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How to Structure Your Blog Post to Make It Flowy & Understandable

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In some places around my website, I created mini surveys that would help me figure out what people ACTUALLY want to read about. So about a year ago, I received this response to one of my surveys:

What’s your biggest problem when it comes to writing blog posts?:  How to structure a blog post to make it flow and understandable for the audience.

What’s your biggest problem when it comes to writing blog posts?: How to structure a blog post to make it flow and understandable for the audience.

If you’re wondering why it took me that long to write about this topic, well, the answer’s gonna make me look bad. I just completely forgot about the responses to my surveys. It was like, “Oooh! Somebody took the survey!” and I never thought to actually write blog posts on what they were asking.

(Yes, you have my permission to look disgusted.)

Anyway, I thought, better 13 months late than never! Plus, it’s also a very popular question that I still get from my readers and newsletter subscribers from time to time. So, still helpful to discuss now.

 

How to structure a blog post to make it flow and understandable

It was an anonymous submission so I can’t ask the anon to clarify, but I think I understand what they’re asking.

If you’re already a blogger, or if you love writing, writing itself may already be easy for you. (Most of the time)

What’s hard is converting that writing into something that readers can understand and enjoy. Editing, refining, and sometimes re-writing what you wrote in order to make it ‘publishable’.

Case in point: I wrote the points for this blog post in about 2 days, but editing the blog post to make it understandable took more than a week. It wasn’t easy.

 
 

Is it hard to look like you ‘flow’?

Let me tell you a story. Of how I performed when asked to do a presentation in front of the CEO of my company, Heads of Department, and also two impressive and respected experts in my field — during the first 6 months of being hired there!

The summary: I screwed it up.

How I screwed it up: First of all, I lost my voice. Whenever I get nervous, my voice dies in my throat. I don’t mean a sore throat — I mean my voice disappears eventhough I’m speaking. So imagine how awkward it was when suddenly at the end of the sentence, no sound came out!

Secondly, I started to ramble. Eventhough I had slides ready, I completely messed up the flow of the presentation. Should’ve just followed the slides but noooo. My smartass brain thought it could do better. I could see my supervisor looking all eyebrow-raised but semi-amused at the same time.

Thirdly, I didn’t get to say what I came to say. The side effect of rambling is that I completely missed certain points. Because when your mouth is busy saying things, it’s hard to suddenly stop yourself and say “OK, that’s not exactly what I wanted to say.”

So. My presentation wasn’t structured, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t understandable, and I most certainly DIDN’T FLOW. In front of people I wanted to impress. It was a cringy moment even nearly 2 years later.

 

You want to impress your readers with your flow.

You may be thinking: How is your story relevant, Aina? Presenting is a whole different thing compared to writing.

OR IS IT?

Let me tell you something. When the reader is reading your blog post, they’re reading it out loud inside their head. Or rather, they’re hearing your voice inside their head.

Your readers are reading your blog post out loud in their heads.

So if your blog post is as messy and rambly and awkward as my presentation, the effect is the same.

I completely understand why ‘the flow’ is so important to writers/bloggers. When you have that flow, your blog posts are easy and enjoyable to read. Your blog posts become natural to read. And you’ll look effortless.

We want our writing to be cool but effortlessly cool. Not like we’re trying too hard to be James Bond. Ya get me?

But writing naturally and achieving that flow takes some strategies. Which are exactly what I’ll be discussing with you in this blog post.

 

First strategy: Paint the big picture by writing a general introduction.

Don’t be that friend who starts the story with the tiniest details and then you have to ask a million questions to get the full story. That friend is a horrible storyteller.

What you need to do is to make your writing UNCOMPLICATED to follow. That means starting from the big idea and then zooming into the small ideas.

That’s the structure that you want: BIG CONCEPT > SMALL CONCEPTS.

Quick example. Let's say you want to write about the benefits of argan oil for your face. Sure, you can dive straight away into the benefits. 1st benefit, 2nd benefit, 3rd benefit…

But then about halfway through, you feel like it gets harder and harder to explain the benefits. You have to deviate from your current track to explain about things in general. In short, your thoughts become messy and you don’t see how to finish writing your points. You feel like you’re swimming through seaweed.

