Now that most agents are utilizing blogs to convey their messages to clients and prospects, one of the questions I see time and time again is “how do you get fresh content”?
Given that most people are not born writers and many have a phobia about writing, is it any wonder that it is considered a nasty chore? While photographs establish a visual image, writing establishes the mental image. And in the travel industry, both are equally as important. All you need to do to realize that is to open up any supplier brochure.
Writing for your travel related blog is not easy; but it will pay dividends for you in the long run. I am convinced that persistence is the key. On my Single Parent Travel site/blog, I average 30 new sign ups for my newsletter each day. Of course they are not all buying travel from me, but they are seeing my messages. Others have asked me how I can churn out a weekly column for TRO, keep up with Single Parent Travel, write the occasional consumer piece for other sites, and tinker with my MLM Blog. It isn’t easy. It is time consuming. But I have a plan and it works for me.
The basis of my plan is to think in the future. I rarely complete a column, article, or blog post the same day I thought of the topic. Most of my writing begins with random bizarre thoughts that are filed away (usually electronically) to be developed later if appropriate.
Practice Makes Closer To Perfect
Just commit yourself to your writing several times a week for ten to fifteen minutes each time. It can be topical or if you are stumped, it can be nonsensical. But unless you put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) nothing will happen–and I can guarantee that. All of my columns start out as jibberish. Many times I only have a word or two to start. But once I commit to the idea, the rest just seems to develop. At any given time, I have 12 – 20 pieces in each of my Single Parent Travel, TRO, or MLM blogs. If I had to guess, 15 of them will never see the light of day; but I have the idea there and it’s ready to be built upon when and if needed.
Don’t Let Ideas Escape You
Carry a small notebook or recorder with you. All of my best ideas strike when I least expect them. If you train yourself to be prepared, you will never let one escape again. I keep a notepad by my bed for those 3a.m. thoughts. I also have a digital recorder in my car’s glove box. So when inspiration strikes, I am ready. When I use these tools, I try to be as descriptive as possible and include the details such as the sounds, smells, colors, tastes, ect. Remember, you need to create a visual for your readers, so this is important.
Have A Process When You Write
I find that my best writing is the result of a process. It is tedious on the surface, but it works very well for me.
Plan it. What is your topic or key words? Jot down some ideas on how you want it to flow. Decide what you want to do with it. Do you want to tell someone about a destination? Do you want them to act on a special promotion you just received from your preferred supplier? Do you just want to entertain them with your witty sense of humor? Are you sharing a video? Create an outline and know how you want the article to flow.
Write your first draft. You were taught about first drafts in elementary school for a reason. They are so important. Take your key words and your outline and put them together in a first draft. Don’t worry about the spell check or grammar just yet. Just put your thoughts down in order from your step above. Then ignore it! Put it away for a few days or longer. Don’t look at it or think about it.
Proofread, edit, and revise. Now is the time to get picky. Open up the draft and re-read it. Correct your errors. Change your words. Move your ideas around. Get the flow of your article going. If you have any facts, verify that they are still valid. Put it away again for a few hours or a day and then proofread, edit, and revise it again. Finally, read it out loud to yourself. Many times I find tons of mistakes when I read my articles back to myself. Another great tip is to never edit and write at the same time. I am notorious for spelling the word “would” as “woudl” in the TRO Community. I do not edit my posts there and my typos are really indicative of my habit of not editing while I am writing. I guess it is also a dead giveaway and woudl make it easy for someone to identify my work–call it a signature typo.
Most people have problems with writing because they try too hard, take it too seriously, or are afraid of being judged. We all make mistakes and for the most part, they go unnoticed. Can you find the ones in this column? (Hint: there are 7 that I know of) Learn to let your ideas form from the bottom up. Don’t write and edit at the same time. There will always be time for editing.
Writing may never become your favorite thing to do. Don’t loose faith, because with some persistence and a plan, it will pay off handsomely.