As a new business blogger, you’re facing down one challenge after another. Between deciding you need a blog in the first place, drumming up internal support, finding the right software, and getting all your ducks in a row, just getting started can be a minor miracle.
But then comes the biggest hurdle: That nagging, persistent voice in your head. You know the one. Telling you you’re doomed, it’ll never work, and you might as well not bother.
What? You thought you were the only one who heard that voice?
Ha. Not hardly.
All writers — bloggers included — have to figure out how to silence the voice of our inner critic. Because as we all know too well, that voice can be insidious. And completely destructive.
You’ve got to kill your inner critic if you’re ever going to get any serious blogging done.
The good news is that it can be done. It only takes a little bit of effort to face down and silence those doubts once and for all. What follows are the top five lies your inner critic is probably telling you, and some time tested methods of shouting that loser down.
“You don’t have anything to say.”
Don’t worry, you have plenty to say. But waiting around for inspiration to strike is a notoriously ineffective strategy. The only thing that actually works is sitting your butt down in the chair and getting started. But you can make it easy on yourself. Create a list of topic ideas, and keep adding to it. Ask for topic ideas from everyone you can think of, inside and outside your company. Start with a post for each frequently asked question about your business. Check out your competitors’ blogs to find out what they write about.
To Do: Start a list of 5-10 potential blog post topics and circulate it by email to your coworkers and friends for suggestions. Imply that the best post ideas will be rewarded with ice cream. Lots of ice cream. Apply whipped cream as needed.
“You don’t have time to write — you’ve got a business to run.”
Nonsense. Hogwash. Poppycock. Bullnoodles. Blogging is business development.
Businesspeople make time to grow their business, or they go out of business. Writing a blog is a discipline like any other. But it doesn’t come naturally like magic — you have to form a habit. It’s just like going to the gym — you’re going to have to mark it on your calendar and keep these appointments as a sacred debt of honor.
To Do: Set aside a block of time each week to write for your business blog. Commit to publishing them on a set, consistent schedule. Refrain from making lame excuses (Hint: all excuses are lame excuses), as these have been proven to cause headaches, nausea, and unsightly blemishes. Nobody likes an unsightly blemish.
“You need hours of uninterrupted time to write a good post.”
If this sounds right to you, then you’re doing it wrong. Not every post needs to be a long, drawn-out manifesto. In fact, very, very few of them need to be long, drawn-out, and manifesto-ish. Goodness. Who wants to read a manifesto, anyway? Aim for around 600 pithy little words. Try to present just one clear, cogent nugget of thought in each post. Back it up with a little data, add an image, and you’re done.
To Do: Write one post that is about 600 words long. Print it out and stick it on the wall by your desk. Stare at it until you start seeing spots. Then write another.
“You’re a failure because nobody ever comments on your blog.”
Seriously? When was the last time you went to the bank and made a deposit of all of your recent blog comments? Paid your bills with a robust exchange of opinions? Thought so. Blog posts are there to help you (1) get found by the right visitors, and (2) convert those visitors into leads. That’s it. Instead of worrying about how many blog comments you’re getting, worry about how many of your blog visitors are clicking through your calls-to-action (CTAs) to your landing pages. Worry about why you don’t have a CTA at the bottom of each and every blog post. That’s what should be keeping you up at night, not some thinly veiled popularity contest.
To Do: Add a CTA to the bottom of each and every blog post. You did see that one coming, didn’t you?
“You’ll never be as good as [INSERT FAMOUS BLOGGER NAME].”
Well, you’ll never be somebody else, that’s for sure. You can only be you. But that’s as it should be. Don’t waste your time trying to emulate somebody else who’s already found blogging success. Find your own voice, and learn what kind of blogging works for you. Even better, find out what works for your audience. Find out what resonates with your most highly sought-after customers. That’s where the gold is.
To Do: Write a blog post. Now, before you publish it, read it out loud. Read it over the phone to your best friend. Read it out loud to your mother. Now rewrite it, using the voice you speak with. That’s your real writing voice.
What does your inner critic tell you? How do you shut it down?