You're sitting (or standing) at work, trying to think of something to write a blog post about. Your computer monitor blasts a blank document—Microsoft Word, Apple's TextEdit, or whoever made WordPerfect—onto your eyeballs, and you have no *$&#^@! idea where to begin.
How do you fill the screen with smart, cool words that get people to care about what you have to say?
I've created a few simple rules for getting yourself from nothing to a finished blog post quickly, and without much pain. I call it, Rules for Blogging About Stuff™.
Rule 1: Write about what you know.
If you were put in a room with 200 others, what could you do better than all of them? Do you have a black-belt in hapkido? Do you craft berets for orphans? Are you an expert in reconciling quantum physics using String Theory?
No matter what it is, there are subjects in which you know WAY more than the average schmoe. This immediately puts you in a better position to teach, talk and write about these things.
I might write about teaching myself to recite the alphabet backwards in case I'm ever put through a DUI Field Sobriety Test.
I could share different ways to procure water when stranded in the desert—something I learned during Air Force survival school.
What if I explain how it feels to be 17 years old, watching the body of your childhood dog burn in a self-built pyre because the ground was too frozen to bury her?
See, that's three things right off the top of my head! Things I know a lot about. Now you try.
"But Joe, I don't know anything." You say aloud to the computer screen, bothering all the other library patrons.
That leads us to #2.
Rule 2: If you don't know anything, write about something else.
Write something about a cool YouTube video, an Emmy fashion screw-up, or how the second-tier sport judges for the football game ruined it for the Cheese People. Hell, I want someone to explain why Wilford Brimley pronounces the word "diabetes" the way he does.
News happens all the time. It's happening right now. It happened as you read this sentence. Take advantage. You don't need any talent to craft something useful out of current events. Jay Leno is living proof.
But be careful! Just because you know the subject you're writing about, or just because it's some topical issue, doesn't mean it belongs on the blog you're writing.
The trick is to turn your subject around, look at it from all directions and figure out how it connects to the "theme" of your blog.
Writing about things willy-nilly will fragment your audience. Don't cover the preferred tire pressure for monster truck tires (8 psi) on a Monday, only to follow up with a Thursday post about how candy corn mixed with peanuts tastes like a Payday candy bar. (It does.)
People are less likely to return to your blog if they can’t be certain they’ll get information pertaining to a common theme that interests them.
At i.d.e.a., our blog topics relate to the services we provide our brand partners. As a full-service creative communications company, we are lucky to have a TON of stuff to talk about:
A couple months ago, I saw a cool video about peeling a banana from the other end. I thought about it for a bit, and twisted it to fit i.d.e.a.’s marketing/advertising blog audience.
Not trying to toot my own horn, but "honk, honk"…that post dominated faces around the globe, and got thousands of page views. I know that its popularity didn’t hinge on what I wrote. It was the fact that the video (a current/topical subject) was so cool and original. Twisting until it fit paid off.
If you follow these rules, you should be done writing a blog post in no time.
If you go through each one and still don't have something worth writing about, you can always create a whole blog post about how to come up with a blog post idea.
That works, too.