The another day Amanda Gome rang me for some advice and to have a chat about some future events.
We got to talking about blogging, and how difficult it was. I was among the first group of bloggers for SmartCompany two years ago (around 20 of us) of which there is now only a handful left.
I asserted that writing your first couple of blogs is easy, because everyone has a couple of articles in them. However then it gets really hard, because you have to deliberately create something new rather than just empty on to the page what you already had.
Amanda agreed, as she regularly gets approached by new bloggers, and now she can just tell when someone is only a “three or four blog” person.
I reckoned the issue was caused by the fact that the average wanna-be bloggers aren’t generally trained as journalists or even writers by their nature. So blogging seems like a great idea but becomes hard quickly.
You can see this issue everywhere as CEOs are conned into marketing by using social media tools such as blogs, but they run out of steam quickly when the reality of being “creative” sets in. I regularly run into corporate blogs that have lost steam after only four posts.
Amanda pointed out that I am a non-writer who managed to get through the four blog barrier, so what was my secret?
So here it is………..how I write blogs:
• Pick a time
I’m a systems guy, so I like to organise things. Monday after lunch is the time I have programmed into my Google Calendar for writing.
• Get an idea
Finding something to write on becomes easier as time goes on. However the cheat’s way is to find a prolific Twitterer or two on your topic who will uncover new things to investigate and share. For me Guy Kawasaki posts about 20 items a day on new things around entrepreneurship, technology and interesting ideas. I can’t keep up with all of Guy’s posts.
• Make your point
Simply re-posting a web link doesn’t have value. I like to think about how and why rather than report on the what. I like to create a number of dot points on the topic
• Remember an anecdote
Nobody wants to read a report; everbody wants to hear a story. Revolution in Russia? Make it the backdrop to a love story.
• Put flesh on the bone
Write the article starting off with your anecdote which then leads into the points you want to make.
• Finish it off
Nobody wants loose ends, so I find it much tidier to link the point of the article back to the opening anecdote.
By way of confession, I developed this as a process when I almost burst my brain trying to write blog number four.
According to my records I have now written around 110 weekly blogs. Not bad for a technical guy who came close to failing English.