It’s been a while since my last blog article. I could say I have been busy and haven’t had time to think about our blog. I could say that, and it would be true, but surely it’s no excuse.
My recent inactivity has raised a few questions for me: How can I keep the blog going? How can I continue to produce good quality content, frequently and indefinitely? Perhaps more importantly, should I even bother continuing if I can’t find the time to update it?
In an attempt to answer these questions, I have pulled together my own ten step programme for establishing and maintaining a professional blog with minimum effort:
- Ask yourself why
Before you even start writing think about why you want to blog in the first place and try to remain true to that. For example, I am keen to build an online presence and drive leads for my company so I blog about subjects that I think other UXers and potential clients will be interested in.
- Think about your readers
Consider who you expect to read your blog and research what is already out there for them to read. Is there an appetite for the subjects you want to talk about? Is there a gap for more information? If you can, talk to the people you want to write for and ask them what they think of your ideas
- Write about what you know
During my working day, I read, hear and talk a lot about User Experience (UX) and I am constantly giving advice on the subject, so it makes logical sense for me to write about it. What subjects do you know the most about? Can you get editorial mileage out of the subject?
- Set a schedule and stick to it
Be realistic about how often you expect to publish new content. No one expects you to publish something new every day, every week or even every month so don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself
- Look around you
The more you read the more you will have to say so seek out as many sources of inspiration as possible. Sign up to industry email newsletters, follow people who have something to say via social media tools like Twitter, and remember to scan the headlines (preferably every day)
- Recycle your work
If you spend a lot of your working life creating documents and presentations packed full of useful advice for your clients, you can save yourself a lot of effort by reusing the content. Obviously, you have to be sure that it appeals to your reading audience and that your client is happy for you to share it
- Bank your ideas
Keep a notepad handy, or some kind of digital equivalent. If you think of an idea, jot it down, even if it’s just a few words. This article was borne from an idea I had a long time ago. It sat in my notes for a while and I was recently inspired to write more. If you have a flurry of ideas, don’t publish them all at once; keep some of them back if you can. With blogging tools like WordPress, you can write articles and save them as drafts for launch at a later date.
- Broadcast yourself
When you produce something new, link to it from wherever you can be sure you will get good quality traffic. For example, I promote my blog posts via our website, Twitter, blogs with similar themes and selected LinkedIn groups.
- Don’t just blog
It may have been a while since I blogged but I have been busy in other, less time-consuming social media ways. I have decent number of Twitter followers and I Tweet almost daily and I comment regularly on other people’s blogs. All this activity has improved my online presence, which is one of the main reasons I blog
- Don’t force it
It has been a while since I last blogged but I’m not really that bothered. In all honesty, I haven’t really been inspired to write about anything. And if I continue to lose inspiration, I will simply stop writing. I certainly won’t start filling the blog up with inane drivel about what I had for breakfast, just to keep it going.
So, there you have it, my ten steps for establishing and maintaining a professional blog. All I have to do now is practice what I preach…!