How to fix this? Zoom out of the points you were focusing on and start again. Firstly, what the heck are face oils?

Face oils are oils that you put on your face to moisturize and hydrate your skin. They’re like the face creams you usually put on before bed, but are in oil form instead. (There, that’s a good general introduction.)

You may think, isn’t it cliche to talk about general things? Plus it’s so unnecessary because the general points are usually too basic. I don’t want to write a school essay.

I hear ya, but here’s the thing:

  1. Not everyone that reads your blog post knows everything (or even ANYTHING) about the topic you’re writing about. You can't assume that you are writing for people who have the same level of information that you do.

    So, rather than leave the beginners totally confused and abandoned, a general introduction will equip them with the right concept and terminology to properly understand the rest of your blog post.

    (If you had skipped the explanation of face oils, people who have never heard of face oils would think it’s crazy to put oil on their faces.)

    BTW, for readers who already know the general stuff, they'll just skim through that intro part. It won't be an issue.

  2. Even if you’ve explained the general idea in a different blog post before, it’s NOT REDUNDANT to write about it again. You can’t assume that your reader has read that particular post before.

    The readers who are currently reading right now may be totally new to your blog. So it doesn't hurt to re-explain stuff for their convenience.

    It doesn't mean that you have to explain it from A to Z. Just briefly explain AND link that part to the previous post. You can add, "I've talked about face oils and why they're actually good for your skin in *this post*."

Making your writing easy to follow may mean that you have to write a little bit more before diving into the points, but it's better than confusing them!

When your writing is easy to follow, no matter if your reader is a beginner or otherwise, it’ll just flow better.

 

Second strategy: Make it conversational by including your friend.

A blog post is NOT supposed to be a lecture. And you’re not a lecturer.

The best outcome of writing is when your reader feels that you’re speaking to them, and there’s a conversation flowing between you and them (for the whole blog post!).

If you want your reader to be your friend, write as if they're your friend.

When this happens, your writing will be conversational. The words that you use are more informal (and casual) and you phrase your sentences differently. It’s the difference between writing “There are several varieties of face oils in the market” and “You can check out a few different face oils in the market”.

(OK, maybe not a perfect example there, but you get what I mean)

But how to make it conversational when you’re writing on your own? You can’t always have your friend with you to help you write.

Well, you’re gonna have to work double-time and cover for your friend too. Basically, write AS IF you’re having a conversation with your friend.

If your writing still doesn’t feel conversational enough, no worries. It’s time to edit. (My writing rarely turns out conversational enough the first time — I usually need to edit in the conversation)

Here's how you edit in the conversation:

1) Take whatever you've written. Look at it in front of you.

2) Paragraph by paragraph — read it out loud. It has to be out loud. Not just in your head, OK? You have to hear what you’re writing for this strategy to work.

3) Read it in the best intonation possible, as if your friend is in front of you. Like you're telling your friend something.

4) Occassionally, switch roles and become your friend for a bit to ask questions. Like, suddenly, you'll be the friend who asks, "Wait, I thought it's bad to put oils on your face??" This will be a good opportunity for you to include the questions as well as the answers.

When you write as if you’re having a conversation with your reader, you’ll hit the natural flow of the conversation. What question will your friend ask first? How will your friend react to this or that? You’ll KNOW, because the conversation is happening inside your head! Now you just have to put them into words.

 

Third strategy: Relate to your readers by finding out WHO they are.

The way to REACH inside and GRAB your reader’s brain is to understand this: WHO is your reader?

Day after day, when you’re tapping away on your laptop, or scribbling away on your notebook, who do you imagine you’re writing to?

If you say you’re writing to Anyone or Everyone, that means you’re not PERSONALIZING your writing enough.

Structure is important, but knowing who you write to is even more CRUCIAL to making your blog post understandable.

When it’s not personalized, it means that it’s general. Like it’s not intended for anyone. Your reader is reading and he/she isn’t feeling special, because it’s not personalized to him/her. Your writing won’t flow the way it’s supposed to in his/her head.

At work, there’s usually a few talks every month that everyone is supposed to attend. And I’m REALLY bad at listening to talks. I either fall asleep (despite my good intentions) or play with my phone. The talks are usually too… General. And general = boring. So I don’t pay attention.

