In step 1, we walked through how to get started: Setting up your blog, and building a list of sites to watch for story ideas.
Now it’s time to figure out what you’re going to write. Here’s how I do it:
- Create a blog planner: Create a note, a whiteboard space, a page in your notebook, a textfile, whatever you like, as a place to write down blogging ideas.
- Every day, spend 5 minutes reviewing the blog beat you created in step 1. If a headline or summary grabs your attention, review the article, star it in Google Reader, and write down any article ideas you got after reading the entry. Write the ideas in your blog planner.
- Block out 30 minutes a week, preferably at the start of the week, as your blog planning session. Review the notes you’ve taken to date, and the starred items in Google Reader. Write down any new ideas that occur to you. Then rank all of the ideas in your planner from 1-5, with 1 being the highest, 5 being the lowest.
- Schedule 5 blog entries for the week. Start with your #1 ideas and work your way down.
A quick snippet from my blog planner.
New idea occur to you mid-week? Want to write about it right now? Great! Go ahead and do it. This planning system isn’t a ceiling – it’s a floor. You can always write more/different stuff.
When I suggest reviewing other blogs, I’m not suggesting you rip them off. Think of your blog beat as an ongoing conversation. You should post a follow-up to someone else’s story if you have something to add. Here’s an example: Earlier today, I read a post from Steve Rubel about editorial calendars in the social sphere. I got excited about it, and wrote a reply with my ideas as to how we could make the concept even better. And I provided a clear link back to his post. That keeps the conversation going.
Of course, if you come up with an idea on your own, you should write about that, too. Nothing wrong with starting a new conversation.
And, if you’re still stumped, try my bloggage-clearing solution.
And Again, Giving Credit Where Credit is Due