The idea of starting and running a blog can be intimidating simply because it is an ongoing effort. A one-off white paper or press release can seem like a more achievable marketing endeavor just because it’s one-and-done. However, the ample benefits of providing fresh, relevant content time and time again in the form of a blog is now well known.
In William Shakespeare’s day, blogging was not yet invented. Yet, in his relatively short life, he consistently created hundreds of pieces of content that were unique and have been widely celebrated ever since—though maybe not by many high school English students.
This prolific writer can teach modern bloggers tools and tricks to consistently turning out fantastic content even when experiencing blogger burnout. In order to blog like Shakespeare, we must dispel common excuses for not producing consistent content that stands the test of time.
Excuse: I Don’t Have Time
Truth: Blogging Becomes Quicker with a Standard Template
William Shakespeare wrote more than 150 sonnets. It may sound like a large number of pieces of content to produce—and it is—but there’s a method to the madness: Every sonnet follows the exact same meter, rhyme scheme, and line structure. Content starts writing itself once a rubric of format is produced, and Shakespeare nailed his format down well with the sonnet.
Blogging can be done in the same way. It becomes a quicker process over time because you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you sit to write a post. Most blogs will fit well into the same general template: Open with an intro that builds some trust, use headlines to organize each point you want to get across, and conclude with a clear call to action (CTA). For the blogger, the process of actually writing content within this format, whether it’s a listicle or a Q&A interview or an essay, becomes faster as time goes on. For the reader, it’s comfortable because quick intros, simple headlines, and clear CTAs play very nicely on mobile devices and make it easy to skim and focus in on what’s most interesting.
Excuse: I’m Not A Great Writer
Truth: Put Rules Aside in Order to Thrive
Many people are intimidated by blogging because they feel they aren’t strong writers. And it’s true; it can be a pain to write if you’re not confident in your grammar or spelling skills. With blogging, there are other things to worry about—like SEO optimization—that can make would-be writers even more nervous.
Shakespeare had a great way of overcoming obstacles surrounding his use of the English language: He threw rules to the side and simply came up with new words. Did you know Shakespeare was the first to write the now-common phrases “break the ice,” “charmed life,” “all that glitters is not gold,” and “in a pickle?” He invented new phrases when single words wouldn’t suffice. By throwing the rules out the window, he thrived in language time and time again.
Never let common writing rules stand in the way of putting content out there. Editors are there to catch mistakes, and no one expects perfection right out the gate. Always go for meaning over style; your readers will thank you.
Excuse: I’m Not Creative
Truth: Creativity is Not Always Essential
The need to tell a story and the need to be creative are not the same. Blogging often entails telling a story or sharing expertise you already have. It doesn’t take too much creativity to share the facts. Sure, coming up with blog post topics can take some creativity. But, finding inspiration in that arena can come from asking a few questions:
- What is your industry talking about right now?
- How can you connect concepts from other industries or blogs to your specific audience?
- What do you know that others don’t?
Even Shakespeare went outside his own experiences to find content to fill his many stories. This isn’t a sign of laziness; it’s understanding what people like. Many of the Bard’s stories were retellings of historical events or classical myths. Take, for example, the famous story of Romeo and Juliet. Today, when people publish a story about star-crossed lovers (take West Side Story, for example), we see it as an homage to Romeo and Juliet—but Shakespeare stole his story from the Babylonian myth of Pyramus and Thisbe (in fact, he actually tells the original myth in a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream!). He updated the story to make it interesting to his Elizabethan audience, and the rest is history. Or is it English 101?
Ongoing success in blogging requires the ability to take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards) over and over again and create compelling content people will want to read. It may seem like a difficult endeavor, but by establishing repeatable templates, throwing rules out the window, and looking out for content inspiration in everyday life, bloggers can use the tactics of Shakespeare to meet the challenge.
About the author:
Ryan Brock is the Founder & CEO of Metonymy Media, an agency of creative writers that helps businesses and organizations grow by creating content that is consistent, accurate and compelling. The agency has worked with brands like Indiana University, Liberty Mutual, and Bass Pro Shops to tell powerful stories that move the needle. Ryan is also the co-author of Nothing New: An Irreverent History of Storytelling and Social Media.