4 steps to scale

This is a guest blog post by Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer , a Twitter publishing application. He writes Twitter Tips every week on his blog.

In order to get my startup off the ground, blogging and guest blogging was one of my most effective tactics I used to build traffic. In fact, over the past 4 months, I have written about 100 guest posts for various social media and design blogs.

Firstly, I have to admit, I have always feared writing a bit in the past. When I was a little boy in school and I heard someone say, “I am writing a book,” I always thought to myself, “WOW! A whole book? How can you write that much?"

So when I first started blogging , I felt proud of myself when I could write at least one post per week. I would spend hours and hours on one post and ultimately churn out a mediocre piece of something.

Since that point, I'm happy to report that I've stepped up my blogging pace and frequency significantly, and I've used a few very helpful techniques to achieve that. Because these techniques have helped me tremendously to increase my output and scale my writing, I figure others could benefit from them as well. Without further ado, here are my 4 steps to help motivate and scale your blogging program:

1. Push Yourself

Now that I write a few posts each day, it's made me realize something plain and simple yet very useful. In order to grow as a blogger, I had to sit down at my desk and churn out those posts, no matter what. It probably sounds so stupidly simple, but it's effective.

The only way to learn how to scale your blogging skills is by pushing beyond your comfort zone each time you write. It's very much like working out. The next time you're writing and you hit that point where you feel like stopping, push yourself just a little bit further. Are the ideas you're presenting written in a way that are clear and easy to understand? Are you making the best word choices? Tweak what you've written -- make it the highest quality post it can be -- then stop.

As you make a habit of pushing yourself, eventually you won't even realize you're doing more and writing better. What you will realize is that you're writing is improving, you're achieving even better results with your blog, and you're reaching new heights.

2. Work Toward Your Goals

Buffer blog post plan

What are your goals for blogging? Do you think about your goal(s) on a daily basis? A physical reminder is a great way to keep you motivated and on track.

Pictured right was my blogging goal written on a piece of paper. I had it pinned to my desk. Admittedly, it's not exactly reaching for the stars, but we did storm past this figure way before our deadline. 

Many times, because I put my goal front and center, it motivated me to close TweetDeck or Facebook and get back to writing. After all, that is what you are there to do: to reach your goals.

Attributing how many more posts I was able to write because I had my vision pinned to my desk would be tough. Still, I believe that setting goals and giving yourself a tangible reminder can work wonders in boosting your productivity, as it did for me.

3. Influence Your Behavior, Not Your Intentions

This is an interesting one. There's a little trick I want to share with you, and I think it might actually be one of the best motivators that enabled me to scale my writing.

How I go about guest blogging is this: I find a few bloggers whose content I think I could match, and then I do a brief brainstorm. I jot down an introduction and then send them an email:

“Hi, I have written this Twitter Tip/Social Media guest post and was wondering if you might be interested in taking a look.”

After I receive a “sure, send it over,” knowing that I haven’t actually finished the post, I buckle down and finish it.

I usually reply with “yes, just wrapping it up now,” which is what I'll do. Usually, it triggers me to finish the post lightning fast since I know there will be a definite return from putting forth the effort.

4. Imagine Each Post Before You've Written It

Giving your posts a great structure isn’t just helpful for your readers. It is also very helpful for you as the author during the writing process.

I always have a certain template in my head of how a great post looks. This makes it much easier for me to fill in the template with my thoughts and ideas every time I write instead of starting from scratch on a blank page.

That said, don't let a template stifle your creativity. Instead, have a very general template in your head that you can easily change and adapt.

What Are Your Results?

Blogging has the potential to generate a number of amazing business results . To me, one of the best benefits of blogging has been the opportunity to connect with and meet some amazing people who have helped me expand my network, reach, and ultimately, my business.

By establishing my blog and contributing as a guest blogger for other blogs, I naturally ended up chatting with other blog owners, which raised interest in what else I was doing. Many of these connections helped me out with reviews and spread the word about my startup, not because I asked them, but because we engaged in valuable conversations. These long-term relationships you are able to build as a result can be extremely valuable to your success. And on top of everything, focusing on human interactions is a lot more fun than plain numbers.

These 4 steps are the tactics I use to improve my own blogging. Do you have your own little secrets to blogging success? I would love to hear about them in the comments below, so don't be shy.

Image credit: stressedtechnician

Originally published Jul 14, 2011 5:15:00 PM, updated July 28 2017