When you read marketing advice like “you should blog every week or, at worst, every two weeks,” blogging can seem like an obligation.
The advice is good, but don’t approach blogging as a chore or a check-off, or your posts will be uninspired, and your blog hard to sustain over time. Having intrinsic motivation—internal “want to”—is critical for making blogging more enjoyable and sustainable, and helps you produce better posts and generate better results. Why better posts and better results? Simple: motivated people do better work.
This raises the question, “How do you get (and stay) inspired about blogging?” It’s hard to force yourself or will yourself to be inspired, and pretty much impossible in the long term. Much easier is to use the following two practices that encourage inspiration and motivation:
- Write posts that you are confident will generate results.
- Write posts on topics you truly want to write about.
Let’s take a look at each in more detail.
1. Write posts that you are confident will generate results.
When people believe they will be rewarded for an action, they are more motivated to do it, and to do it well. NFL players are much more inspired when they play in the Super Bowl than they are for a preseason game because they can win a championship.
So an important part of building your internal motivation is simply writing posts that you believe will be successful — that will attract interest and visibility. The anticipation of the rewards will motivate you.
Here are some suggestions:
- Check your blog analytics to see which of your past posts were most successful. Try to identify what “worked,” and replicate it. You might consider updating these successful posts, or writing further on those topics.
- Examine social media trends to see which topics relevant to you are actively being discussed, then weigh in on the conversation with a blog post. Don’t hesitate, however, or you might miss the trend.
- Similarly, pay attention to industry news, general news and analyst reports, and reference them or comment on their relevancy to your topic(s) in some of your posts. Such posts can generate strong visibility and are highly sharable on social media.
- Talk to prospects and clients about issues and pain points they’re facing. They are members of your target audience, and writing quality content about those issues and pain points is likely to interest them, and others like them.
- Write highly in-depth blog posts from time to time. When you create superior posts (true thought leadership that is relevant to your audience), you have reason to expect better results, and such posts help attract people to your other content.
- Create great calls to action (CTAs) in your posts. When you see people are clicking the CTAs, it will motivate you to write posts.
- Promote your blog and build your social media network. You can promote your blog in a variety of ways. For example, send an occasional email that features a sampling of your recent posts, or allow people to enter their email addresses to receive your new posts in their inboxes. On social, take the time to share your content and follow/share the content of other people and brands. By building your audience, you build your reward (and your motivation) for writing quality blog posts on a regular basis.
2. Write posts on topics you truly want to write about.
In addition to rewards, people are also motivated by enjoyment. So when you can (it’s not always possible), write on topics that you have great interest in.
Some of the tips above will also be helpful here, but here are a few additional suggestions for enjoying blogging:
- Recognize when you’re inspired. Great conversations with and interesting questions from colleagues, customers, prospects, for example, can be great inspiration for quality blog posts. But you have to be mindful of these opportunities—and when they arrive, don’t hesitate. Write!
- Make a point of being aware of important events impacting your industry, your niche and your customers/prospects/target audience. Being more aware will give you more ideas that inspire you.
- A blog editorial calendar is a good idea, but allow for some flexibility. Don’t write about Topic A just because it’s next on your calendar. If you really want to write about Topic B, do it (unless timeliness of Topic A or some other factor makes it impractical).
The Truth Is…
It’s impossible to always be 100% inspired every time you write a blog post. In fact, there are times when writing a post will be tedious work. But by using the recommendations above, you can keep yourself inspired more often, and that will make it much easier to produce strong blog content week after week, month after month, and year after year.
About the Author: Eric Anderson works with fisher VISTA clients to create compelling thought-leadership content. His previous experience includes eight years as a reporter and editor.
photo credit: A Waking Dream via photopin (license)