The struggle to create quality, consistent blog writing plagues businesses of every size and type.
Content creators and writers feel the pressure, too, because a business blog has a big job.
When done properly, business blogging is an ongoing process used to market your business via the web. It’s also a cornerstone of content marketing.
Your business blog builds trust and authority for your company. It attracts Google and other search results for additional visibility, and more. Often, it’s your content hub, an integral component of marketing, especially inbound.
Most importantly, it’s a gateway for customer attraction and interaction.
No pressure, right?
If you want to find the key to a great blog, pressure for results is sometimes daunting and draining, even defeating.
It can zap your resolve and make you question your abilities and tactics. Or it can restrict when you need to inspire. It can paralyze you when you need to move.
Fear can creep up into your otherwise rosy picture and stop you in your tracks.
Not good for business, is it?
You’re Not Alone
Listening to a recent webinar interview of Henneke from Enchanting Marketing (one of my favorite writers!) by Pamela Wilson of copyblogger gave me a few aha moments.
Possibly the best lesson I can share is the fact that the humanity in us is a consequence shared by all.
What a shock to hear about Henneke’s “inner critic” giving her huge doubts about her writing, marketing, and abilities in general. Even, it turns out, about hitting the publish button.
What? No way is Henneke afraid sometimes to hit “publish”—just like you and me! How can that be? In my eyes, her work is gold. Hmmm.
Truthfully, when I feel doubt about myself, it’s no good.
Nothing but trouble comes from questioning yourself so, on hearing a successful business writer talk about her inner critic, I felt a little relief.
We’re all human, and all feel the same way, once in awhile.
Besides, I think you need to be a little critical of your work to create higher quality. Henneke validates that thinking, too, by talking about how she holds herself to a higher standard of quality every time she creates.
Therefore, she’s taken a closer look at what’s most important.
You can start by inviting your inner critic to tea, just like Henneke, to adjust your mindset and move your work positively forward.
An Invitation to Tea Time
Having a little tea and conversation with yourself to tame your inner critic while creating reasonable goals and a realistic plan is everything in pushing yourself and business forward.
By deciding that taking the proper time to produce quality content takes top precedence in her business, Henneke works to that ultimate goal. (Psst—later, I’ll share Henneke’s secret for how she creates quality pieces of blog writing for her business.)
But first, block out time to reach your purpose with intentional focus.
For example, and like me, Henneke has decided not to be on FaceBook and even if that may seem crazy to some, it works for her, so it’s okay.
In fact, FaceBook, like any social media outlet, takes time and work. And so, making a decision not to work with every single social option out there is a sound business decision.
As Henneke points out, we only have a finite amount of total time, so we need to decide where to focus our efforts.
We each need to figure out, for ourselves and our business, exactly what works.
Ultimately, discovering what is most useful in each case is unique to each person or business. So studying what works for others is an idea, but not necessarily an answer for you.
Still, without focus, your blog writing formula may remain undiscovered, no matter what your business or subject.
A key to Henneke’s brilliant success seems to hinge on her discovering clarity in her focus. The lesson here is a big one—and one we all need to accept:
You can’t do it all!
Breaking things down to determine a proper balance helps to clarify your goals along the way.
Focus On Your Business
Working for yourself is stressful but, like Henneke, try to go with your feelings and work on what works best for you and your audience.
To figure this out, she took “an intuitive approach” to business, and says, “pay close attention to what your audience tells you.”
I completely agree.
But there’s a tricky balancing act at play to stay up to the speed of change for internet blog writing and marketing while maintaining clarity and focused productivity.
I know the so-called “shiny objects” of technology, and the internet-of-things are sometimes fascinating and often, are helpful for your business. Just be careful to test and add them as time permits and with a planned and definite intent.
Going off on tangents takes valuable time away from your business.
Keys to Successful Business Blog Writing
A lot of what Henneke discloses about her business experience and keys to business blog writing success resonates with me, and I hope you find them useful as well.
I plan to look at each disclosure with a laser focus to help in my freelance writing adventure and ongoing web content marketing efforts.
Here are the important takeaways I picked up from the interview:
(Let me know what you think of them in the comments, below.)
1.) Listen. To Yourself. And to Your Audience.
Listening is as simple as finding your most productive times. Do you love the peace and quiet of early morning or are you a night owl?
It’s also about listening to your body when it tells you it’s tired, or quieting your mind when you question your worth or feel deflated.
Further, you need to find your focus by listening to your gut (emotional intelligence) and by targeting your market to find your correct place there.
What’s interesting about feeling your way into your success (an intuitive approach) is that Henneke isn’t the first person to say that where she landed in her online business and niche market isn’t at all what she imagined. Nor is it the direction she started out with in her freelance career.
Enchanting Marketing evolves as it goes and Henneke is a top business writing coach, renown writer, and business blog writing influencer today.
How? She says she followed the needs of a viable audience by listening to them and creating the content they wanted.
Her basic framework and current working formula all stem from what her audience asked or told her.
Listening—even to combat that annoying inner critic—to those you serve and to your body, helps you find the perfect combination and mindset.
The next core ideas help refine things for you further.
2.) Experiment and Prioritize.
Remember, you need to make your business work for you and your audience ONLY, so don’t be afraid to try things out or learn as you go.