To get my attention, the speaker would have to speak as if they’re speaking to me PERSONALLY. They have to mention things that relate to ME. Not the person beside me.

Make your reader feel special by making the blog post ABOUT THEM.

That’s how it works in writing too. You need to personalize your writing based on who your readers are (or who you WANT to write to).

Here’s a few things you can find out about your readers:

1) Gender: male, female, others

2) Age: school children, teenagers, young adults, 30 year-old adults, mature (40+ and above)

3) Occupation: student, SAHM, executives, freelancers, business owners, office jobs, retail jobs

4) Level of interest in the topic: hobbyist, freelancer, business owner, professional

Those aren’t the only things, but they’re a solid place to start.

Let me give you an example. If you’re writing about budgeting money and your audience are teenagers — then tips like how to apply for loans and financing from banks won't be relevant to them (yet). Teenagers can’t apply for loans and financing.

So not only do you personalize the content, you also personalize your examples, writing style, and also language.

I have another tip. The thing about bloggers or writers is that they're usually sharing things that they themselves have experienced. So they share with people who are similar to them. So another way to understand your audience is to look at yourself.

Your own age, gender, occupation, etc all plays into how you write and personalize your writing.

 

Fourth strategy: Have mercy on your readers by embracing learning aids.

Learning aids are those things you can find in a school textbook. Diagrams, charts, etc… Learning aids make learning easier because you’re not just reading TEXT.

OK, so I’m writing about writing, but I’m telling you to use things other than words. Seems funny, right?

In my first year of university, reading law, I made this meme:

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Why? Because everything was just ENDLESS text. Paragraphs upon paragraphs with no end in sight, and I was just supposed to digest everything by reading? No way jose.

I like reading, but reading to understand something is a whole lot different than reading fiction.

So would you, as someone who’s passionate about educating your readers, inflict on them the same kind of pain? There are things, ideas and concepts that MERE WORDS cannot explain.

There are points that you can more readable and understandable with learning aids like diagrams, etc. Takes more effort for you to prepare a blog post, yes, but your readers will understand what you’re writing. I’d say that’s worth it.

Here’s a short list of learning aids that you can use in your writings:

1) Photos. Ohhh boy. If you can insert photos into your blog, I would really recommend it. Especially if you're writing tutorials. Sometimes it’s better to SHOW the steps rather than tell.

2) Videos. Videos are a bit difficult to produce and let's face it, video-editing is something that most people just don’t have time for. Me included. BUT, make short videos. Even if it's without any voiceover or captions or fancy editing, it can still be useful.

3) GIFs. If you don't feel like videos are your thing or they’re just too hard to produce, use GIFs! GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format and it's like a hybrid between a photo and video, that will play on loop. I've used this before my Ultimate Guide to Microblogging on Social Media using a free tool called LiceCap. I know, weird name. But it works great!

4) Diagrams. Examples are the Venn diagram, flowcharts, pyramids, etc. Sounds a bit nerdy to make diagrams about argan oil or the best way to pack electronics or cupcake frosting, but WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO BE NERDY ABOUT? Tip: You can use the SmartArt on Microsoft Word and screenshot from there, or use a graphic design tool like Canva.

5) Analogies. Analogies are when you compare Concept A and Concept B. Concept A is the one you’re trying to explain, Concept B is something that your reader is already familiar with. For example, an analogy that I've used before is to explain the concept of a website:

  • A website is like a house.

  • The pages on the website are like the rooms. A blog, which is a page, is a room inside that house.

  • The About Me page and the Contact Me page are also other rooms in the house.

  • The domain (or the link that you type) is the address of the house.

If there's something you'd want to 'nerd out' for, it's your blog!

I use all the above (except for videos, still working on that), but my personal favourite is using analogies. I find it easier to create diagrams and graphics when I have a visual idea of what I want to explain.

 
 

Bonus strategy: Accept that there is no such thing as a perfect, 100% flowy blog post.

Even after all your editing and getting to know your audience et cetera, you will never achieve the 100% flow. And here’s the thing: it’s NOT IMPORTANT and it’s NOT REQUIRED.

