Writing blog articles doesn’t always go the way you want it to. Sometimes the right topic is isive. Other times you’re off to a good start but get blocked in the middle. There are also days you’re in the groove, but hours later realize that you’ve wandered off course and need to start all over again. If you’re having a hard time concentrating (which happens to a lot of use these days), writing can feel like swimming in a sea of molasses.
When I’m struggling, I find that my 11-point blog post checklist usually keeps me on track. But occasionally I need a bit more inspiration. When there’s no one around to spur me on, reading advice from top-ranked experts is one of my favorite go-to activities.
Collecting quotes is a great way to keep inspiring thoughts at hand, riffling through them when you need a jolt of writing wisdom. I hope that one or more of the great quotes below will set off a spark when you need a boost–and we all do from time to time. I’ve winnowed them down into categories that I feel are essential for blog writers, such as creating valuable content, building your status as an expert, being audience-centric, and more.
When you’re not in tip-top form, here’s hoping that these bits of insight will bring you back up to speed.
GETTING STARTED is the first (and most critical) step.
Like many things, the concept of blogging is easy, but sometimes getting down to it is hard—especially if you’re a perfectionist, as many writers are. It’s easy to hit a wall if you overthink potential obstacles: the fear of how to create a new blog site, the difficulty of writing about a new subject, the time it takes to find the right words. Any of these hurdles can stop you dead in your tracks. The authors below remind us that anxious thoughts are common, but success demands that we find a way to overcome our personal demons:
1. “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” – Stephen King
2. “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” – Guy Kawasaki
3. “The secret of getting ahead is getting starting.” – Mark Twain
GOALS are fundamental to every aspect of business, including blogging.
It’s impossible to get anywhere without a set of goals. Like most bloggers, I have personal writing goals related to my career and blog-specific goals.
Career goals focus on leveraging your writing skills to enhance your career. Your goal might be to increase your image as a respected thought-leader in your field. You can move toward that goal with a successful blog, but you an also accomplish it by speaking at conferences or publishing a book on your area of expertise.
The second type of goal is blog-specific, what you want the blog itself to accomplish. Such goals might include boosting sales, generating awareness of a new product, or monetizing your blog.
Both are important; accomplishing personal career goals adds to the satisfaction of any task, while having well-defined, blog-specific goals enables you to craft articles designed specifically to achieve blogging goals. Here are some ways to look at how you determine your goals as a blogger:
4. “The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful.” – Ron Dawson
5. “If you think monetizing your site is wonderful, fine. If you think it’s evil, fine. But make up your mind before you seriously consider starting down this path. If you want to succeed, you must be congruent.” – Steve Pavlina
6. “Begin with the end in mind” – Stephen Covey
QUALITY is the overriding factor of content that works.
Among the goals you set for yourself, publishing high-quality articles should be your number one priority. I’ve said it before (often and strongly) that quality overrides every other element of developing content, whether you’re writing a white paper or a blog post. Without quality, you’ll lose all but the most undiscerning reader. Don’t believe me? Here are some quotes that reinforce this fact:
7. “The key part of your brand is a quality product. Creating exceptional content is the number one thing.” – Rufus Griscom
8. “There are tons of different factors that go into ranking well, but the biggest is high-quality content.” – David Sinick
9. “The notion that writing more will boost your traffic and rankings only rings true if you don’t sacrifice quality.” – Neil Patel
DELIVERING VALUE is a cornerstone of a successful blog.
The twin of writing high-quality blog posts is creating content that is valuable to your reader. If your article can’t provide both of these elements, there’s not much point to blogging (except perhaps for your own personal satisfaction).
Value is absolutely necessary to gain readers, subscribers, followers, and fans. While it’s hard to define exactly what makes a blog valuable, it can be described as some combination of being relevant, helpful, original, and providing a great experience. Some very smart people have a lot to say about this topic:
10. “You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg for attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.” – David Meerman Scott
11. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin
12. “Readers subscribe to blogs when they provide an informational or entertainment value so great that it would be a loss to not subscribe to it.” – Lisa Maki
13. “If your blog provides genuine value, you fully deserve to earn income from it.” – Steve Pavlina
EXPERTISE must be demonstrated to gain credibility.
The reader’s perception that the writer is an expert encourages them to subscribe to your blog, follow you on social media, share your articles, or link back to your blog site. In a larger sense, if your reader perceives you as an expert, they will put more trust in the information or opinions you share, giving you more power to influence their decisions.
If you’re a company blogger, you have ready access to subject-matter experts who can share their knowledge with you, bolstering your expertise. If you freelance for companies in several industries, it requires additional effort to build expertise. In either case, if you sound like you are working from a cheat sheet, you won’t get very far. Here’s the skinny on expertise:
14. “Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.” – Denis Waitley
15. “Blogging is good for your career. A well-executed blog sets you apart as an expert in your field.” – Penelope Trunk
16. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein
TRUST is the centerpiece of a good relationship with your audience.
