Having an Idea vs Having a Voice
I started a blog because I have some things I want to say. The idea came before the implementation. That might seem like some kind of huge initial advantage, or maybe even “what it takes” to get a blog going, but it’s really not. It’s not an overwhelming advantage and it’s definitely not “what it takes.”
It’s just how it went for me. I’m sure many people are in the same situation, but there are also a ton of people who came to the blog world from other angles.
Maybe you’re tech-minded and like the backend parts of hosting, coding, and design. Or, it could be that you just like to write and want an outlet to write more. Maybe marketing is your bag and you’re excited by the idea of building campaigns and engaging an audience. These are all valid reasons to spin up a blog. But none of them has a guiding “idea” baked into what the blog will actually be about.
I’m willing to bet that a fair number of people get hung up on the idea of what to write about and never end up writing anything. The real trick is stop worrying about this and just start writing. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing at first. What’s going to happen – as soon as you start actually getting some ideas written down – is that your brain is going to start filling in the blanks.
If you’re the tech-minded person mentioned two paragraphs ago, and you’re starting a blog mainly because you’re interested in learning more about how to manage the backend stuff, then start by just freaking saying that. “Hi. My name is Steve. I like computers and want to learn more about the hardware and software required to run a blog.” You’re going to get 200 words into an article like that and more ideas are going to start popping up your brain
- How does hosting work?
- What are popular hosts?
- What are the various software platforms?
- How do you install the software?
And on and on and on.
What’s Your Situation?
Ultimately, in the beginning, everyone is going to be in one of two possible situations:
Situation 1: You want to talk about a topic but need a blog
Situation 2: You want to blog but need a topic
Either situation is totally fine.
In Situation 1, you’re going to spend less time coming up with your first pieces of content. It’s likely that the early stages of content creation are going to flow more organically, which will give you a leg up on getting the first 10 or 15 pieces of content posted.
That’s great, and it’ll make the beginning a little easier. But it won’t last forever. Any advantage you have is going to be spent by the time you’ve written your first batch of posts.
In Situation 2, you’re going to spend some time coming up with the core concept of your blog, and you won’t have those 10 or 15 pieces of starting content to use as a jumping off point. But that’s ok, because you’ll also have a lot of freedom. Freedom to research content ideas, freedom to actively formulate a target audience, and freedom to choose topics that you think might automatically bring in some traffic right from the beginning.
Ultimately, I don’t think that either one of these situations has a distinct advantage over the other. They just use different “startup muscles” to get the ship out of the harbor.
It’s also important to realize both situations end up in essentially the same place within a relatively short amount of time. Because, once those first few posts are up and going, any advantage Situation 1 had is now spent.
Once Situation 1 and Situation 2 reach parity – that is, the “advantage” of starting with some good content ideas has been expended – keeping the content creation engine going relies on the same set of core principles.
If we’re being honest, I’ve discovered that creating great blog content is not a game of who has the best ideas. It’s a game of who can take their ideas and efficiently translate them into actual posts that actually get posted. In fact, I’d say that a “great idea” is only about 25% of what it takes to make a great POST. Maybe less.
Turning ideas into content that’s going to work for your blog takes some specific skills and knowledge. Luckily, it’s the kind of knowledge you only need to learn once.
So there it is, the secret to creating great content. Oh, you missed the secret? That’s because there is no secret! There’s only you and what you decide to do.
What you need for your project to be successful isn’t a tagline secret, it’s determination and interest. You have to want the project to succeed and you have to be interested in what’s going on. If you have those two things, you’re going to power through any initial content creation issues with no problem. And once the ball starts rolling, you’ll find your flow.
Get off your butt and get it rolling.