I'm not saying you shouldn't try to make your writing flow nicely. I'm just saying, it matters less than you think. What matters is actually conveying your message/points/lesson/tips to your readers.

So if you’ve gone through all the strategies and there’s still something not quite perfect, LET IT GO. There's no need to force it. Your time is better spent writing another blog post!

Let me know in the comment section: How much time do you usually spend on your blog post to make it ‘flow’?

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The Ultimate Guide to Blog-Writing If You're Reluctant to Write.

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I'm gonna get right down to it -- this is for people who, at any point in their lives, felt discouraged to start their own blog.

Blogging is a HUGE commitment, and sometimes I do feel burdened #honest, but it's such a worthwhile commitment to make.

Your life won't improve because of blogging per se, but because of the sense of purpose that comes with blogging.

Anyway, I've compiled a list of questions and statements that I always get when I talk to people about blogging. Read through and see if any of yours is answered!

 

1. What should I blog about? I don't know how to choose the right topics.

I'm interested in a lot of things.

  • I like to create drama in The Sims 4.
  • I like to read science-fiction -- preferably about apocalypses, zombies and dinosaurs.
  • I like to eat desserts.

But instead of blogging about any of those things, I blog about blogging and personal branding. WHY?

To answer this question, let's talk about WHY you (and me) started a blog / want to start a blog in the first place.

A. IF you started a blog just for fun...

Then feel free to blog about anything and everything that strikes your fancy. I'm serious! It's your personal fun space, so there are no rules.

B. If you started a blog to build a business / career...

Then you need to write about what it is you want that dream career / business to be made of.

If you want to launch your own fashion lines in the future, you HAVE to blog about fashion. If you want to become a well-known travel blogger, you HAVE to blog about travel. Pretty simple, right?

To create your own dream career / business in any industry, you need to be seen as an EXPERT in that industry.

If in fashion, you need to be seen as fashionable. If you're NOT fashionable, why else would anyone hire you or buy products from you, amirite?

So blogging helps you achieve that EXPERT status. The more you share what you know on fashion, the more people see that you're someone they should follow -- because you seem so fashionable.

Go back to your dreams and daydreams. What kind of business or career do you want? Then your blog has to be based on that.

 

2. What kind of blog posts should I write? I always feel like I'm just rambling.

Just like there are many different kinds of writing (fiction, non-fiction, poetry...), there are a few types of blog posts that you can write. Here's two of the easiest types of posts:

A. Story-based blog posts

  • My Adventures in London!
  • October Crazy Make-Up Haul.
  • Restaurant Review: Le Boulevard, KL.

These are the kind of blog posts where you share your personal experience on an event, activity, brand or place. Not a story story.

B. Informative / tutorial blog posts

  • What to Do When You're Travelling to London for the First Time.
  • 10 Places to Check Out for A Satisfying Make-Up Haul.
  • Having Lunch in KL? My Top 3 Parking Tips.

Tutorial blog posts are all about you sharing clear tips and tricks on any topic.

But just because I divided these blog posts into two categories, it doesn't mean that you can't include a mini-tutorial in your story-based post, or include some personal experience in your tutorial post. 

Your posts will always be some kind of hybrid, and that's perfectly fine. Just pick any of the blog post type to stay on track while writing. 

 

3. How can I write if I'm not a good writer?

If I asked you right now to talk about your favourite topic like fashion or travel or desserts or books with your friend -- would you be able to do it? 

Definitely.  

Writing can be intimidating, but having a great convo with a friend is easy AND fun.

So the trick to conquering your reluctance to write (or maybe fear of not writing good enough) is to write like how you talk to your friend! 

One thing I do every time I want to write a blog post, newsletter or even Instagram caption is to talk about the topic out loud, as if I'm explaining it to a friend.

When you express your thoughts and HEAR what you're saying, you can arrange your points better and write more naturally.

Any sentence you said out loud that sounds "right" should go into your blog post, word for word.

 

4. How often do I have to publish a blog post?

The bare minimum is to publish a blog post ONCE a week. If you have enough time to publish more than one blog post per week, go for it!

But bear in mind that you'll have to prepare for each blog post (the writing, formatting, etc). If you're juggling your blog with other aspects of life, try starting with just ONE post first.

