Steps to writing a 2100 word blog
Let us begin with the different points you will need to draft:
- What’s the current state?
- What about the current state is challenging?
- What points do you assume from these challenges?What path do you want to take to address these challenges?
- What steps will you take on that path?
- What positive results will you realize?
- How will you maintain the results?
- Will all the answers to these questions get you to a 2100 word blog? At the very least. Let’s see it in action…
What’s the current state?
(Through the lens of 3 Bossy Bees)
3 Bossy Bees is a startup business trying to establish an online presence. Our domain authority is quite low. New websites need to build a network. We are developing our credibility, backlinks, and quality content. As we work on building a strong domain authority, we put our upfront effort into creating a beautiful site. Our goal is to show up in search results for the business services we provide. We do our homework by:
- Researching search engine optimization (SEO) best practices
- Talking to SEO experts, and
- Using all the free available tools to increase our SEO.
Additionally, we want to flex our strengths in content development. As former instructional designers, our work is always for others. We rarely document our experience or share our knowledge. We share our experience in sales, marketing, and developing online communities in conversations. Past conversations are not in a medium that is accessible or repeatable.
What about the current state is challenging?
It feels impossible to find breaks in my day to write blogs that offer readers quality content; able to hit the SEO mark. Unfortunately, we are all limited by the number of hours in the day. This constraint can lead to feeling overwhelmed with the number of tasks piling up. I am often strapped for time. My days fill up with client meetings, developing proposals, completing client work, and tackling needs for 3 Bossy Bees. When the sun has long set and I have tucked in the kids hours ago, my laptop hums and I’m tapping away at the keys.
I challenge myself to dig deep, into what feels like a shallow reservoir of creativity, to ensure my blog topics are interesting. Trying to conjure up an idea into a well-written piece (hopefully) takes time. You need to research if the idea already exists. When I post this blog will someone else have posted: How to write a 2101 word blog, making mine immediately obsolete? Others might outpace me. They may have more people on staff or the ability key in their blog at a faster rate. Yet, I have experience, expertise, and a great business partner to help.
What points do you assume from these challenges?
I find pockets of time to jot down ideas, words, concepts, epiphanies, and opening paragraphs. You will see me standing in lines with a pen in handwriting on a scrap of paper. Sometimes I will be sitting at a little league game writing into a notebook. When I find the opportunity and space to dedicate to blog writing, I try to find where those scribbles are all located. The papers were hidden in my pockets or at the bottom of my giant mom purse. I’ve lost many good (or so I think) thoughts to bleeding ink and Tic-Tac-Toe games with my six-year-old.
Time plays a key role in content development. By taking a moment to reflect on purpose, choose the type of information you will deliver. Create transparency with your readers to your advantage. It will build credibility. Ask yourself:
- Are my blogs well researched? Or are they opinions?
- Do I take the extra moments to find out what others in the industry do? Or am I winging it and basing it all on my own experience?
Wordcounter.net states that it takes about 6 hours to write a blog with 2000 words. Now tack on an additional 20 minutes for every 100 words you want to write. To write blogs with 2100 words, Wordcounter.net calculates you will hit close to seven hours of writing time. That is close to a full workday. Dedicating a full day to develop a quality blog is overwhelming and seems unreachable. At this point, I’ve written 725 words and I have been writing for over an hour. And some of this came from a notebook that held these thoughts in suspension for about 2 weeks.
My inspiration comes in waves that include creative moments, great client meetings, or business planning frustrations. I ruminate on situations that catch my eye or experiences that cause me to pause. I consider scenarios over and over and over again. Sometimes I write to move on from ideas or thoughts that will not leave me alone. Elizabeth Gilbert does a magnificent job describing the life of an idea in Big Magic. She shares that an idea has its own life. There are times we are able to open the door and invite in an idea. Other times we are not ready and the idea finds another door to knock on. The topics that finally make it to post are ones that fight the hardest to be developed. And often they need extra guidance and several revisions
What path do you want to take to address these challenges?
Time is the biggest obstacle to writing a 2100 word blog. Sequestering yourself for eight hours is a large amount of your day to complete a single task. My last opportunity to write uninterrupted for eight was in grad school, maybe? Now those eight hours are divided among general tasks for 3 Bossy Bees, client-related projects, and life. Because time is the greatest factor, I break my blogging up into stages. The stages are like a guide and stepping stones to reach my destination. The end goals are to have something well crafted to meet industry expectations.
Good ideas worth writing about need be authentic for me. When crafting our blog and social media calendar I need to find one theme that interests me. If I cannot find it, then the idea sits and remains an idea without manifesting itself into words, statements, or paragraphs. My angle is, “What about this topic resonates with me?” Once I find that little nugget of gold I am able to tease out a future for the idea.
