When professionals are new to blogging, just getting started can be the biggest hurdle to overcome. Here are a couple of suggestions to help get you started.
Your topics list
Keep a running list of topics that you want to cover. No need to write more than a few words. Be sure to save this document, as you’ll want to review the list periodically.
Your working title
When you have 10-15 minutes of free time, review your list of topics and write a ‘working title’ for your first blog post. It needn’t be catchy or pithy at this point – just something to get you started. But, if you do come up with a great hook, go for it!
Now that you have your working title look at the suggestions (below) for your ideas on how to approach your topic. Jot down a few bullet points to form an outline. You can fill in the details later.
Remember: Blog posts are not long, academic treatises, white papers, or case studies. A good blog post gives your reader a few insights into you, your thinking, or something new about the topic you’ve chosen to discuss. Professional bloggers believe the ideal length for a post is between 300-600 words for social sharing and commenting.
Lessons from movies and television
“What ____ can teach you about ____.”
Titles from famous plays and movies work well for the first blank, like: “Hamilton,” or “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Fictional characters from popular TV shows are also great hooks. Mary Richards, Frank Underwood, John Snow – even Saul Bueno can work if you know your audience.
The first catchy, alliterative title I can remember was that bestselling paperback in the 80s, “Thin Thighs in Thirty Days.” Who could resist that one?
Cosmopolitan magazine has been doing this for years! Running lists are easy reads and especially helpful for an online audience. Even the most mundane topics sound more interesting when you apply a listicle to the title and your approach. For example, “Seven Tips for a Winning Conference Experience.”
Name that tune
Take a song title and switch it up to include your topic. Or, make use of that earworm you can’t get rid of, like “Rainy Days and Mondays and ____.”
Mine your own history*
Lead with something memorable from your past, like:
– That expression your parents often repeated – and why it’s (finally) relevant today
– A gem from a teacher that has stayed with you for years
And there’s always “Newsjacking”
Did you read a great story or post that your audience would appreciate? Start by copying and pasting a link to the story and weigh in with a couple introductory sentences on LinkedIn or Twitter. A lawyer I know with a very niche practice bolstered his reputation (and business) by newsjacking. His daily habit of posting topical newsjacked stories on LinkedIn has helped keep him top-of-mind with clients and prospects.
Finally, here’s the trifecta of tips — all rolled into one post title!
*Speaking of mining the past, this post originally appeared on LinkedIn as “Blogging: But how do I start?” on August 9, 2017.
Photo credit (above): Gregory M. Lewis’ post on LinkedIn