If you're juggling your blog with a dayjob like me, then 1x a week is consistent but STILL doable. 👌🏻

Why do I recommend once a week instead of once or twice a month? When you publish every week, it's easy for your readers to have something to look forward to. Especially if you've chosen a particular day of the week.

Let's say that you've announced that you'd publish a new blog post every Monday. When Monday comes, your readers know where to go! But if you don't tell people when they can expect a blog post from you, they won't make it a habit to visit your blog.

So choose one day of the week and announce it to your readers on your social media. I recommend Monday because you can use your weekend to write and prepare the blog post.

 

5. What language should my blog post be in? I want to mix it up but it won't look professional.

If you want to rojak, rojak it like a rockstar. Don't worry about looking professional, a blog by definition IS something personal.

(Rojak is a Malay slang for mixing 2 or more languages together)

 

6. How long does each blog post have to be? I don't have time to write long ones.

Long =/= awesome. As a blogger, the length of your blog post depends on your content.

If you're talking about your outfit details, do you need to write 2000 words? Not necessary. Your photos can do the talking.

But if you're talking about a step-by-step guide to sewing your own skirt, more explanations will be great.

Long and short posts have their own advantages too! With short posts, the content is easy to read and you can post more. With long posts, you can post less but make them super detailed. 

It also depends on your preference and schedule. If you're having a busy week, publish a short post! If you're having a more chill week -- long post! I personally do this A LOT. 😉 Keep things flexible so that your blog doesn't become a source of stress.

 

7. What happens if I'm not that good in English?

It's always good to improve your language skills, of course. But let me ask you something: at what point will you think that you're good enough? 

  • 2 years from now? 
  • After taking English lessons at night for 3 months?
  • After reading dictionaries from start to finish? 

There's always a possibility that someone somewhere would make fun of your blog posts. I won't deny that. I know that it could happen.

I also struggle with always putting myself here on this blog. It's scary to be vulnerable to criticism.  (Like, "Aina, you're so not qualified to help people learn about blogging and branding.")

But without being vulnerable, you can't do anything and you don't learn.

You can't practice your passion, you can't share it with people... It's hard to grow if you're constantly hiding yourself.

So, do improve. But don't let it stop you from sharing your interest / hobby / passion on your blog with other people.  

 

8. How do I just *start* writing a blog post?

Step 1: Choose with a specific blog post title

The best way to start writing is by coming up with a clear and specific blog post title.  

I've always prioritized the title first because without a really SPECIFIC title, I will either a) ramble on and on OR b) can't really elaborate on my points. So having a specific title is sort of a guide for my writing process.

The trick to having a really specific title is by making it detailed. If you think that the title is too short, it probably is. Compare the two versions of these titles:

  • My Sephora Haul VS. My RM1,000 Sephora Haul During the Year-End Sale
  • Delicious Veggie Dishes VS. Delicious Veggie Dishes for Adults Who Hate Veggies
  • How to Choose Great Work Clothes VS. How to Choose Great Work Clothes if You're A Broke Young Adult

Think about it: which one sounds like it'd be interesting to read -- How to Choose the Best Make Up Products or How to Choose the Best Make Up Products If You're A Broke Young Adult

Step 2: Dump everything in your brain onto paper

The second step is to list down all the possible points that would fit that specific title you've prepared. Don't overthink it and just list down whatever your brain comes up with. 

If you're writing a "how-to guide", make sure you list all the steps (even if they're small). If you're writing a "tips" post, list all your personal tips and tricks, no matter how silly they seem!  

Step 3: Revise your points

The third step is to go through your list of points and do these things:

  • Rearrange the points so that your readers can follow your explanations of the topic.
  • Remove or combine points that are too "basic" to mention on its own. For example, if your post is about your make up look, you don't need to state "buy a brush" or "buy a mirror". Ya dig? 
  • Break up a long and complicated point into smaller, bite-sized points. If it's a really difficult step/topic, your readers will be so grateful that you're talking them through it.

(BTW, don't delete any of the points you've brainstormed. Save them somewhere so that you can use them in future blog posts)

Step 4: Set a timer before writing

The fourth step is to set a timer. I'm not kidding!

