You know — because every SEO expert, marketing consultant, and armchair internet critic under the sun has told you, either directly or indirectly — that a blog is a great tool for your freelance career or small business. Blogging helps potential clients get to know you, creates new and ever-changing content for search engines to find, can drive sales and revenue, and helps you give your products or services a platform.
Unfortunately, for creatives who are not necessarily natural scribes (and even often for those who are), blogging can feel like an impossible task. Because really, what do you have to write about? Who cares?
And to be honest, in the beginning, no one might care. This is just the truth of the internet and about blogging. When you only have 15 followers on Twitter and are averaging 18 pageviews a day, it may seem like you’re talking to yourself. But if you keep putting it out there — “it,” by the way, meaning “relevant, current content that makes you happy and that you would want to read” — eventually, someone (and maybe a lot of someones) will care, and you want it to be there when they do.
So, even on those days when it feels like you’re shouting into the void, it’s worth showing up to do the work, even if it takes a little prodding.
Here are some gentle prods that might help you blog better, more often, and with more enjoyment:
Move: Not your home, just your location. Blogging expert and CreativeLive instructor April Bowles Olin recommends new scenery as one of the easiest ways to improve your focus and help you come up with new ideas.
“One of the things that you can do is change locations; sometimes just moving to a coffee shop…can make blogging more fun.”
And, as we all know, having fun can make you more creative and productive.
Read the news: Checking in with the hot topics might spur something that only you have something to say about. Even if it feels political or potentially touchy, writing about your experience relating to a big story can help you not only stay current and new, but also add something unique to the larger conversation. Even if you don’t have anything to say about bigger issues, you might feel inspired to talk about how news stories pertain to your industry or your community.
Write even when you’re not blogging: Great bloggers carry a notebook, because they know that inspiration can hit at any time. Take notes throughout your day, so that when you sit down to write, you have more to go on than just your memories.
Exercise: Another tip from April? If you can’t move locations, “just get up and move your body.” Walk, run, lift weights, do some push-ups, or just ” Or, if you really want to get down, “turn on some music and dance,” she says.
Find trends: Do you feel like you’ve been having the same conversation a lot lately? Giving or asking for the same advice? Struggling with the same problems? When someone comes up frequently, it’s usually because it’s a big topic that’s worth looking into. Whether it’s cool trick you’re been sharing with everyone, or a big question you’ve been wondering on, turn it into a blog post. Odds are, someone else probably feels the same way.
Tell a story: Not all of your blog posts need to be current news. Look at what holidays or other special days are approaching, and try telling the story of something that happened to you on that day. A great Valentine’s Day? A memorable Memorial Day? Your blog readers want to know about you as much as they want to know about your business.
Try a new medium: “This is something you can do if blogging is just feeling very…yuck.” says April. “If you’re trying all of these different things and you’re still feeling like ‘I do not want to write,’ try video instead.” Or, give illustration a try. Draw your next post. Or, go take a photo and write a blog post about that. Regardless of what kind of medium you’ve been sticking with on your blog, it’s never too late to try something new.
“Decide what feels good in the moment,” April suggests.