How To Set Fire To Your Blog – In A Good Way


One of the coolest parts of my job is, by far, running the Outspoken Media blog. I’ve been part of the SEO blogosphere since February 2006 and it’s something I take a lot of pride in. I know others like to give SEO bloggers a bad rap, but there’s a lot to be said for the conversations and the insights that start on blogs and which foster great dialogue. But the fact that I love my job and this community doesn’t mean I always show up full of undying passion ready to set the world on fire with my words. Because, sometimes, I don’t. Sometimes I show up feeling a bit more sullen than I should. Like the passion has been sucked out of me, if only just a little.

And I know that I’m not the only one. Keeping up a blog, especially a corporate blog, is not an easy task. It’s a labor of love to continually feed it, maintain it and grow it. We all have our moments when we’re not feeling that love quite as strongly as we should be. So what do we do as bloggers? How do we re-find the passion and kick things back up a notch? Below are some things that work for me. I’d love it if you share how you get your juices flowing again too.

Re-Read Your Old Posts

Last week my friend Simon Heseltine gave me the chance to rediscover a post I wrote back in 2007 when he tweeted the link to someone one else. In reading that post I refound a voice I forgot I had. It was a younger version of myself telling people that your boss is not your friend and why, under no circumstances, should you friend him or her in social media. It was light-hearted and funny and reminded me of many of the posts I wrote when I first started blogging and things weren’t taken quite so seriously. Or maybe, I just didn’t take them quite so seriously. Sometimes little reminders of how you used to do things when you were new and didn’t know any better are helpful.

Find New Sources of Inspiration

When you first started your blog, everything was new. The blogs you read were new, the people you were meeting were new, every experience was your first, etc. Now it’s been a few years and everything feels a little too familiar, a little too comfortable, and a whole lot more boring. You know, like marriage. No wonder you’re lacking inspiration. Getting it back could be as simple as surrounding yourself with new faces; finding faces that are new to you, connecting with people who are new to the industry, or just grabbing coffee with a company you’d like to know more about. For example, yesterday afternoon Rhea and I had the opportunity to grab lunch with Ric Dragon and Eta Ivkovic of Dragon Search Marketing based in Kingston, NY. I had met both Ric and Eta before, but just spending an afternoon with people who are excited about what they’re doing, increases your own excitement for what you’re doing. And that’s a pretty cool feeling.

Change Up Your Style

Have you grown accustomed to writing 500 word blog posts every three days and then going home and having the same plate of chicken and rice for dinner? Yeah, no wonder you’re bored out of your mind. Why not make one of your posts video-based this week? Or create a post of images? Or aggregate some great slideshares you think your audience should be aware of? Or hold a webinar. Just because creating posts of long text is what you’ve always done doesn’t mean it’s what you should be doing or that you can’t change it up to give yourself and your audience a little variety. Go out wearing something new today. See if it suits you better.

Set New Goals

The reason that most blogs suck isn’t because of the content, it’s because of the delivery (okay, some of it is the content…). It’s because the blogger is just going through the motions of what they think they’re supposed to be doing. If you’re not excited about what you’re doing, it becomes really difficult to make anyone else excited either. Solve both problems by setting new goals for your blog and your content and give yourself something to work toward. Changing your outlook on what you’re doing and giving yourself something new to achieve, it’s going to rekindle your own spark and, in turn, rekindle the spark your readers once had for you, as well.  Your blog should be helping you to achieve some of your larger business goals. How are you using it to help you get there? Create some milestones you can work toward.

Remember Why You Started

One reason why I like talking to people who are new to the blogging or the SEO world is because they unknowingly reinforce why you got into this space, as well. In talking to them and hearing about their passions, their reasons, what they’re struggling with, it reminds you why you started and what you wanted to accomplish. Maybe you wanted to help small business owners increase their Web presence and save money. Maybe you wanted to turn your blog into a resource for a certain segment of your niche. Maybe you wanted to build great Web sites. Whatever it is, remembering why you started down this road is sometimes all you need to build that fire inside of you to rock it again. It’s pretty easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day fight and lose sight of what you’re doing. If you’re feeling burnt out, take some time to remember.

Those are the steps that work for me when I’m not feeling the love as strongly as I need to. What have you done to rekindle the passion in your blog? Or perhaps it’s your passion for SEO or ORM that’s need a jolt? I’m pretty sure it’s something we’ve all experience, so let me know in the comments.

Your Comments

  • Kristi

    It is so easy to get into a rut. I’ve found that just a new perspective in your work area will help. New music, new art on the walls (I just got the most amazing picture of a moon rising over the mountains and it makes me happy), or just leaving and writing from somewhere else.

    More often than not, I am in a rut though and I get ‘busy’ with other important things and ‘phone it in’ with the other aspects. Great reminder for me.

    I’m also blasting Adele and have been since yesterday and it’s definitely making me happy and inspired.

