Many writers do a little content creation. Bloggers do a lot, especially if they’re blogging for companies, or if they’re focused on building a thriving business from their blogs.
Recently I mentored a group of stressed content creators and bloggers. You might think that content creation is easy. How stressful can it be?
The answer: it can be extremely stressful, when you’re committed to content delivery and have clients who depend on you.
When you’re creating for clients, as well as developing lots of content on a set schedule, you need to be aware of both search engine optimization (SEO) and driving traffic to the content.
With a tsunami of content flowing online every minute, content creation isn’t enough; you need to promote the content too.
Mentoring encouraged me to think about the two decades I’ve been blogging and what I’ve learned about creativity, stress, and managing my own creativity.
A weird insight developed about blogging and burnout.
Seemingly, not only did my blogging relieve stress, it made me more creative.
After conducting a straw poll among veteran writing colleagues, most agreed with my insight. Several had experienced burnout. They never wanted to go through it again.
Content creation, creativity, stress, and burnout
What’s burnout? Here’s a good description from Understanding the burnout experience:
The three key dimensions of this response are an overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from the job, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.
Weirdly, I suddenly realized that although I’d experienced burnout twice in the years before I started blogging in around 1998/ 1999, I haven’t experienced anything like burnout since. In some strange way, blogging has eased my creative stress. And no, I couldn’t think of anything other than blogging which might have had this result. I didn’t suddenly become a different person: blogging was the only change.
My theory: too many demands from others over which you have little control lead to creative stress. If you don’t realize what’s happening, you’ll suffer burnout.
My colleagues agreed. One said: “that’s why the writing I do for myself is so important. It’s for me, and it’s a creative safety valve.”
So, that’s the first benefit of blogging: it eases stress, if you’re using it as a creative outlet.
Let’s look at the benefits.
1. “Personal” content creation minimizes stress and nurtures you
If you’re creating content and blogging, creating something for yourself (blogs, self-publishing) helps you to minimize stress.
Your creative self is your “silent partner” in creativity. Whether you think of it as your subconscious mind or creative self, this inner drive baulks at compulsion. It’s happy to be creative on demand, but only if you nurture a creative niche that’s all your own.
How you develop a creative niche is up to you. One blogger I know writes poetry. Another writes short plays for an amateur theater group.
2. As many have discovered, you can build an entire business around blogging
Want to create an excellent business with zero capital? And do it in your pajamas if you wish?
Many bloggers have turned a blog into a million-dollar business. They’re savvy folk who work tirelessly with a number of others to keep their blogs and income rolling along. Several “big” bloggers I know have told me that they had no idea where their blog was headed when they started. Their blog turned out to be an amazing benefit; it changed their life.
Want to go big with your blog? You can.
- Be aware that you’ll need a concept to help you to stand out from the crowd. Blog your experiences as lifestyle and travel bloggers do, but twist your concept to make your blog unique.
- Be patient! I mentor bloggers, so I know patience is hard. Create the best content you can. You’ll improve with every post. Learn SEO. Promote your content. Network.
You can promote your existing business by blogging
If you own a business, blogging will help it to grow.
Perhaps you’ve inherited a business, or bought one. When you blog about what’s happening in your business you’ll build a following of folk who are interested in what you do, whether it’s market gardening, beekeeping or home renovation.
After I started blogging, I used my blogs to promote my own business and helped others to promote theirs too, as a ghostwriter. In essence my blog acted as my portfolio.
Which brings us to…
3. Blog marketing benefits: you can use your blog as an easy marketing tool
You can promote what you do via blogging:
- Blog for others? Your own blog is your portfolio;
- Freelancing? Blog about it—clients will find you;
- Self-publishing? Use a blog for book marketing.
Another benefit of blogging: painless learning.
4. Your blog teaches you about many things, including courage and persistence
Your blog teaches you a lot. My earliest blogs are lost in the mists of the ever-changing web. Early platforms like Expression Engine, Blogger and Joomla were educational, as was Typepad.
WordPress has taught me most. My first installation (2003, I think) took me most of one morning. I edited the config file so many times… Finally, I got it to work. Although most tech stuff is still a mystery to me, that early experience with WordPress gave me the confidence to build lots of blogs. At one stage, I had several hundred. (No, not joking.)
WordPress also gave me the confidence to blog for others in 2004, when the vanguard of companies dipped their metaphorical toes into blogging.
5. Blogging improves your life (no, I’m not delusional…)
I resisted blogging for a long time; six months at least. My creative self kept nudging me to blog. I told it to get lost—I had no time for frivolity.
Finally, it dawned on me that I could use blogs for promotion. This was in the late 1990s; the business world had no idea what a “blog” might be.
So I began blogging; my writer colleagues called me a fool for writing “for free.” I happily ignored them, because blogging was fun—and that fun benefited my moods, which made (almost) everything easier.
Other bloggers have experienced similar benefits. They may have begun blogging to promote their business, but their blog gave them inspiration and fresh energy; this helped them not only in their business but also in many other areas of life.
6. Blogging helps build a writing habit: you write more, more easily
Writing leads to more writing. You need to prime the pump of your writing:
“If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.”
Don’t wait until you get an idea. Start writing and the words will come. Your blog helps; one of the big benefits of blogging for me was this “prime the pump” aspect; I’m prone to over-thinking everything.
Slowly I learned to just write. It’s something you need to learn over and over again. If you’re anything like me, you want to know what you’re writing, so you plot and plan… and then you become bored, or think that your “brilliant” idea isn’t brilliant at all.
Your inspiration comes from your creative self, so you may just as well start writing without knowing how it’s going to turn out. You’ll always be surprised. Some of your best efforts may come when you start writing, even though you don’t have any idea what you’re creating.
One of the huge benefits of consistent blogging or content creation is that it improves your writing.
Content creation: the big question, “is blogging worth it?”
I coach and mentor writers: the “is blogging worth it?” question often comes up.
The answer? That depends.
Only you can decide. Without exaggeration, blogging makes my life easier.
Good luck. 🙂
By the way, if you’re looking for a professional blogger and content strategist, please get in touch. I’d love to help you to grow your business.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.