Hurdles to blogging – #12 I can’t write in enough depth
When I mention a figure like ‘1000 words’ a lot of people start to freak out about writing that much. They are particularly worried about not having enough to say on a certain subject and therefore not offering enough depth to illustrate expertise and knowledge.
My advice – start broad and then go deep!
Using the tree diagram method
The brilliance of a brainstorm
On my Blog Starter Package, I always get participants to start with a brainstorm and ask them to write down as many things about their business as possible. This really can be everything from the location of the business, to the services offered, to their vision and values.
From this short 10 minute exercise, it is amazing how blog topics start to emerge and, interestingly, how little clusters of subjects appear. Often people write out their brainstorm with lines that go from the centre, to a word, and then from that one word ‘spring’ several other words (see my example below because gosh it is hard to describe in written form!). This is a made up example for a web designer, let’s say.
Developing this idea for a blog, this is what I mean when I say about starting ‘broad’ and then going in to more depth.
So, taking this example, I would suggest that a first blog post could be on ‘basic websites’, talking generally about them, the approach to design and then each of the associated words could become a paragraph or two (with a heading!) in their own right.
So to reach a 1000 words, all you have to is write 150 words on five items (i.e. SEO, Site Map, Menus, Pages and Functionality). Then a 150 word introduction and a 100 word summary…and you’re all done! And you haven’t had to worry about depth or any need to go in to much detail. In fact, in these introductory style posts, it can actually be more difficult to stop yourself going in to lots of detail! However, do not worry about this…as if you find yourself wanting a lot more that 150 words then you will start to see where a future blog post will come from. Because, this is how you will end up writing more in-depth blog posts, by expanding on what you just touched on in previous posts.
Creating a tree diagram
What starts as a keyword and a few related ideas, then starts to form in to a web of blog topic ideas, which importantly not only offer more and more depth and detailed information, but also allows numerous interlinking opportunities between all of the relevant posts (great for SEO) – because you can mention them to give reader background information and/or context. It will also mean you won’t have to repeat too much of what you have already written, without leaving a new reader completely lost.
So, as you can see from the example…your blog topics start to grow and will continue to grow as you write each one and new ideas will be spawned from posts you write.
Don’t be afraid of research
If there is a topic you are keen to write about but after a bit of planning and say 250 words or so, you are struggling to carve out much of structure or to offer interesting content, then consider doing some research. It is ok not to know everything off the top of your head.
I love researching a new topic area. If I can read 3-4 articles and then write what I have learnt in my own words and weave in my own knowledge or experience, then it really proves to me that I have understood what I have been researching. If you can take what you have learnt and put it in to your own words, then you know you have really absorbed it. Don’t be afraid to reference where you got your information too.
Do ensure you use reputable sources and be critical and analytical about what you are reading. Consider when it was written, as well as who by. And it goes without saying, do not plagiarise! You can quote very small amounts (a sentence or two) and use the text you copy for ‘criticism and review’, i.e. comment on it, but don’t forget to give the reference and to insert quotation marks (“…”) so that it is obvious that they are not your original words.
A blog is a growing and expanding piece of ‘work’. Don’t try to jump in to in-depth topics too quickly. It is fine to write four or five introductory blogs, introducing you, your business, your services, your key areas and USPs (unique selling points) before offering more detailed and ‘expert’ posts. These introductory ones are vital for giving your business blog a context and also for helping you find your feet at the start of your blogging journey.
The best advice in writing is always ‘write about what you know’ – and I say ‘write about what you know best’ – so those basics that are really obvious to you can often be the most useful information you can share, for most readers.
Another hurdle made a little easier combat…
Now that I have allayed another of your concerns about depth and blog writing, why not discover my solutions to lots of other hurdles … and then stop making excuses and get blogging!