  • Josh

    As someone that’s building out a company blog I really appreciate this post. I’ve been racking my brain to try to come up with new posts that don’t blend into the noise with every other blog. I think one thing that’s kept from posting more frequently is that I compare the content I’ve written to other blogs I read. So I’ll write something I think is great, read someone else’s blog read my post again then scrap it. I guess I just need to post it and stop comparing. Thanks again for the great list of tips Lisa! :)

  • TrafficColeman

    Sometime changing the theme can be great..but i tell people to keep it don’t want a total new look.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Jerry McCarthy

    You’re so right about going back to the archives. Not only is it nostalgic, but it reinforces the growth since that post. I’ve only been blogging for a year but sometimes inspiration comes at the oddest times, like in the shower or at a red light. My advice would be try not to force any idea for a blog entry. Mine usually come when I’m not trying to figure one out. The biggest thing for me is to always have a notepad at arms length to jot thoughts down so I don’t forget. With trying to juggle life, business and everything in between, my thoughts sometimes race at warp speed. Even if it’s one short sentence, those notes help refresh my brain to expand later.

  • Kristin

    Thanks for the post lisa! Great ideas!!

  • Jackie

    Sometimes you need to break out of the box that you have created for yourself too. This has been the issue for me recently.

    Creating something that you feel confined by, either by topic or structure can leave you feeling like you have no room to move, the rot sets in and you end up producing content that’s …well, less than stellar.

    Its caused me to rethink my blog definition to create the freedom I need. I’m not on fire yet, but the spark has definately been re-lit!

  • Gabriele Maidecchi

    I have to stress the importance of setting new goals. It somehow links to all the rest you wrote about, if you grow accustomed to what you do, the way you do it, and you feel content with it, you’ll never advance, you’ll never be hungry for more.
    You should try to set new goals for every aspect of your business, it’s not just about blogging but about finding new ways to find passion for what you do, and not setting for the “good enough” feeling we are often tempted by.

  • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

    Thanks for the note of inspiration, Lisa! In fact, I know firsthand that sometimes when you go thru the motions, you waste your time and effort, and drag yourself down. So, as I look towards my editorial calendar, I’m gonna follow your lead — which upcoming posts can I slap with some video, which with some audio. In fact, people looovvveee the unexpected, and there is no boost as great as that where you accomplish something new, and bring that passion to the product! So, here I am off to the Verizon store, to make sure I can film and edit my upcoming video without consulting my three teens.

  • Dr. Pete

    I thought that being sullen WAS your passion? ;)

    Seriously, I don’t know how you do it. Even as a blog more often and in higher-pressure situations, what you do still seems miles away from where I’m at.

  • Ivan Walsh

    Being a competitive type…. when I get in a rut I challenge myself to write the best post possible and/or get more hits, retweets, shares, comments or whatever that keeps me in the game. You can’t do it all the time, but a little competition helps, even against yourself.

  • Beth Harte

    Lisa, reading and revitalizing old posts is a great blogging tactic and one I just started using. Also, I realized that my Saturday morning reading recaps (and idea that I, uh, borrowed from you…so, thank you!) had some pretty decent introductions that I could turn into stand-alone posts.

    One suggestion I’d add is to mix up content between smart and light. Sometimes posts can be so smartly written that readers feel they can’t add anything. Lighter posts always elicit a response.

    Beth Harte

  • Sheri Bell

    Great reminder for getting out and networking! “…just spending an afternoon with people who are excited about what they’re doing, increases your own excitement for what you’re doing. And that’s a pretty cool feeling.”

  • Michael c. Craven

    Dear Lisa-
    As a divorce lawyer ( and new to blogging
    I appreciate all your tips.
    Michael C. Craven
    Chicago divorce lawyer

  • Victoria Rickert

    I’m a picture kind of gal with a few comment thrown in for clarification and background. Although I can write a long wordy blog chalk full of information and creative stories, this idea I like, it would change things up a bit, but I think, oh no, my family is going to read this and say, what the…

    But then again readers are going to read this and think, wow, that is so true, or I never knew that, or that’s interesting, or what the…

    And yes, YouTube, here I come….I need a video camera. Move over family or get caught in the action.

  • Amber Evans

    I find that it’s always helpful to read blogs that are out of my niche. I have gotten so familiar (like you said) with the SEO blogs I read that it’s nice to read something about completely different- say, pottery making, interior design, or whatever. I take stock of why I like their blogs so much- the tone, humor, photos, etc. and try to incorporate that into my business’s blog whenever possible.

  • Cindy Lavoie

    Thanks, Lisa – this was just the little kick in the pants I needed today as I sit down to write my next blog post. As you suggest, I’m getting bored with the stuff I’ve been writing about and need a ‘new suit’. I’ve done this before and sometimes it takes just a little tweak to get a new perspective. Going to lunch with someone new is a good idea. Talking with a customer about their latest challenges is another. Even just finding new people to follow on Twitter (my current favorites keep talking about the same stuff — also a rut) can help. Keeping my own mind fresh is the key to keeping my blog posts fresh and interesting.

  • Monica Wright

    I love reading old posts my friends have written, its documentation of how we have been learning and sharing as the technology (and faces!) change. To be frank, I am mortified if some of my old posts, but I keep them live. It’s who we are, right? BTW, you are so lucky to have lunch with Ric Dragon, he is by far one of my favorites.

  • Dan M

    This post (and several comments above) are exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks a bunch for doing what you do!

  • Mitch Mitchell

    Oddly enough, I’ve gone the reverse. When I was blogging early on I didn’t have a style or a real idea of what I was doing. Some posts were only two or three lines. Once I developed a style that I liked I knew I needed to go back and redo many of those posts, at least the ones where it fits to change things up. I’m more passionate about blogging now than I was back then, and I’m a happier guy for it.