I have to tell you- I’ve been looking forward to writing the next edition of Blog Notes since my last post. My mind is brimming with ideas for this series and the most challenging part has been narrowing down what I want to talk about every other week. There are quite literally a million things I want to cover. But my goal is to focus on the basics for the first few weeks, and closely cover the core elements needed to make a blog a success. First and foremost (after setting aside the time, of course)? Ensuring you’re creating, not just curating, content.

I am by no means the first to say this, but content, when it comes to a blog, is truly king. The first step in creating a blog that’s destined to grow is to ensure you’re consistently creating original content. That means you’re either producing your own copy and photographs, or pulling together inspiration you find online in a truly innovative way. Over the years, I’ve found that the solution for ensuring CC continually reflects content that is unique to me is not vested in one single tactic, but multiple. Here are my go to methods:

Use Your Voice Have you ever noticed how the best recipe, outfit, design, DIY (you name it) posts start with a story? The blogger starts off talking about something that initially may feel completely unrelated to the title or pictures in the post? In doing so they’re employing their voice- and the post becomes more about their personal story rather than the dish or clothing item they’re talking about. In each post you write, think how about how you can be using your true voice and bringing your personal experiences to life.

Editorial Calendar I’m also not the first to emphasize the importance of an editorial calendar, but one method I found really made a difference when it came to fleshing out post topics weeks in advance, was working slightly backwards. Instead of sitting down with your calendar and trying to simultaneously come up with post content while assigning dates- start with a brainstorming session. Grab and pen and paper and just starting writing, jotting down every idea for a post that comes to mind. Even if you’re not sure if the topic could be a full blown post- write it down anyway. Once you’ve got a list of 20+ items, start to review and group. Do any of the posts fit together, could any form a series? Which ones are going to take the most time and therefore require some planning? Are any topics time sensitive- i.e. do they relate to holidays or specific seasons? Once you’ve organized the list, then begin assigning dates and backing out your blog calendar. For a more detailed tutorial on how to set up an editorial calendar for you blog, I highly recommend this post from Lisa at Elembee.

Quality over Quantity There’s this idea that in order to create a successful blog, you need to be blogging 5+ days a week. So not true. Yes, I do that here, and many other bloggers do it- but I both have help in the form of contributors, and can devote a bit more time to my blog since it’s part of my business. Quality is of the utmost importance, so if that means you can only produce two or three posts per week- go with that. Keep a consistent posting schedule and work to continually promote that content, rather than pushing out content that is sub par.

Get Offline And stop reading so many blogs… except for this one! No but really, this last tip might be the most important. If you’re constantly browsing online, always looking to other blogs for inspiration, it’s incredibly challenging (I think) to come up with your own content. My best ideas always occur when I’m walking around the city, in the shower, reading a magazine or news article, or doing something that is entirely unrelated to blogging. I read lots of blogs, so clearly I’m not saying to erase that time from your life, but do make sure you’re consistently delegating time away from the computer to stir up inspiration of your own. I can’t recommend this practice enough.

Woo- a novel once again! I think that’s about it on my end, but I’d love to hear- any tips you have on keeping your content original? And please tell me I’m not the only one who gets their best ideas in the shower!

  1. Thanks for the great post, Clara! I love the tips here, especially the one about getting out and being inspired with things in your world. Sometimes I tend to over-think what I’m going to post, rather than sticking to what I find to be inspiring in my daily life.

  2. Awesome post and great advice, will truly take to heart!

  3. Fantastic tips! Last year I was all about having a very structured editorial calendar and sticking to it, which was super helpful in establishing a routine and getting in the habit. This year my goal is to show more of my voice — if I’m going to post a roundup, I want to post a real story with it as well. I also want to be a little less strict about following my editorial calendar, because sometimes the best posts are the ones that strike you at the moment.

    You are completely right about quantity over quality — I had to accept this past month that for now, it’s just not feasible for me to post 5 days a week, and that’s ok. I was worried my traffic would decrease, but I’ve actually had my best month ever, and I think it’s because the posts I did create were better quality, and as such more likely to be shared.

    Thanks so much for including my link!

    • Clara

      Lisa- that’s so interesting that your traffic spiked (and wonderful to hear!). I loved all the blogkeeping posts you do- so was thrilled to include it! xx

  4. I try to use my voice in every post. Even if I’m linking up to someone’s work or something I try to make sure something original or personal from me is always added!! I think I have to try an editorial calendar. I seem to be all of the place.

    Thanks for the tips! I will so put them to good use! =)

  5. a-men to that last idea. i always notice that when my work schedule slows down in the summer, my eyes and ears are open to much more inspiration out in the real world. love your tips!

    • Clara

      Thanks, Jennie! I feel so strongly about that last one, too.

  6. Ideas are always swirling around in my head as I’m trying to fall asleep! Thanks for this series. You have so many good points to think about. My next goal is to start working with a calendar. (Easier said than done for me!)

  7. I completely didn’t realize that what I was doing was looking to other blogs for inspiration but you are totally right! It only makes more sense to find orginal inspiration for original content. I definitely loved this post and hope that you do more like it in the future.

  8. I love your idea of working backwards and using that to group posts into series or themes. Great tip!

  9. I agree with you on the part about finding inspiration in the most random places- even at the seafood market! When I think of something, I immediately create a note and save it to my Springpad app on my phone. It works because I always have my phone around and I don’t miss an idea. I feel it is important to note down an idea, quote or any inspirational nugget as soon as it hits. Later, you can even trash it from your list of ideas, but at least it’s there for you to review.

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