Let's say that you have 4 points to write about. 

Open up the timer app on your phone and set it to 5 minutes. Start writing about the first point and DON'T STOP.

The key is to not stop until the time is up. But when the time is up, you need to move on to the next point. Repeat until you're done. 

Blogging is not a race, yup. But the thought of publishing our writing for EVERYONE to read can make us pretty nervous.

When we're nervous, it's hard for words to come out. It's EXACTLY like stage fright. 

So when we set a timer, what we're really doing is racing against our nerves. We're getting the words out BEFORE we get nervous. 

And sure, your writing won't be perfect. But it's better to have a not-perfect first draft than a totally blank page. At least you're already ahead. 🙂

And that's how you START writing. When you're in that timer-zone, nothing else matters but YOUR voice + the thoughts / experiences / knowledge that you already have in your head. 

Do this consistently and writing gets easier and easier, I promise.

 

9. Can I talk about personal stuff in my blog posts? I don't want to overshare.

I once read a copywriting guide by the Talking Shrimp called The 5 Secrets to Non-Sucky Copy. It's basically a few tips on how to make any kind of writing NOT yawn-material. (Also super hilarious. You need to read it.)

In the guide, the Talking Shrimp (her name's Laura) said that a piece of writing is boring if you don't relate it to a personal story.

So someone like me, who finds it difficult to share stuff (afraid of being judged / afraid to overshare / afraid of sounding narcissistic) -- there is always a problem of UNDERsharing.  

My blog posts used to sound robotic and like someone's threatening me with a knife -- I was too cautious.

Don't get me wrong -- OVERsharing is definitely a problem too. When your blog post is filled with too much chatter and aimless rambling, it can get annoying.

So what we can do is strike a balance between personality and value. For every personal story you share, include ONE tip that someone like your reader would find valuable or informative.

For example, if you're talking about your OOTD, you canstart the blog post on where you went / a funny story and then include your outfit details / styling tips at the end. There's a nice balance. 

Another example: If you're talking about your trip to London, slip in a few tips on transportation / accommodation / food. GIVE PEOPLE THE DETAILS. They'll be entertained AND informed.

 

10. How do I make sure my words keep flowing? I always end up with a lot of unfinished drafts of blog posts.

First of all, it's great that you have lots of unfinished drafts. It means that you have lots of great ideas already. 

Secondly, it's okay to publish a draft even if you don't think it's long enough or good enough.

You don't have a writing problem, you have a I-can't-post-this-it's-not-perfect problem.

I'm always not quite satisfied with the quality of my blog posts and newsletters -- but I know it's OK to put them all out there. 

Once you get used to "publishing" your writings, you'll get addicted to that sense of accomplishment.

If you do any of the strategies I've outlined before: 

  • Committing to a blog post schedule, e.g. New post every Monday.
  • Talking about your blog topic our loud before you start writing. 
  • Using a timer to get your writing done quickly,

You'll find the whole process get easier and easier. 

After nearly 2 years of sending 100+ newsletters to 100+ people, I can honestly say that it really really works. I'm still not perfect, but that doesn't stop me from producing results. 

 

11. What do I do if I have ZERO idea what to write on a particular topic?

My favourite method to brainstorm blog content is by asking myself the 5W1H. 

  • Who are the parties involved in this topic?  
  • What are the types of.... 
  • When is the best time to... 

But if still doesn't work and it doesn't feel relevant enough, what you can do is by searching "how to (topic)". 

Do this on Google, Pinterest and Youtube. After that, try to scan what people write about.

But instead of COPYING their titles, you should figure out what they DIDN'T talk about. Find the gap! 

  • If people have written about Method A to do something, you can write about Method B. 
  • If people have written a detailed post on Type A, you can write an overview post on Type A - E. And vice versa!
  • If people have written generally on Topic A, you can write a super detailed post on Subtopic B.

The point is, you're definitely not copying! What you're doing is providing a fresh and new take on the same topic, based on your POV and experiences.

Personalize your blog post so that people like YOU can relate to the content.

 

12. How do I make sure readers will like my blog posts? I don't think I'm funny or interesting.

First of all, trying to be "funny" and "interesting" is A LOT of pressure to put on yourself. 

