A New Way to Look At Writing Blog Posts

A guest post by Glen Allsopp who writes about Viral marketing.

I wrote my first blog post back in 2006. At the time, blogging was just starting to be used as a way to connect with your audience and attract more eyeballs to your products and services. Back then, I didn’t care about building a readership or writing posts that hit the Digg homepage, I simply kept writing content so that Google would send me more traffic.

Of course, a lot has changed since then. I now couldn’t care less about search engine traffic to my blog and instead focus all of my energy on building a vibrant, helpful community around my brand. It’s not only my blogging focus that has changed in the last few years, but also the way I actually write my articles.

The Old Way

In 2006 I was blogging once or twice per week to an audience of less than 30 subscribers. I think it took about 6 months for the blog to receive a comment that wasn’t left by me. Around this time, and up until very recently, I still held the same ‘style’ of blogging, even though my entire aim for what I wanted out of blogging had changed.

The process was very structured, and went something like this:

  • Decide on something you can write about
  • Choose a killer headline (1)
  • Map out sub-headings for different sections of the post (2)
  • Fill out these sub-headings carefully (3)
  • Watch out for spelling / grammar mistakes as you go (4)
  • Re-read the post (5)
  • Hit publish when you want it to go live (6)

This is a very basic outline, but it contains most of the steps that I used to follow and most of the steps that I’m sure thousands (if not millions) of bloggers still follow today.

If we were to put this process on a chart that showed the level of passion, energy and excitement that takes place when writing the post, I think we would see something very basic like this:

old-blogging

There are clear peaks here of energy and excitement when you find a killer headline that you love, have the post organised and eventually hit the publish button. Apart from that though, blogging can look like a pretty simple and boring process. Some people might love this, and I totally get that, but don’t ignore other options before you try them.

One such option, is the new blogging way…

The New Way

The reason we need a ‘new way’ is because it is no longer enough to succeed at blogging by showing up and posting frequently. A few years ago that would have been great for your readers and excellent for search engine traffic, but things have changed. There is now so much noise in every industry online, that if you don’t stand out with amazing content, you may as well not write at all.

This change still means that you need to write content, and if you wanted you could write in the style of the ‘old way’, or you could start getting the most out of the process. A few months ago I noticed this change in my blogging but really didn’t know how to describe it. It wasn’t until a tweet from Adam allowed me to ‘picture’ the process in my mind that I could finally put things into words.

The process of the New Way, goes something like this:

  • Decide on something you can write about
  • Choose a killer headline (1)
  • Start writing the most important things you want to say (2)
  • Don’t worry about headings, spellings or grammar (3)
  • Keep going until you’ve wrote everything you want to on the topic (4)
  • Take a break and cool down (5)
  • Tidy up the post and hit publish (6)

If we were to put this in a graph like we did for the old way of blogging, you would see something like this:

This New Way of blogging does include a concept I have written about here at WritetoDone in the past: keep writing until you’ve said everything you want to say, then edit after. Not as you’re going along.

However, this whole process is going to be an entirely new concept to most people. Again, it’s not simply enough to be writing content for your niche anymore. Due to the sheer mass of competition online these days, whatever you put out to the world on your blog has to provide massive value to your readers.

Because of this, if you can get really into your articles and get excited about the process, that’s going to show in the final result. The bottom line is that if you’re feeling really passionate about what you’re saying, you’re going to produce the type of posts necessary to gain mindshare in your industry.

Maybe I’m off the mark, but for myself and many others, I’m seeing a totally new way to look at writing blog posts…

This is a guest post by Glen Allsopp who writes about Viral marketing. He has also written an in-depth guide about guest blogging you may also enjoy.

A heads-up for WTD readers
Leo and Mary will run the next A-list Blogging Bootcamp, How to Create a Blog that Rocks from 13-17 February. Everyone had a blast last time! We’ll be emailing some great articles on blogging. Get yourself on the mailing list by clicking on Leo’s report below.

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28 Responses to “A New Way to Look At Writing Blog Posts”

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  1. Great tips Glen! I can definitely see myself shifting more towards this model of writing. There are days (like Mondays actually) where it’s just a matter of posting what’s been happening for the past week.

    But when it’s a post about a particular topic then I take the time to cool down and then hit publish.

  2. Bart says:

    I do something similar. I write a post and leave it for a while so I give myself the opportunity to look at the subject from a different angle, which mostly results in a lot of inspiration. I really like your take on it, Glen!

  3. This is a great post. I recently launched my own site/blog and all 4 of my original posts so far have come from me simply being inspired and writing the posting about an hour. Then I clean it up and post! This method also helps keep my blot posts more conversational in tone, rather than more academic or businessy sounding writing.

  4. Very subtle difference but very powerful. Great advice. Thanks! God bless!

  5. Thanks for the great post, I`m just starting my blog and have yet a lot to learn, but this is very good advice for anyone who blogs.

  6. The way I write posts is completely different than when I began, a lot more purpose now. I still need to work on NOT fixing as I go! :) Thanks for the tips!

  7. joylene says:

    I started off trying to do this, but ended up looking like a fish out of water. Then winter hit and because I’d decided to embrace the cold instead of whining about it, I think my new attitude was reflected on my blog. Plus I signed a contract to have my 2nd novel published, release date next year. All in all, I’m not getting the numbers you talk about, but I’m happy. I hit the 10,000 visitor last month and I’m still coming up with blog posts. Guess the only way direction from here is up. Eh?

    Thanks for the great post, Glen. You’re a keeper.

  8. I agree very much with your new way of writing. Truth be told I have always written in this way, but interestingly enough, not by choice. I have come to realize it is the only way I am able to write at all.

