Managing your time wisely and effectively to allow yourself to write a blog, a column, a newsletter and a book review, may be easy for a seasoned journalist, but a technically focused, word-challenged, social networker needs to have other strategies in place. Fellow marketing consultant and friend Steve Gasser and wife Beth recently had a good post on their blog about 5 tips to writing regular blog posts . It provided some good tips to generate ideas on blog topics. Some I plan to implement. What I really need help with is a bigger topic – that of overall content generation management, before time management gets the best of me.
Is it a problem because I am an engineer?
Here is my problem. I am an engineer. I never really liked to write much or thought I was very good at it. I did take an interesting college writing class and it explored some new areas for me, but I stayed an engineer and really liked lab reports. I actually believe that my identical twin sister has the real creative writing talents.
As in everything I do for my clients, I am trying to build an authority blog strategy that will help them be successful and also learn about social media at a deeper thought level. What’s hard it figuring out how best to integrate writing for these commitments with my work and everyday life without living on the computer, attached to it like an umbilical cord.
Content is king and gets you found
The Internet and search is about content. Google loves user generated content. Social Media sites are the search engine’s darlings at this point in time with new fresh content being generated in 140 character bites or more every second.
Writing should help people find me in the clutter of consultants, websites and people on the Internet. I write for my blogs – Network Mindshare and Wisconsin Social Media, a column for an online magazine – MadisonSocialMediaExaminer.com (bi-monthly), a book review – BookReview.com (monthly), a column for an online newsletter – financial services newsletter (monthly), local news sources, as well as for two other blogs that ask me to be a contributing author – Customer Think and Social Media Today(occasional). They are all important for me to be recognized as an expert and authority resource in my area of expertise. I also try to comment at least once each day on other blogs that I find interesting, stimulating, controversial, or in my hobby area.
All this takes time and I am finding that I must manage my time better and be as creative as I can with what I do write. As an example – I took a time management quiz with a friend and was just shy of the category for “immediate intervention help” with my current schedule and hectic management style.
How do you make it all work?
It would be great if I could write one post, twist it and reword it, then place it everywhere. But each writing assignment has a slightly different emphasis.
No one says that blog posts or articles have to be a particular size to be of value. Chris Brogan and Seth Godin often have very short (200-400 word) posts that are very direct, focused and insightful. Brian Solis has some very long ones that I set aside to read with more time. Axel Schultze of the Social Media Academy, recently had a bunch of short small thoughts. It was like getting a handful of M&Ms that left you still wanting more. If you have an inspirational moment and write a tome, stop before you post it and see if you can’t post pieces throughout the week that have a soap opera effect and draw your readers to click through each update to see where the story goes.
I also recently started to collect my blog comments each week to post as a collective summary each week. I found that if spent that kind of time on reading and commenting, I should use it somewhere else.
Preparation is key
Here are some quick thoughts on organizing ideas and material for blogs and articles. Let’s assume this is all online, but it could easily be folders on your desk. I plan to create computer files to access this data
- To Do – spread sheet with items organized by date and also placed on my daily calendar.
- Blog Ideas –thoughts and pages found in magazines, books and Internet (bookmarked on delicious, digg, stumbleupon).
- Blogging Tips – suggestions found on the Internet (bookmarked on delicious.com).
- Interviews – I carry a flip video and digital camera with me all the time. Perfect for impromptu interviews that can be video posts or transcribed. (bookmarked also on Youtube).
- Articles – Ideas for articles, scans of other articles that impressed me, research, white papers, ebooks (bookmarked on delicious, digg, reddit).
- Book Reviews – ones you do yourself and ones by others (posted on Squidoo, Amazon, website, blog, online newspaper).
Can anyone help by adding your own ideas? If you have a blog, what strategies do you use? Comment back and perhaps we can all help each other. I hope to make some progress and actually sleep some nights instead of writing.