That said, it doesn’t have to be a chore. There are some specific things you can do to make your writing comfortable and fun. I know for me, much of the stress around writing comes from being strapped for time and then “having” to write something.
Inspiration doesn’t always strike on a schedule…
Batch it, Baby
By doing solid research and writing pitches, you’ve got a lot of the hard stuff out of the way. So, it’s just a matter of making time to write the post.
Writing is one of those things where you need to get in the groove. So if you can, but aside time every week for writing your guest posts. If you are pitching on an ongoing basis you’ll quickly have a couple to write each week. By batching them this way you can save time and energy.
Set up shop somewhere that inspires you or at a time of day that you find super productive. If you get distracted turn off the Internet to help you stay on task. Just do what you need to do to get the post written and ready to share with the world.
Creating Compelling and Complete Content
Sure you’ve got your pitch as a starting point, but when you sit down to write, there’s a few things you do not want to miss as part of the writing process.
First stop, SEOville. That’s right, time to talk keywords:
Title: If possible include them in your title for the piece, as close to the beginning of the title as possible. If you want to learn more about great titles, check out Using Titles Effectively on ProBlogger.
Body Copy: Use your keywords throughout your copy but avoid using too many links, particularly back to your web site. This is a complicated issue and really needs its own post, but the bottom line is to not add a whole pile of links back to your web site in the post. If you are interested, you can check out this article from PC World on all the Google ins and outs on backlinks.
Now that we’ve got that pesky SEO stuff out of the way, here are some additional things you need to check as you write your post:
Tone: Avoid sounding like a professor. Yes, you want to write with authority, but you want to approach it from the place of “hey, I’ve totally been there” instead of “yo, I’m all-knowing”.
Research: Ensure you back up what you are writing as much as possible. It’s not about your opinion but an industry best practice or proven tactic. That’s where statistics, quotes and other things come in handy.
Be Specific: Deliver content that readers can take action from instead of talking in generalities. What do you want them to walk away and be able to do?
Create Original Content: Whatever you do, do not simply take another blog post you’ve written and slap a new title on it. Google wants original content and you want to serve your desination blog well with quality content not something you grabbed out of the recycle bin.
Edit Like a Pro or At Least Like You Mean It
Once you have a finished piece, get ready for editing. This is where you should spend the bulk of your time. The goal is to cut, tighten and improve your copy time and time again. So, last minute Lucy, this is why you do not want to write your guest post the night before the deadline, okay?
For your editing, if you can, trade off with friend or someone with a keen set of eyes. Recruit your VA or business BFF to get them to review and make changes. A second set of eyes is always a good idea as sloppy mistakes can quickly kill your post if you submit it that way.
Self-editing is always a challenge, so try one of these tried and true editing tricks:
Read your text backwards. It’s a great way to find spelling or grammar mistakes.
Print it up and read it in hardcopy. It’s easier to see mistakes offline.
Read out loud. Does it sound like something you’d actually say? Does it make sense?
Finally, once you’ve written and edited, if you can give the post a day or two to mellow so you can come back to it with a new perspective. This is the perfect way to ensure you can chop sections that aren’t relevant and spiffy things up as you aren’t as attached the product. It’s no longer the masterpiece you just wrote but that post you are working on so you can definitely polish it up. Good luck!