    I rarely edit my posts at all frankly. I usually sit at my desk, click Add New, try to come up with a killer headline, and once i come up with a title I like, and think I have something to say about, I just go.

    The content of each post doesn’t always come in one sitting, sometimes it takes several sessions of just writing, but once it’s done, I rarely make changes. I do a spell check, and click publish.

    The idea of stepping away is super important however. It allows you to come back and read what you’ve written in a more objective light.

    Great advice. Great Post.

  9. Steve Hall says:

    Everything old is new again? I’ve been blogging this way for over two years. It’s the only way I’ve ever blogged.

    When I write, I need to get everything down as quickly as possible…and then I edit. I rewrite, I add, I delete. But first, I get as much information out as I possibly can, while the creativity bug is still munching. So far, I think it’s been pretty effective.

  10. I am current way of writing is your new way of writing.

    And, I thought I was the only one who would just write it all and everything that came to my mind and only then come back edit. I am glad I am not crazy :)

    Structure helps sometimes and stifles growth at other times. I feel like there is no true formula for this. It’s kind of like working out. If you stimulate the muscle the same way over and over again it will stop reacting and growing. Same way with your brain – same stimulus stops working after a while, so we just need to find a way to switch it up :)

    Best,
    Tomas

  11. Glen Allsopp says:

    Awesome to see that some of you are already adopting this.

    Thanks for the great comments :)

  12. Hilary says:

    Hi Glen .. thanks for that .. I’d heard the concept – for me it’s tricky being a typist – I know when I make a mistake and inevitably stop and correct – years of training! I’m not copy typing – that one can just go for it & count the mistakes at the end – get a wrap on the knuckles and with heartache correct the errors .. in a very old fashioned way.

    If you’re writing from the heart – this seems to be the way to go .. my posts are more factual .. and could definitely be put together better – but I’m building a foundation base and can use the information in another format later.

    Interesting to read about though .. and the taking a step away for a while and re-reading is something I should do more often.

    Thanks and have a good week – Hilary

  13. Walter Watts says:

    Well, great article. By content writing we can creat better content for the articles and blogs which inturns increase the traffic. Britacoon.com is also the one of better SEO content writing company in India which provide affordable and better services. I have been using this service from past many years.

  14. The trick to writing is to try some…tricks that is.

    And then to settle on a style that seems to communicates what you are wishing to communicate – And to do this for as long as it seems useful to your readers…

    Varying procedures, and practices will almost always aid the creative process.

    Editing as you go, well that’s like trying to speak through a muffled megaphone…

    What’s so informative for me and I hope others about your post is how you describe in detail the “How To” of fitting content into context…

    Because there are at least two types of readers of every blog…the spiders, and the people who search through their webs.

    What also stands out for me about your post is this

    “Instead I focus all of my energy on building a vibrant, helpful community around my brand”

    With this you’ve said it all…

    Thanks

  15. Blogging is like our living room. Everyone’s furniture is different and arranged differently. Tastes vary. My method?

    My method is keep things different with what I do naturally. Based around storytelling.

    – Monday a podcast of a book of mine.
    – Wednesday, a video I made or comment on writing or indie publishing or social media or whatever pops up in my mind.
    – Friday, a story (flash fiction) around 500 words, for free…or a chapter from something that’s being published.

    as my blog is built around storytelling, so storytelling is what I offer.

    My furniture, my arrangement. “It works for me,” is what everyone should say…after that “working” has worked itself out and made itself clear what the blog is really all about (mine took four months or so).

  16. This is the same writing process I advocate to students and clients all the time–put everything you have on the page without holding back, and then go back and clean it up. Works much better to let the passion show!

  17. Linda says:

    I really needed to read this. I take so long writing a post because I am afraid to make mistakes, that I end up not writing what I want. Thanks for the advice.

  18. Julien says:

    Great tips, I’ll try to apply this method!

  19. mk akan says:

    i love this post.
    most people still use the old way.it is probably going to take some practice to adopt the new way.
    i love the idea of SAY WHAT YOU NEED TO SAY,DEAL with MISTAKES AND ERRORs LATER.

  20. kathy says:

    No wonder so many blog posts are unreadable, if the advice bloggers are given begins with the killer headline and proceeds to don’t worry about organization or spelling or grammar. This is a great example of bad advice in a flashy package. Sorry, folks, no cigar.

  21. Jenny says:

    Just read the article, applied the methods to my next blog and it truly works! Thank you so much for this advice.

  22. Hugh says:

    Glen I think you wrote this post for me! As a new blogger, I am a de facto subscriber to the “old” method. But now I’ll be sure to intentionally strive for the “new” method. Since I’m still quite new, I anticipate the change coming relatively easily. Thanks so much for this tip!

  23. Glen Allsopp says:

    Kathy,

    Did you actually read the post? Spelling and grammar checking (in my experience) are best left to when you have said everything you want to say.

    If you check as you go, you lose your flow.

    Hugh,

    You’re very welcome, glad you found it useful :)

  24. Tammi Kibler says:

    Excellent point. I agree I do my best work when I just push through and clean it up later.

    Thanks!

  25. I think this advice can be very helpful for many kinds of writing. Creation and editing are different processes, and trying to edit while writing can interrupt the creative flow.

  26. Melody Jones says:

    Great advice and something I have been working on for awhile now, especially not fixing typos as I go! I’m getting better at it as time goes on. I think creative flow is much improved, and I enjoy writing more now.

    Thanks Glen!

  27. Excellent advice. This needs to be my approach every time out. Thanks for sharing sound, practical tips.

    -Mig