It's like you're telling yourself, go perform a comedy routine on stage! If you're not a natural comedian -- it won't be easy. 

So don't aim to be funny and interesting, aim to be yourself. As corny as it sounds, it's the only way for blogging to be an activity that you really enjoy. (And something you actually WANT to do)

Secondly, rather than trying so hard to BE INTERESTING, find out what your readers ARE INTERESTED IN.

Shift your focus to your readers. What kind of content or info would they appreciate?

If your readers are university students, they probably can't spend hundreds of RM on high-end make up every single month. So your blog posts can lean more towards affordable make up.

That applies vice versa too. If your blog's for young professionals, they'd probably like make up that's in the middle tier -- not too high-end and not too drugstore.

You're still writing about the things YOU like. But you're customizing the content for your readers to enjoy.

 

13. Does writing take a lot of time?

I'll be honest with you: writing can take a long time.

I've had moments where I sit in front of my laptop for 3++ hours, just to work on a single blog post.

Bad posture. Crazy level of stress. Junk food. Eyesight that was getting worse.  It was 100% not the kind of blogger lifestyle you see on social media.

But I've figured out what the heck that was taking me so long to write a blog post. It's usually one or a combination of these three problems: 

  • You're having a blogger's block because you keep hitting backspace. 
  • You chose a topic that you don't feel comfortable / confident in.
  • You're generally feeling BLERH.

Any one of these problems is enough to kill whatever blog-mojo you have. 😳 

Here's what I do to address these problems: 

Problem 1: Blogger's block

I used the strategies in Question 3, 4 & 8. I know this is the third time I'm mentioning them, but they really do work! 

OK, so you know in Question 8 when I said I use a timer to force myself to write quickly?

I also took this one step further and invested in an iOS app called Flowstate. It's basically an app that FORCES you to write within your chosen time. 

So when I want to use it, I set the time (5, 15 or 30 minutes) and choose a font. When the timer starts, I CANNOT STOP AT ALL. If I stop typing, the words that I've written so far will DISAPPEAR.

Yes, literally disappear. Gone just like that. I can only save what I've written when the time is up.  

I think it was approximately RM60 when I bought it, so it's a nice-to-have but not a must-have. Using a timer works just as well but you can't cheat!

Anyway, my friends say I'm crazy but it's absolutely worth it. 😉

Problem 2: Unsuitable topic

For me, blogging is supposed to be the most flattering and valuable expression of your natural self. Which means -- if it's not "you", don't blog about it!

For example, you might like cooking a lot. But if you're not naturally good at cooking or it stresses you out like crazy -- would you consider giving a presentation in front of people about cooking?

If you say no, then cooking's NOT your topic.

There are so many other things that you can blog about that use your strengths and skills. When you play to your strengths, blogging will really make you feel good. 

And when you feel good, you won't be able to shut up. Trust me.  (I can't shut up right now)

Problem 3: Feeling blerh

Long commute. Mountains of work. Feeling under the weather. Sheer exhaustion. Domestic/romantic issues.

All these things can wreak havoc with your motivation to blog. I experience this all. The. Bloody. Time.

Even after 2 years of writing, it's still a huge problem for me. (When will I magically be more productive?)

Whenever my motivation-tank is running low, I try to actively find inspiration instead of waiting for it to come.

I look at people who do beautiful embroidery pieces, write awesome calligraphy and paint crazy good art. I watch Kitchen Nightmares. (Whenever Gordon Ramsay yells at people, I feel like he's yelling at me to buck up)

And then I'll think, "If these people can do it, I want to do it too."  And that makes me more pumped up to write.

What you can do is find one simple, free thing that will lift your spirits up a bit. Maybe it's running around the lake. Maybe it's watching Kitchen Nightmares. Maybe it's looking at your idols in the same industry.

AS SOON AS you feel yourself motivated, use it to write your blog post!  

Rinse and repeat. 🙂 

 

Is there any other questions or obstacles that makes blogging inconvenient or unsuitable for you? I'd love to know!

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4 Steps to Converting Your Instagram Posts Into Blog Posts

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What do I write about? I have nothing to put in my blog posts!

