Blog Notes: Are you creating or curating content?
January 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
I have to tell you- I’ve been looking forward to writing the next edition of Blog Notes since my last post. My mind is brimming with ideas for this series and the most challenging part has been narrowing down what I want to talk about every other week. There are quite literally a million things I want to cover. But my goal is to focus on the basics for the first few weeks, and closely cover the core elements needed to make a blog a success. First and foremost (after setting aside the time, of course)? Ensuring you’re creating, not just curating, content.
I am by no means the first to say this, but content, when it comes to a blog, is truly king. The first step in creating a blog that’s destined to grow is to ensure you’re consistently creating original content. That means you’re either producing your own copy and photographs, or pulling together inspiration you find online in a truly innovative way. Over the years, I’ve found that the solution for ensuring CC continually reflects content that is unique to me is not vested in one single tactic, but multiple. Here are my go to methods:
Use Your Voice Have you ever noticed how the best recipe, outfit, design, DIY (you name it) posts start with a story? The blogger starts off talking about something that initially may feel completely unrelated to the title or pictures in the post? In doing so they’re employing their voice- and the post becomes more about their personal story rather than the dish or clothing item they’re talking about. In each post you write, think how about how you can be using your true voice and bringing your personal experiences to life.
Editorial Calendar I’m also not the first to emphasize the importance of an editorial calendar, but one method I found really made a difference when it came to fleshing out post topics weeks in advance, was working slightly backwards. Instead of sitting down with your calendar and trying to simultaneously come up with post content while assigning dates- start with a brainstorming session. Grab and pen and paper and just starting writing, jotting down every idea for a post that comes to mind. Even if you’re not sure if the topic could be a full blown post- write it down anyway. Once you’ve got a list of 20+ items, start to review and group. Do any of the posts fit together, could any form a series? Which ones are going to take the most time and therefore require some planning? Are any topics time sensitive- i.e. do they relate to holidays or specific seasons? Once you’ve organized the list, then begin assigning dates and backing out your blog calendar. For a more detailed tutorial on how to set up an editorial calendar for you blog, I highly recommend this post from Lisa at Elembee.
Quality over Quantity There’s this idea that in order to create a successful blog, you need to be blogging 5+ days a week. So not true. Yes, I do that here, and many other bloggers do it- but I both have help in the form of contributors, and can devote a bit more time to my blog since it’s part of my business. Quality is of the utmost importance, so if that means you can only produce two or three posts per week- go with that. Keep a consistent posting schedule and work to continually promote that content, rather than pushing out content that is sub par.
Get Offline And stop reading so many blogs… except for this one! No but really, this last tip might be the most important. If you’re constantly browsing online, always looking to other blogs for inspiration, it’s incredibly challenging (I think) to come up with your own content. My best ideas always occur when I’m walking around the city, in the shower, reading a magazine or news article, or doing something that is entirely unrelated to blogging. I read lots of blogs, so clearly I’m not saying to erase that time from your life, but do make sure you’re consistently delegating time away from the computer to stir up inspiration of your own. I can’t recommend this practice enough.
Woo- a novel once again! I think that’s about it on my end, but I’d love to hear- any tips you have on keeping your content original? And please tell me I’m not the only one who gets their best ideas in the shower!