Even though my blog is pure fluff, I can use a lot of your suggestions.

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