Blogging Tips for Non-Writers

Jeff Goins // @kylereed

Today I am excited to share this space with my friend Jeff Goins. I asked him to write about something that I struggle with…writing. Jeff has greatly excelled in the area of writing. He has written for Catalyst Space, Relevant Magazine and the place that I dig the most his blog Goinswriter.com. I think you are really going to be able to walk away with some very practical tips on writing. Be sure to show him some love and I think he has a question at the end for you to check out.

I know a lot of people who blog, but don’t necessarily consider themselves writers. They blog, because they know they’re supposed to do it. They blog to build a platform or gain an audience.

Maybe they’re blogging because some SEO expert told them to do it or because their high-profile status requires them to have a blog.

But in all honesty, they don’t like it very much. It’s hard to blog every day, finding something new to say in a brand new way. They’re busy, and the idea of sitting down in front of the computer to blog for 20 or 30 minutes hurts their brains.

“Trying harder” isn’t a viable option. Especially if they’re “creatives” (i.e. designers, photographers, videographers, etc.)

This presents a problem, doesn’t it? Because content is still king. And text is still the dominant medium.

So, what do you do? Here are a few tips that I often give non-writer folks to help them continue to blog:

1) Keep it short.

Don’t try to be more eloquent than you really are, and stop yourself once you start rambling. The longer you write, the more your non-writer-ness comes out.

2) Get creative.

Do a photo blogs. Write a bulleted lists. Do a quick step-to-step guide to something you’re an expert at. There are some really successful nontraditional bloggers out there (like Gary Vaynerchuk) who are sharing content in unique ways.

3) Ask someone else.

Get another blogger (especially the writing type) to do a guest post for you. Interview someone on Twitter and turn that conversation into a blog post (if the interviewee consents to it). With their permission, share short excerpts of other people’s content (Guy Kawasaki does this all the time).

4) Don’t force yourself.

For writers, sometimes this is necessary, but for non-writers, this could just make you more frustrated. Write naturally. Do something that inspires you, and then let the words come.

5) Create conversations.

Ask really good questions that provoke people to respond. If you’re a great provocateur, you can get away with short, thought-compelling posts. The commenters will carry it the rest of the way.

6) Ask for help.

Have a friend proof your blog or help you with your writing. It’s always good to do a quick proof of a blog post before publishing.

7) Keep at it.

Writing can be cultivated just like any other skill. If you want to get better, keep showing up. It just takes discipline and maybe some coaching.

What tips would you give to someone who blogs but isn’t a writer?

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Jeff Goins

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Writer. Idea Guy. Mobilizer. I like blogging, dreaming, and making a difference. http://about.me/jeffgoins
  • http://theperkinsblog.net Michael

    Literally all 6 of 7 are the things that I try to do. I haven’t had many guest posts.

    • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

      That’s great, Michael. You do a fantastic job of building community on your blog and interacting with your readers. From a technical perspective, guest-blogging is a really great way to build inbound links, which strengthen your SEO. I have a web developer friend who says that guest-blogging for others is 4-5 times as valuable as creating new content on your site (from a strictly SEO perspective).

      Having others post on your site (if it’s appropriate for your blog) is a good way to build inbound links, as well, because (like I did with Kyle today) most people will post a link on their blog to the guest post on your site.

      Just food for thought.

      *Climbs off of nerdy soap box.*

  • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

    Thanks for letting me guest-post on your blog today, Kyle.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      thank you for posting. This helps me a ton and I know it helps others as well.

      • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

        I hope so!

  • http://www.dadlife.net kevin

    Solid stuff, especially for this non-writing-trying-to-be-blogger. I think I would just reiterate point #7. It’s hard, it’s frustrating, but the more you do it the better you get (and if you don’t see yourself getting better, I think it’s ok to quit. Really). I’m not where I want to be, but I compare posts from a 12-18 months ago, and I see improvement. Thanks Jeff.

    • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

      Good call, Kevin. You underscored a point that I “pruned” in my editing of this post, which was this: I’m assuming that anyone who is blogging “should” be blogging. That is, they understand the importance of blogging for the sake of transparency or influence or whatever. Like you said, not everyone HAS to blog, but those that choose to do it, I believe, should do it well, or not at all.

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    Numbers 5 and 7 are what I try to focus on. There are definitely days when I don’t want to write, but I keep at it anyway and have found that some of my best stuff comes out on those days (other times, it can be my worst). But practice makes…well, better…so I haven’t given up just yet.

    Great advice Jeff!

    • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

      “Practice makes better…” I love it!

  • http://www.nomadicneill.com NomadicNeill

    Another idea, record a short video blog and use that as inspiration to write.

    By speaking into the camera you’ll be using a whole different part of your brain and will probably come up with something different.

    • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

      That’s a great idea, Neill. Hadn’t thought of that one.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      I love that idea. Doing that soon

  • http://kylewking.worpress.com Kyle King

    Just started blogging this month, these tips will defiantly help me. Thank you.

    • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

      Glad to help, Kyle. Checking out your blog now.

      • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

        By the way, that WP survey I had to take just to access your blog was annoying.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      Ya i am going to have to agree with jeff, that was a big deterrent to get to your blog.

  • http://www.edwardpaz.com edward paz

    #1 – Keep It Short: I couldn’t agree with you more.
    #5 – Create Conversations: I’ve gotta’ do a better job at doing this.

    Very useful post Jeff! I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

    • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Edward. If you keep creating amazing content like you’re already doing (have I told you how much I appreciate your blog?), you’ll eventually create come great conversations. You might try closing out each post with a short question.

      • http://www.edwardpaz.com edward paz

        Great feedback. I’m gonna’ close my next post out with a question. We’ll see how it goes!

        • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

          looking forward to it!

  • http://www.bensayin.com Ben

    I think these are all great points, but as a non-writer I think you could do a lot with #5, because most people like the community aspect anyways.

    • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Ben. I agree – #5 is applicable to any blogger. Community is an essential to successful blogging, in my opinion.

  • http://www.Audrakrell.com Audra Krell

    I’m a writer and still I struggle to blog. I got great tips out of this. Most importantly, to keep it short. Even though I write well, people won’t read long posts.

    • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

      Me, too, Audra. I think there is going to be a renaissance of the long-form blog post. Keep doing what you’re doing.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      that is so hard to do, but you are right

  • http://ashley.theworldrace.org Ashley Musick

    I blog, but wouldn’t consider myself a writer. I blog because i feel a bit obligated, and it helps me process my own thoughts. But in the midst of this mindset, and feeling the need and desire to do it more. So for me, I think the best tip you gave Jeff is the last one… keep at it. A writer is a writer because they write. So start there.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      Interesting, why do you feel obligated?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      The more you do this, Ashley, the more you’ll love it.

    • Rachclugston

      Ablogated, I guess…

  • http://abrahamchronicles.com dustin

    great list Jeff. #4 hits home with me.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Dustin.

  • http://infuse.posterous.com/ Infuse

    one tip?
    make sure you use spell check ~
    big frustration as a reader!
    great tips ~ thx Jeff & Kyle

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com Kyle Reed

      yes, it is so easy to miss those words sometimes, but a simple spell check takes care of all of that

      • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

        Actually, spell check isn’t a perfect proofreader. It’s good to get some human eyes on it, too.

  • Pingback: Seven Tips for Getting Your Guest Posts Published | Goins, Writer

  • Matthew G

    Great post thanks for the tips!! # 1 is my problem I get really long winded when I blog. Thank you

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      I struggle with that as well