We can all agree that content marketing is one of the key ways of generating inbound leads, virtually irrespective of sector, product or service. The only problem with everything being focused around content is the need for content. Which means someone has to write or produce it, whether its a blog, image, video, info-graphic, or anything else an audience is going to want to interact with. Looking at one aspect of content: blogs, means considering for a moment how some highly productive bloggers create work which interests millions of readers.
1. Leo Babauta: Write every day.
Leo has made blogging into an essential part of his income, with his very popular Zenhabits being the basis of a series of books and courses which teach people how to live better, more fulfilling, happier lives.
His advice to everyone (not just writers) is “write something every day.”
“I started this blog in January 2007, and have written pretty much every day since then. It was life-changing.”
2. Sarah Wilson: Don’t finish your work in one go.
Sarah Wilson has a varied career where writing has played a key role, including several e-books around the i quit sugar theme. Her solution to blank page fears are to work on the same piece over time, so it is always being added to and improved.
“I tend to bang out some ideas and clip links as I go and keep about 20 “on the boil” posts in my drafts folder which I add to, patchwork, fiddle with over time.”
Which means when it is time to publish something or a slot appears in her content schedule, “I’ll write some afresh, or I pull one that inspires me from my drafts and tidy it up.” This way, like Leo, she is writing every day and her work continues to improve over time.
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3. Jeff Goins: Have a flexible routine.
Having a routine is said to be necessary for any professional who falls into the ‘creative’ side of being a professional. Having ideas, and indeed the work that happens to turn those ideas into reality, can and does happen at any time of the day or night. But that doesn’t mean you should be working at 3AM and sleeping till noon.
Having a routine is important to ensure you have a structure to your day, but that has to be best suited to you and whatever else is going on in your life.
Jeff has been writing for years, and has, as many writers do, lived an interesting life. Which is why he understands how to make a routine work well for you:
“The reality of routines is they’re usually so quirky and idiosyncratic that they really only work for the person practicing them. And that’s the point: Find a system that helps you get the work done, and then use it.”
4. Andy Orins: Have lunch, walk fast
Andy is the editor of the very popular blog, Lifehacker, which means he’s not only writing every day but editing, which is a great skill for any writer to learn. Only through editing do you learn the art of selection, which a first or even second draft doesn’t allow.
His advice is to walk fast, which as walking is highly recommended for anyone who works largely in their head (exercise, like a routine, keeps the words flowing) and either skip, or have a light lunch and keep working.
Skipping lunch perhaps isn’t the right approach, but having a light lunch is. That way your newly oxygenated (after a walk) circulatory system is still directed to your brain, not your stomach. It all makes for a more productive day.
5. Maria Popova: Write for yourself first
This goes for everyone. Whether you are a freelance copywriter just starting out or a Pulitzer-prize winner. It doesn’t matter whether you are contracted to write what your client wants or just rambling away on your blog. You have to live with your body of work, at the end of the day. And be proud of it.
Therefore you are the first person in your audience. Write for you first, and just as importantly, understand why you are writing. Her advice to aspiring and fellow writers:
“It’s fine to find gratification in the approval of others or in financial success or in any other extrinsic reward, but it’s toxic to make that approval or prestige the motive to write.”
These are all people who have made a successful career from writing. If you are using content for an inbound marketing strategy then whether it is you, or someone else doing the work, ensure some element of routine, habit, flexibility, passion and professionalism goes into the work which underpins your inbound strategy.
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