When we want to get better at something, like eating healthier or getting more comfortable introducing ourselves at a networking meeting, we know what to do … we go onlinE and do “G-search” (Googling to do research).
If it’s a familiar topic, research may not be required, and we might re-read something we benefited from before … or think back to a time when we were “better” at the desired habit. But at some point, we have to buckle down and start doing the work — spending time on it each day or week, so we can get better and reap the benefits of our new or renewed focus.
If you’re ready to improve your writing game, create and follow a training plan to build your blogging muscles.
Five Exercises to Build Your Blogging Muscles
I’ve been writing for a living for years now. It’s part and parcel with the work I do as a career marketer. (I talk about my background here.) I’ve been blogging on and off for years, too, writing guest posts for others’ blogs, writing posts for clients, blogging for non-profits, writing articles for an internal blog (where company employees were the audience) and writing content for several blogs of my own.
Even with my long-time writing experience, writing for my own blog isn’t something I always prioritize. (The tired analogy of a cobbler’s barefoot kids comes to mind.) But I recently began coaching myself to buckle down and work on building my blogging muscles.
If you’re new to business (or personal) blogging, you’re welcome to follow my muscle-building plan, too:
- Read up (or listen in) on how to become a better blogger. With a little G-search, you can easily find tips, tricks and tactics to build your blogging and writing skills and also inspire you. Set a goal to immerse yourself in this material daily or weekly (how many minutes is up to you). My go-to resources now include reading Daily Blog Tips, Write to Done, Inspiration for Writers and the periodic musings from Everybody Writes author and content marketing expert Ann Handley. There are podcasts for writers and bloggers, too — but even though I’m a serious podcast fanatic, I haven’t checked out the selection in this category yet. But now that I wrote this post, I sure plan to!
- Do the time by writing on a “regular basis.” Right now, I’m committed to writing at least one blog post a month. For clients that I write for, the number of posts per month can vary. For my women’s gym client back in Kansas City, I write one blog post a month. It’s a pace we’ve kept almost consistently for three years now that works for the gym owner and me. I write 2–3 articles each month for my California-based consulting firm client, and that frequency has helped to build out their thought leadership and keep their site traffic high, too. The ideal output is up to you and your business blog — just write regularly (hence, my quotation marks around “regular basis” earlier) and consistently, so your blogging muscles stay flexed and your blog looks “open for business.” Something to think about as you establish that regular schedule: Studies have shown that companies that blog 16+ times per month get 4.5 more leads than those that post four or fewer times each month. While this brisk pace wouldn’t make sense for my blog or the companies I write for, I find it inspiring and motivating to see what more blogging can do.
- Update older content and repurpose with a purpose. Did you write something in the past that could be updated and reused again today? Take advantage of your former handiwork by refreshing it to: a) get you in the habit of re-looking at old work with a more experienced eye; b) have something new for your blog or other content piece; and c) hit scale so your blog content is more built-out and robust. The latter is what I’ve been doing on this blog by looking at old content I wrote for former blogs and other mediums I’ve known and loved. It’s all my writing, so I can decide when it’s time to repurpose it! And speaking of repurposing with a purpose, here’s an article that I updated on the topic of getting more mileage from your content.
- Polish your craft by working with a coach or mentor or taking a class. Late last year when I was thinking about my marketing consulting business, my somewhat-neglected website and my on-again-off-again blogging, I decided I could use a business coach to help me accomplish more in the coming new year. (Here’s who I’m working with, if you’re curious.) I’m just a few weeks in on working with this coach and already see the benefits of hiring her. Other options you can consider include finding a mentor, be it a fellow business owner or consultant or a blogger, who could take you under his/her wing. (Finding someone who could do this for free could be a challenge; but it could be worth it for you to pay for the mentoring.) You could also take a blogging or writing course. And while I don’t have specific course to recommend, this G-search turns up dozens of free and paid-for options you could check out.
- Change anything that’s not working for you. Just like what can happen when your healthy eating goes off track or when you realize you’re struggling to be your best self at a networking event, there’s a time to change things up. If you’re struggling to meet your blogging goals and need to get your mojo back, you have options — you could:
- Take a short sabbatical by walking away from your blog. Give yourself a few weeks to clear your head, and make a note on your calendar for when you’ll come back to start writing again.
- Ask a fellow writer or business owner for advice on what they did to get back into the habit of doing XYZ (like writing). What can you learn and apply from his/her experience?
- Ask someone to read something you wrote and provide you with open, honest feedback. What’s just one thing you can do on your next writing project to incorporate the person’s feedback?
- Re-read my tips #1 through #5 and see if any of these inspire you to try something new!
Writing on a regular basis isn’t easy. Neither is consistently eating healthy or being a rockstar networker. But with intention, practice and a training plan that moves you forward toward your goal, you can stay in the writing game, build your blogging muscles and run a business (or personal) blog that’s stronger today than it was yesterday. 💪