It’s been a while since I (Brad), the owner of this blog, sat down to churn out a new post.
While I didn’t expect that to be the case, I have to admit, I have been less-than-organized about my approach here for some time.
That will no longer be the case. 🙂
It’s not good that I’ve been away for so long, but it is good I have a much stronger grasp on what works.
Over the last three years, I have learned, practiced, discovered, failed at, and succeeded with various strategies that I will tell you about in a moment.
The last time I sat down to pump out blog posts on BradleyJohnsonProductions.com, I’ll be honest… I didn’t know nearly as much about blogging or online content production as I do now. Including useful skills like SEO, backlinking, social media, content syndication, and visual presence.
The Importance Of Delivering Value
I needed to take a step back. Not only for me to get more serious about my craft, but to be able to bring more value next time around.
I could keep writing aimless posts, or worse yet, keep my newfound discoveries to myself, but that wouldn’t help me or you.
Let’s get into the 6 strategies of how to be a successful writer, break down what works, and lay out how to do it.
Be Consistent, No Matter What
Consistency is a writer’s best friend. Yes, that’s really the truth! There’s nothing more important in how to be a successful writer than writing consistently. As I’ve shared in previous posts, it doesn’t matter if you’re writing on a Monday night, a Thursday afternoon, or a Sunday morning. Whenever it works for you is the right time to do it.There's nothing more important to being a writer than writing consistently. Click To Tweet
The key is to put it in your calendar, set up your writing space, and make it happen. There’s a difference between hoping to get the time to write or trying to “find the time” and putting it on your calendar right now, because events in your calendar equal commitments.
Schedule Time In Your Calendar
When you have an event in your calendar, even if it’s to run an errand or go for a meal, you know you need to make it happen. Humans are creatures of habit, and if you aren’t giving yourself the tools necessary for predictability, it won’t happen.
I know that getting things in your calendar means you have to let go of other things you want to do, and that’s the point. You have to say no to the good so you can say yes to the great. You have to say no to uncertain squandering of time so you can say yes to certainty and results.You have to say no to the good so you can say yes to the great. Click To Tweet
When you get rid of one thing in your calendar or time, you open up room for more important things. It’s the way any successful person ultimately must structure their dreams and I know it can work for you too. It has worked for me in the past and continues to work for me whenever I am serious about it. Give your writing and dreams the successful strategy they need to become real!Give your writing and dreams the successful strategy they need to become real! Click To Tweet
P.S. There’s no right or wrong time spent writing when learning how to be a successful writer. Some people find focus and productivity in 30 powerful minutes of straight writing every day. Other people find that it’s easier to go for an hour and a half or two hours with a short break in the middle. It doesn’t matter what does or doesn’t work for you, as long as you pick a recurring time.
Write An Outline Every Single Time
If there was one tip I wish I could have given my younger writing self to be more productive and happier years ago, it would be this: write an outline for everything. Yes, everything. 🙂
Whether you’re drafting a new blog post, putting together a book, crafting an email, or arranging written course material, an outline gives you the flow necessary to finish your work. It also offers sanity and mental balance instead of feeling like you’re always up against a blank page.
Just like there’s no perfect answer for when to write and for how long, there’s no hard-and-fast rule for outlining. Even if you already have ideas for the content you’re writing, finishing the outline makes it much easier to finish.
Blog Post Outlining Tips
For blog posts, I like to get my title and at least three to four subheadings written down before I ever start on a paragraph. It gives me a chance to visually and mentally “write” the article in my head before physically writing it, and I can adjust it if I have forgotten any crucial subtitle points.
Creating an outline first also forces you to break up your content into sequential, digestible pieces. If your outline already guides your reader naturally through your content, the paragraphs you write will be that much clearer. Among these 6 strategies of how to be a successful writer, this saves you the most time up front.
SEO Matters (And Yes, It Really Works)
While search engine optimization (SEO) is nothing new by today’s standards, it has fallen to the wayside in some respects. It used to be at the forefront of the “latest” marketing strategies and everyone was peddling it just a few years ago. And this is for good reason: SEO is a core component of how users find information on the web, and mastering this skill is useful for any writer. It’s one of the main methods of knowing how to be a successful writer because you can learn and implement quickly.SEO is a core component of how users find information on the web, and mastering this skill is useful for any writer. Click To Tweet
There are a few fundamental elements of SEO in any piece of content:
- Keyword research
- Your title tag, H1, and meta description
- Great content that complements your keyword(s)
- Staying relevant without aiming for territory that’s beyond your level of competition
There are many other aspects of SEO, such as schema, alt text, backlinking, and sitemaps, but the above four bullet points are fantastic building blocks. They’re the characteristics of baseline SEO you’ll return to again and again. So, let’s break them down a bit, and I’ll offer my personal recommendations.
Keyword research is the bedrock of any SEO effort because it’s how you know if you’re producing content that people are already searching for. It allows you to find the average monthly search volume (SV) and competition of any keyword.
Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, or UberSuggest to find keywords people are already searching for. Once you enter a keyword idea or root keyword, each tool will display the average estimated number of people searching each month for that keyword.
Naturally, you’ll see that brief keywords (fat head keywords) have a lot of search volume, whereas lengthy keywords (long tail keywords) have less volume. You want to go after long tail keywords, especially as a new writer (or a writer new to SEO), because it’s within these keywords that your content will rank much more easily.