Any successful salesperson and company can attest to the importance of the trust factor in retaining customers, and the same holds true for blogging. If you promise something in your article’s title, fulfill that promise in the body copy. Provide balanced information rather than acting as a promotional mouthpiece. Do your homework to assure that what you say is truthful. Here are a few reasons why this is so crucial:
17. “Transparency, honesty, kindness, good stewardship, even humor, work in business at all times.” – John Gerzema
18. “If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.” – Zig Ziglar
19. “The currency of blogging is authenticity and trust.” – Jason Calacanis
20. “It is trust, even more than mutual interest that holds human associations together. – H.L. Mencken
GOOD WRITING is essential to a blogger’s credibility.
As I say in my article about how to make your blog easy to read, the average person spends only 37 seconds reading a blog post. If you ramble, use poor grammar, and your article is full of typos, people just won’t believe what you have to say—which certainly puts you at a disadvantage in building trust with your readers. Sloppy writing indicates that a writer doesn’t care about the topic or the reader—so it’s worth taking the extra time to keep the quality high. People from business leaders to highly esteemed writers agree:
21. “The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.” – E.B. White
22. “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” – Elmore Leonard
23. “Good writing is rewriting.” – Truman Capote
24. “What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” – Samuel Johnson
PLEASING YOUR READER is much more important than pleasing yourself.
Writing a blog for your business isn’t about saying what you want others to know. It’s about answering questions that your audience cares about. The first step is to gain insight into their lives and work. The next step is to be curious about what will make their lives better. How can you save them time or money? How can you make them breathe easier? How can you make them more successful? Here are some words of wisdom:
25. “The first thing you learn about blogging is that people are one click away from leaving you. So you’ve got to get to the point, you can’t waste people’s time, you’ve got to give them some value for their limited attention span.” – Alex Tabarrok
26. “Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” – Brian Clark
27. “A blog is only as interesting as the interest shown in others.” – Lee Odden
28. “I made a decision to write for my readers, not to try to find more readers for my writing.” – Seth Godin
FOCUS is required to maximize your blogging efforts.
Most business goals requires that individuals focus on several things simultaneously. Some key areas of focus for writers include:
- Blog site: Identifying an area in which you have expertise and that your audience cares about.
- Individual articles: Finding a topic that is narrow enough to attract highly qualified leads.
- Audience niche: Focusing on a target audience that is sufficiently narrow and well-defined.
- Writing process: Exploring ways to maintain optimal concentration, such as writing in the morning, working with music in the background, or keeping a well-organized office space.
Here are some viewpoints on different types of focus:
29. A niche is – in simple terms – the general topic matter that you write about. It’s the passion or main theme of your blog. When you have a niche, all your posts revolve around that main theme, and that’s essentially all you talk about. – Elna Cain
30. “When you write down your ideas, you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools.” – Michael Leboeuf
31. “When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” – Stephen King
32. “Whatever kind of writing you do, your best pieces — those most likely to be read, to sell, to be shared — are those which concentrate on your readership rather than yourself.” – Austin Hackney
CONVERSATION creates a connection with your audience.
With SEO being such a huge topic for bloggers, it’s important to remember that you are not writing for search engines; you are writing for humans. Whether salon owners or software engineers, your audience consists of living, breathing people–and they decide which articles to click on, which articles to skip, which articles to share, and which articles to abandon. Social media is the place to start a conversation with your audience, not present a term paper. On this topic, there is universal agreement:
33. “Blogging is a conversation, not a code.” – Mike Butcher
34. “Your ultimate consumers are your users, not search engines.” – Tubakurame
35. “Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.” – Andrew Sullivan
36. “Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.” – Cory Doctorow
37. “I believe the term “blog” means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.” – Michael Arrington
CONSISTENCY is critical to growing your blog.
Writing one successful blog article is personally satisfying. Several successful articles means you may be onto something. Dozens or more successful blogs means you’re getting noticed. But having a blog that boosts your business in concrete terms requires consistency. Generally, this means at least one blog a week. A blog a day is better (but after that you hit the point of diminishing returns). But, going back to my number one rule, quality shouldn’t be sacrificed for frequency. Here are some quotes about the benefits of consistency:
38. “If you want to continually grow your blog, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis.” – Neil Patel
39. “Successful blogging is not about one time hits. It’s about building a loyal following over time.” – David Aston
40. Habits like blogging often and regularly, writing down the way you think, being clear about what you think are effective tactics, ignoring the burbling crowd about not eating bacon. All of these are useful habits. – Seth Godin
Just do it!
There may be a lot of “shoulds” for creating a successful blog. I do stress quality but, at the same time, insisting on perfection is a losing battle. Seeking the unattainable is a waste of time. Instead, ask the right questions: Does the article support my blogging goals? Is the article well written? Does it answer a question my audience cares about? Does it reflect my expertise? Answering “yes” to these questions will quell the desire to endlessly fiddle with each blog post. These quotes are helpful:
41. “Don’t try to plan everything out to the very last detail. I’m a big believer in just getting it out there: create a minimal viable product or website, launch it, and get feedback.” – Neil Patel
42. “Done is better than perfect.” – Sheryl Sandberg
43. “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.” – Seth Godin
Don’t be anxious about blogging…Use these quotes as inspiration!
You can probably write your own great quotes about writing blogs that will inspire others. I’d love to hear them! If you have trouble finding the time to write original, high-quality blog articles, reach out to an expert. Boston-based Westebbe Marketing can provide articles that will build trust, credibility, and influence with your audience. Contact us at (617) 699-4462 or firstname.lastname@example.org for blogging that works for you.
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