Thinking about what to write is the most intimidating part of being a blogger. Day after day after day of writing -- how do seasoned bloggers have the time and mental capacity to come up with interesting topics without giving themselves nosebleeds?

The magic answer is that they repurpose their content.

This means that they look at the content they've already created (like Facebook posts, Snapchat videos, Tweets) and expand it or use it in a different angle. They don't brainstorm for fresh, new content all the time. 

So for that earlier question of What do I write about?, you can find the answer right in your Instagram feed. Let's look at how you can convert your Instagram posts into blog posts.

 

Step 1: Choose an Instagram post that you want to convert into a blog post.

The first step is to choose an Instagram post to convert. There are two types of posts that are naturally easier for you to do this:

  1. Posts where you felt like you wanted to write paragraphs and paragraphs in the captions, but decided not to. Maybe you didn't want to annoy your followers or you didn't want to seem too obnoxious. But you definitely have something more to say!
  2. Posts where you got more likes or comments than you usually do. It seemed like people were really interested in the content of those posts.

With these posts, you don't have to force yourself into thinking up the points -- they're already there.

Note: Don't bother blogging about things you're not interested in. You can't waste time and energy in a field or topic you have no plan to pursue in the first place.

 

Step 2: Elaborate on the details.

Here comes the good part --  elaborating on the details. A really good tip is to pretend that you're talking about the post with a friend. The flow of the post and your writing style will sound much more natural. Readers will feel like they're actually sitting there and chatting with you over frappes and lattes.

So what kind of details you should elaborate on?

If you're converting the first type of post (in Step 1), just blog about all that you wanted to say in the first place. If you're converting the second type, see if there are any questions that you can answer. If your friend asked about the shirt that you were wearing, blog about the shirt! It's that simple.

What about if there were no questions from anyone?

Make up your own questions. Pretend that it's your friend that's asking you those questions. I'm going to show you what I mean with this stock photo over here:

 
 

Possible questions that you may answer:

  • What's the name of this cafe?
  • What is the decor and ambiance like?
  • What food and drink did you order? 
  • Were they reasonably priced?
  • Where is the cafe located?
  • What did you wear? (If you're in the photo too)
  • Would you go there again?
  • Are there any other cafes like this?

There are so many angles that you can come from. The trick is to only choose a few so that you don't get overwhelmed. Remember, it's not an essay!

 

Step 3: Add more photos and links

If it's considered bad manners to Insta-spam all your vacation photos at one time, then throw your manners out the window. When you blog, you're supposed to include as many photos as necessary. It'll take the pressure off of the writing too. (You just have to write a few lines after each photo)

Another strategic thing to do when you're converting your Instagram post is to link any mention of a brand or business to their website or social media profiles. It's a great way to make them notice you if you're interested in collaborating with them in the future.

 

Step 4: Hit publish and promote your blog post!

After you've added some meat to your blog post, it's ready to be published! Now comes the important part: you have to promote your blog post.

If you don't promote it, nobody is going to read it. This isn't like the blogging scene in the early 2000s. During those days, your blog could get discovered through "blog-hopping". Nowadays, if you don't point readers to a link, they're not going to see the post.

So don't be shy! One good tip is to choose a different photo from the Instagram post you converted (but still on the same topic/thing) and use that to promote the blog post on Instagram. That way you'll still feel like you're posting something fresh.

 

Important tips when converting Instagram posts into blog posts

  1. You can convert old Instagram posts into blog posts. Blogging isn't about the most recent things you do. You can talk about the things you've done last year or last month -- no one is going to check the dates with a calendar.
  2. You don't have to write essays for the blog posts. People don't want to read essays anyway! As long as you can add a few more details, your blog posts are A-OK.
  3. Add useful bits of information for the benefit of your readers. The best blog posts are useful to their readers. For example, if you're blogging about a restaurant, be sure to include a link to the restaurant's website, highlight the prices or state the name of the dishes. Your readers will appreciate this.
 
 

 

And there ya go! Finding things to blog about is actually as easy as scrolling through your Instagram feed. And the more you blog, the more you'll be inspired. You'll start seeing blog topics everywhere. Hey, I can use that in a blog post! -- at a wedding. (At least that's what I do)

Which Instagram post will you be converting into a blog post?

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