Recommended Keyword Research Tools
I recommend using Google Keyword Planner or Moz. Google Keyword Planner is free, but you’ll notice if you haven’t run an AdWords campaign yet, the keyword accuracy they limit your results to is broad. This is still useful but you may not find as many long tail keywords as easily. That said, this is a vital skill in knowing how to be a successful writer and you’ll be able to see how high or low the keyword’s competition is. Make a sheet of the keywords you’re going after, and then incorporate each once or twice into any post that’s 300 words or more.
Moz and SEMrush are great tools as well. You’ll see that many of these options offer free and paid features, but the free features offer a good starting point.
Titles, H1s, and Metas
When Google is crawling a page for information, it’s looking at the page’s title tag, H1 (first user-facing header on a page), and the meta description. These page components are used to determine what the page is about, and where Google decides to place it in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
To check and know where to update the H1, title tag, and meta description of any page, I recommend SEO Minion. This is a free Google Chrome extension that is point-and-click levels of simple.
Content that is informative, entertaining, useful, or all three will outperform any other SEO tip or trick. That’s not to say SEO-ing the heck out of all your content is bad (it’s definitely worth doing), but humans are the ones using technology to find solutions to their problems.At the end of the day, content that is informative, entertaining, useful, or all three will outperform any other SEO tip or trick. Click To Tweet
If your blog post gets an A+ on the SEO end but the content itself isn’t original, readers aren’t going to resonate with it. The popularity and authority of a piece of content are two SEO factors that are driven by human behavior. It’s to your benefit to always be producing content that people love, which will naturally multiply your existing SEO efforts.
Relevant SEO Territory
It’s important not to go after keywords that are beyond the scope of your website’s current traffic level and ranking capability. This ties back in with keyword research, where it’s important to aim for keywords that have lower search volume and aren’t too competitive.
Generally speaking, if your site isn’t already ranking for a lot of content, or any at all, you don’t want to target keywords that have greater search volume (SV) than a few hundred searches per month (think less than 500). This allows you to build up content on your site that can be discovered by real users in Google. It also allows you to capitalize on terms real people are searching for that not many other sites are targeting just yet.
As you grow your site’s authority and relevance with those smaller keywords, that authority creates a reciprocal effect (the growing popularity of your site makes it easier to rank for bigger keywords and vice versa). Continue backlinking, sharing relevant content via email and social media, and monitor your site for continual SEO improvements.
Build An Email List
Building an email list is so crucial for writers and authors of all kinds that I’m surprised it took me as long as it did to discover it. If there’s one thing you can do to simultaneously grow your audience, build authority, strengthen relationships with leads, and achieve “traffic on tap,” it’s maintaining an email list.If there's one thing you can do to simultaneously grow your audience, build authority, strengthen relationships with leads, and achieve "traffic on tap," it's creating and maintaining an email list. Click To Tweet
Whether you’re creating an email list for the first time or have subscribers already and are looking for new platforms to work with, it’s important to choose an email service provider that you enjoy. Mailchimp, AWeber, GetResponse, Ontraport, Constant Contact, Omnisend, and ConvertKit are just a few of the leading and more popular email marketing platforms available.
The most important step here in how to be a successful writer is start building your list today. Creating a list of names and email addresses of people who are interested in your work is the surest way to more income, bigger readership stats, and success. An email list is the number one way to:
- Get your blog posts read
- Share new content
- Encourage downloads of your book
- Sell products
- Offer discounts
- Develop a relationship of exclusivity
- Learn more about why people love your work
- Discover weak spots and improve them
- Stay in touch with people who love, trust, and share your work
- Develop a platform
- Build a long-term audience
- Generate referrals
- Produce affiliate marketing income
Give Your Readers VIP Treatment
Offering personal, practical, and ingenious materials for your readers is the difference between them treating you like every other writer and hanging onto every word you say. When you write a blog post, share the details that have helped you. If you make a video, get personal and don’t be concerned with looking perfect. When you make a social media post, make it fun and encourage people to engage.
These small, personal steps take your content from being so-so to enthralling, inviting, and powerful. There’s no greater way to connect with your ideal audience than to be yourself and allow your authentic insights to shine through.
Also, don’t be afraid to throw in quality bonuses and unexpected material for your audience! People love discovering that you went the extra mile for them. It allows them to see that you’re not just in it for you, you’re in it for them! All great writers want their readers to succeed, too, so be the writer who’s willing to share more each time. Throughout these 6 strategies of how to be a successful writer, this is the most important for building personal, meaningful connections with your readers.
Share YOUR Message
There’s one final point to make in learning how to be a successful writer: you have to produce the writing that you were born to write.As a writer, you have to produce the writing that you were born to write. Click To Tweet
Be personal, incisive, and even provocative if you need to be. Not for the sake of being provocative, or in a sexual way–that’s not what I’m getting at. Superior writing is about drawing a line in the sand and saying “this is what it means to be X, and because of that, this is what it means to be Y”.
Excellent writing is using your words to penetrate the human soul by crafting sentences that no other human mind has conceived. Magnificent writing is about taking the malleability of words and forging life-changing statements with them. Statements that rewire the mind, reinvigorate the heart, and revitalize the soul.Magnificent writing is about taking the malleability of words and forging life-changing statements with them. Click To Tweet
These strategies on how to be a successful writer can generate returns on your writing productivity, audience growth, and organization.
Be the writer you were meant to be. Start today.
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