It was 7:49 pm on a Friday night and I was staring blankly into my closet. I honestly don’t know how long I had been there looking at the same clothes, totally spacing out.
My husband and I were supposed to be at a fancy-shmancy function for his work downtown and I had hit that moment of panic where you realize you have a closet full of clothes, but nothing you’d actually want to be seen in public wearing.
The babysitter had been there for at least 30 minutes and I could tell she was eager for us to leave so she could turn on The Bachelor. My husband was impatient. “What are you doing in there?” he yelled from the kitchen. “You have a closet full of clothes — just pick something!”
And he was right (although I will never admit that to him, of course). I had plenty of options lined up on pretty little hangers right in front of me. But that was the problem. I had so many options that I had no idea where to start.
Fashion is not my only enemy. I also get that panicky, why-did-I-wait-this-long, no-idea-where-to-start feeling when it comes to blogging. I have Google docs jammed full of ideas for posts — many of which are already halfway complete!
Blog post ideas are easy to come up with. It’s finishing those suckers that’s hard! When it comes to content you don’t want to just throw something together, but you want to get it out the door eventually.
It’s time to finally publish some of the great blog ideas you have. Open up that folder or file where you save all of your blog post ideas and let’s tame that beast.
Step 1: Ask your community what they want
My friend Tim Grahl says that marketing really comes down to one thing: being relentlessly helpful. Asking the people who are going to read your content what they want to learn about is one of the very best ways to know that you’re going to create something useful.
Someone who does this outrageously well is Val Geisler. Val’s Facebook group called Simplified Systems is dedicated to putting systems in place for your business (Want to join? It’s free!). She often asks the group what they want to learn about. Here’s an example:
She received feedback from over 20 people about what she should include in her next webinar. Now she knows exactly what people want to learn about through her next piece of content. This is being relentlessly helpful in action.
Step 2: Prune your topics like a mother
Open up Google docs or Evernote or wherever you save all your ideas. Star the topics that jump out at you as winners and move them to a separate folder. By now you should have only a handful of posts. Now, the only thing left in this folder are the not-so-shiny ideas. You could even rename this folder “duds” or “wtf” or “what was I thinking?”.
Not every marketing idea deserves your time and attention. Some are j. You don’t have to completely get rid of the ideas in this folder yet, but keep them separated from the really good ideas (for your sanity!).
Step 3: Combine, blend, merge
If you’re anything like me, some of your ideas start to run together. One of the best ways to actually finish those blog posts is to take 3-4 related topics and turn them into one post. For instance, here are a few topics I have on my never ending list of half-written blog posts:
Think I could combine these to make one post? Definitely!
One of the best ways to actually finish those blog posts is to take 3-4 related topics and turn them into one post.
Step 4: Polish & Publish
Now that you’ve asked your audience what they want, pared down your list to a manageable size and started combining half-written blog posts together, you’re 90 percent done! All you have to do now is wrap it up.
One of the easiest ways to put the finishing touches on your blog post is to tie in a personal story. This doesn’t have to take a long time. In fact, it shouldn’t. Set a timer for 10 minutes and fire up a voice recording app on your phone (or better yet, try voice-to-text so you don’t have to retype anything). Just start talking. Once the story idea starts flowing, just polish and publish!
Date Night Done Right
I eventually made it out of the house (with clothes on!) for date night with my husband using the same hacks I use to finish a blog post.
Since it was his work event we were going to, I asked my hubs if this was a formal thing or casual. Then I looked at my closet (and all eleventy-seven things packed into it) and pulled out a few pieces that looked the most interesting. And by “pieces” I mean t-shirts and scarves from Target. Because that’s where most of my wardrobe comes from.
I threw everything on my bed so I could see them a little better, combined a few pieces and added a piece of jewelry to tie it all together.
BAM! Three minutes later we were out the door.
Now it’s your turn
How do you deal with a content backlog? Share your tips for turning all your blog post ideas into published posts in the comments below!