Along with discovering the value in listening and adopting an intuitive approach, Henneke shares these insights:
- Being addicted to stress (like so many are) is a productivity killer.
- Becoming a workaholic does not equal success.
- Killing your inner critic is about making a mindset change.
- Inspiring people to express their voice and share their stories and ideas (makes her happy) leads to biz blog writing success.
- Including things you like to do in your business helps a lot.
Once you evaluate both internal and external factors relevant to how you structure and conduct your business, prioritizing is the next step.
So how did Henneke do this? Good question, but the answer is simple: figuring out and setting priorities.
Ask yourself relevant questions and know (or learn) what is most important to get you where you want to be. Break everything down into blocks and evaluate the time investment and significance to your business for each item.
What matters most in your business and what matters most to you?
For example, if your inner critic is paralyzing you (as is so often the case for writers and creators) then it’s time to beat it til dead. You need to overcome that hurdle and move on. If this is your number one problem, then make this killing (of it) a top priority so you can stop losing valuable time.
Perhaps for you, the bigger problem is, say, carving out time to concentrate on your most pressing project. Maybe other people require your time or attention, and it can be hard to get quality alone time to do your work.
So, by making essential projects time a priority, you intentionally set up a regular time slot—maybe when your distractors go to lunch, or before anyone else gets up in the morning—and make it a priority.
When something becomes a priority, you make yourself accountable to get it done. You work on it via a pre-set schedule, until complete. You eliminate any choice and just do it.
3.) Dump Your To-Do List.
Bet you weren’t expecting to hear that tidbit! But Henneke says this:
Focus on YOUR BUSINESS, not your to-do list.”
Look, it makes sense. Everything in this post so far leads to this little gem—focus on the tasks and projects directly related to the success of your business. Period.
Break every single function down as Henneke suggests until you have a clear understanding of what is most meaningful to achieve your goals.
If anything appears overwhelming, break it down more, and all the way down until you have a precise map of the steps you’ll take to complete each part of each block leading you to your final objectives.
Ultimately, you want to end up with an outline giving you a simple framework to work from consistently, focused on business needs.
This set guideline allows you to accomplish top priorities first, yet accounts for difficulty and timelines.
At this point, you make choices to guarantee you stay on track.
Henneke suggests you include some tasks you love as part of your regular schedule, even if it means you are unable to do something else.
Luckily for her, Henrietta, a (sidekick, mascot, alter-ego) character who accompanies Henneke’s written work, made the cut. Whew.
The truth is, as much as Henneke likes to draw her, Henrietta (see above rendition) is a signature look now, making Henneke’s work instantly recognizable and Henrietta, a big star—and nearly a logo, but with a voice (or at least message), too!
Fun, useful, and well worth keeping for enchanting readers, I’d say:)
When you like what you’re doing, it’s easier. You get better, and your work goes faster. Then once you get past the things you need to do, you end up with more time for other things you want to do.
People think I’m weird because I like work. I always have. But the thing is, work doesn’t feel so much like work when you enjoy it.
4.) The Secret to Blog Writing Success is in the Process.
Pamela Wilson is very nurturing in her position at copyblogger where she tirelessly responds to writing, marketing, and content marketing questions and problems all day long.
And Pamela has a knack for breaking down bigger processes into smaller, understandable chunks for people.
So, when Henneke describes her early years in business as, “an accidental experiment of trial and error,” Pamela may liken it to wandering around the woods in the dark.
But, as Henneke explains how, by learning, listening, and evolving along the way, she now understands the importance of a crystal clear focus as the winning strategy for business, as Pamela sums it up best.
Here’s her basic analogy, or something close to this:
Imagine, she says, being in the dark woods and turning on your flashlight. You can only see so far. You can only move step by step with the light in front of you leading the way.
It both guides and restricts you.
You must focus only on a small area at a time, (you see it, don’t you—the triangle-ray of light starting from the hand holding your flashlight) even though there’s a vast space beyond the peripheral of the shine.
Don’t worry, Henneke explores and plans to explore well beyond and in various areas of the vast open space—well beyond her center bright light—and you can too. Hey, shiny objects lurk out there!
But the point is first to keep an eye on your beaming mothership, making sure to follow your vision and handle the things that matter most to your business.
Henneke has slimmed the scope of her work to a few main things imperative to keeping her business operating smoothly and on schedule.
Her website is her business hub and her blog, she says, is her touchstone. This key component harbors the treasures she offers.
Priority #1 for Henneke is her weekly blog posts. It’s the key to her audience and her toughest challenge, in some respects.
Ready to unravel blog writing promises and secrets?
Remember I promised to share Henneke’s secret for how she creates quality pieces of blog writing for her business? Well, here you go!
In the interview, Henneke shares a major secret (and Pamela agrees with this practice, too) and this is it:
The trick is finding creativity within structure.”
Repeat aloud a few times so it sinks in because this feels for me like the straight-up, down and dirty, truth.
After being self-employed for most of my career, the struggle between structure and creativity has been present since, well, since I can remember.
Creativity is so important in my life and business models but, without finding the proper framework, a safe place, really, for creativity to live and grow, it can be a curse and not an asset to reaching business goals.
Henneke’s advice hits the bullseye for me—suddenly and with impact—because looking at it this way shows a crucial intersection, unlocking the magic, not with a key, but with a combination lock.
For Part 2, Click Here.