I’ve been staring at my blank computer screen for the last twenty minutes, just trying to come up with an opening sentence.
My hands are clammy, my stomach’s clenched and my heart’s pounding. I really want to go check on social media.
I am getting frustrated, almost on the verge of giving up.
But I can’t. I have a deadline, and I need to write a post. Arghhh!
Sound familiar? How do other people do this and why’s it so easy for them?
Man, I’m just not a blogger at heart! What am I supposed to do?
Why Mike Allton?
Mike is everywhere. If you haven’t seen Mike’s name online, you probably forgot to turn on your computer.
Mike’s expertise and experience as a blogger makes him the perfect choice to help us understand how to produce content if we’re not a natural born blogger.
What is content?
Let’s be clear here, content is not just blog posts. There are many different types of content you can create. You can create videos, podcasts, white papers, e-books, power points, press releases, posters, infographics, testimonials, case studies, FAQ’s and so much more.
Where do I post content?
There’s two places to post content – onsite and off.
Onsite or website content refers to the kind of information business owners put on their own website generally used to establish authority in your field and connect with your readers in your own voice about topics in your niche.
Offsite content generally refers to posts or shares of information to social media. This can be your own content, or curated content.
Curated content is “found” content, it’s not something you produced. Most commonly these are articles that others have written that will interest your readers. Don’t worry about sending them to somebody elses site. Your readers are more likely to trust you when they see that you’re more concerned about helping them find their answers, than you are about peddling your wares.
Also, The more you share from other bloggers, the more they’ll show interest in you, and share your content to their readers. It’s called being social.
How do I create content if I’m not comfortable blogging?
TIP 1: Get help. Don’t be afraid to ask. Hire if necessary.
Don’t try to do everything by yourself. When you’re getting started, ask friends, family, and the kid down the street. You’re sure to find someone that enjoys writing, and would love to be published.
If your budget permits, don’t hesitate to use a ghost writer. This is someone you hire to write articles with the understanding that they won’t be cited as the author. A ghost writer’s purpose is to impersonate you and your brand. There are many freelance writers willing to offer their services in exchange for fees, links, and exposure.
But always remember, be transparent and ethical during the process of content creation. If you’re the author of the post, take credit. But if you had a guest writer, give them credit.
Attention, I didn’t write this post alone. I had a lot of help!
I use a “ghost writer” to help me collect my thoughts because I suffer from “getting started” syndrome.
She’s an intern that listens to the podcast, and writes the main summary of the interview . Then I take her article or transcript and rewrite it so it’s in my voice.
This article, for example, is more hers than mine. In fact about 70% of what you’re reading was originally written by Krithika Rangarajan.
Tip 2: Not every post needs to be an epic post
Allton says, “in my experience, there are two ‘buckets of writers’ who struggle with blogging. Over-thinkers and haters”
These people don’t mind writing – they might even love it – but they over think everything to the extent that even a simple draft takes hours to create! What’s worse, they’re still not be satisfied and they chuck the whole thing out and start over.
Simple Blog Posts
Look, you only need three to five paragraphs to make a post. Write a quick product summary, create a list of useful tools, or share your thoughts about something that your really passionate about. Write the way that you speak. Don’t try to make it perfect. Just get your thoughts on paper, and worry about the editing later. Think about it, you do this every day in social media. We jump into discussions and we don’t worry about formatting and structure. We just write what’s on our mind.
This is when you share relevant and useful content that was created by someone else, such an infographic, press release, video or podcast. Cheater posts shouldn’t take more than 15 to 30 minutes to create.
You just need to come up with a catchy title, a brief introduction, and add some links.
Again, use proper etiquette and make sure your readers clearly know about the original source. It’s best to post the authors name, website, and a link to their content. Be transparent and your readers will respect you for it. Be a thief, and your readers are gone.
Mike stressed that we need to be mindful about where we curate from. Make sure there are no copyright issues or legal restrictions. However, most sites don’t mind having their content shared because it means more visibility and backlinks for them!
Also known as epic posts, these are the major stumbling blocks that prevent bloggers from ever putting out information. Many people are hesitant to publish unless it’s ‘perfect’ and ‘unique’. But in Mike’s words – “they’re setting themselves up for failure”.
Epic posts take a long time to write, research AND read. They’re not going to offer any return on investment unless you have an innate ability to crank out unique posts! And let’s face it, if this is your talent, then your reading the wrong post.
Besides, unless you’re the New Yorker, your readers don’t want every post to be a novella.
People falling in this category absolutely detest writing. They’d do anything to avoid penning even a simple, two-line email because it’s too much like homework, they lack confidence, or it’s simply not one of their talents.
That’s why I created the “Get on Track, Stay on Track” interview series. I love chatting with people and it comes naturally to me. I can easily host a 30 minute interview, record a 5 minute “Quick Tip”, or moderate a Q&A forum. Then, I have an assistant take the video and write the summary. I re-purpose this one piece of content to create my blog articles, reach viewers on Youtube, listeners on Podcasts, and curators on social media. Also, I can use it for e-books or information products. Lots of possibilities from one piece of content.
Tip 3: Use RSS Feeds and news alerts.
Mike makes it a point to subscribe to the blogs from the major social media networks so he gets the news first. Social Media is his industry, so he wants to be the one reporting the latest changes and releases. Then he writes a quick summary of the articles and releases them as breaking news to his readers.
Tip 4: Guest Bloggers
Guest writers publish their work on your site, which allows them to enhance their reputation and build backlinks to their own blogs. Invite experts to contribute to your site. This says to your readers, “I care so much about you that I will bring the expert to you.”
This will reinforce you as an authority and it’s is a wonderful way to make connections and grow your community.
Tip 5: Newsjacking
Although the name sounds scary, newsjacking is the art of writing about a breaking news or stories in your field of expertise. This allows you to provide relevant and timely information – the two cornerstones of any successful blog post – to an interested audience. Mike says, “since you’re getting inspiration from something that’s already happened or is currently happening, you don’t have to spin a blog out of your mind”