What steps do you want to take on this path?
I take my ideas and break up the blog writing into the following steps:
- Idea inception: Get inspired. Go outside, read books that have nothing to do with work, try something new, get your brain bubbling with new thoughts. Sometimes the best ideas happen amidst your routine activities. Pay attention to where your mind wanders on your commute to work or when you are showering. John Kounios from Drexel University states in Wired that our creative thoughts spark when “you become less aware of your environment and more aware of your internal thoughts.”
- Outline: Determine if the idea has the girth to become more than a few paragraphs. Drafting an outline sets me up to understand if I have points on which to elaborate. It also identifies if my idea is too limited to become something bigger. I use the seven main points at the top and walk through my concept and develop supporting points
- Free-flow drafting: Write without regard to grammar or punctuation. If your content is easy to follow simply write down everything you have about the point you are making. At this moment your goal is to get your thoughts onto paper (or screen) with the ability to organize it later. This part of my process is often drawn out and happens when I find time and space to dedicate to it. My fellow Bossy Bee notes, she designates a routine time and place to entice the words to flow.
- Review 1: Go back through your content and begin cleaning it up. This is the opportunity to elaborate and rearrange your content. Often I find that I had not expanded a point enough. My initial draft is typically incomplete, because there is so much I have not explained in detail. The review gives you the opportunity to dive into more detail that you assume your reader already knows or has experience with.
- Review 2: Definitely have a second review performed by a peer. They will find holes in your narrative, likely make and editing fix, and have some ideas worth exploring. After a peer review, I tend to eek out an additional 200 words, on average.
What are the positive results will you realize?
Use these steps to develop your idea into a blog worth writing. The steps give you supporting points and reasons for taking up this topic. Hone your skill for articulating points in a formulated way to avoid the appearance of writing a fourth grade English paper: Opening paragraph, three supporting paragraphs, and closing paragraph. The more you write the more you develop your skill set. Adding tools like Grammarly will refine your words and remind you of the rules. If you are feeling particularly adventurous and have more space in your schedule try the Hemingway App. This app helps you better understand the complexity of your draft.
Show your audience what obstacles you face, how you address these obstacles, and what is worthy about the encounter. Your audience will appreciate the quality of your content. Show the care and intention taken through the conclusion. The Minimalist’s state, “Don’t waste your reader’s time.” I love the quote, “It is selfish to force a reader to spend fifteen minutes reading something you could’ve and should’ve communicated in 90 seconds.” Going through a process for writing and having your work reviewed will remove unnecessary words. Often points we think we need can be omitted.
How will you maintain the results?
Pace yourself and have realistic goals about what you can do. One of my specialties is knowing how long it takes to complete a task. When I ballpark or estimate a task duration I have a high accuracy rate. I must have been a project manager in my past life. I have been a taskmaster and list maker since I was ten years old. This knowing certainty of what needs to take place is a key reason that I am a founder Bossy Bee. Do not over commit yourself to writing a piece and then not give it the appropriate amount of time. You will make yourself and your reader miserable.
Look at what you have ahead, and not just at work, but in all areas of your life. I jot down everything I have going on in family life. My list includes volunteering, meeting with friends, taking care of my home, dog, fish, chickens, and importantly reconnecting with my spouse. My choices support my priorities and I identify what is possible. There is a big difference between what I want to be possible versus what can I can accomplish. Do not over commit yourself, particularly when you need your creativity.
Repeat this process over and over. Write down the steps and keep them as a reference. I use these steps even when writing smaller work items. They help me articulate a clear position and prove support for my stance in thoughtful action and outcomes.
Remember these steps
- Identify for your reader what the current circumstance is that you have encountered.
- For the reader to find the blog worth reading what challenge are you experiencing? Or what challenge will they identify with in the position you outline?
- For anyone experiencing the challenges you identify, what potential outcomes might happen? Are there any easy guesses to make? Identify these for your reader, do not presume they will get to that destination on their own.
- Layout for your reader where you will be once you overcome these challenges. What is your destination point? Your reader wants to know.
- Do not take the reader from the start to finish without giving them the milestones, experience, and effort. These details and insights make the destination worth trekking to. These details are what make your writing memorable.
- Make the advantages clear to your reader about why your chosen path will deliver results. Answer the question of why your path gives them an advantage.
- Create your action plan for how to maintain your progress and what you will do next.
When you find a kernel of enjoyment in your subject matter it shows through in your blog writing. Some topics may appear boring or yawn-worthy, but work to discover an interesting angle. Your readers will sense your enjoyment and return to your site for future posts and updates.