Could blog content writing be Zen?
Maybe not at first glance. I don’t know about you, but most of the content marketers I know are a pretty jittery bunch. Between the gallons of coffee they drink (what is it about writers and coffee?), and the fact that they’re always creating, learning and thinking, we probably come across more caffeinated than calm.
However, I think there’s some real value to be gained by applying Zen principles to your blog content writing process. The Diamond Sutra lists the following benefits of a more introspective mindset:
- Higher self-esteem and self-trust
- More wisdom and clarity of mind
- More positive thinking
- Stress reduction and improved concentration
By adopting ancient practices for more meditative and intuitive content creation, who knows just how much your quality and focus could improve? Here are some applicable ways you can become a more mindful content marketer:
1. Be More Aware
Zen principles teach that walking around “checked out” from life is a pretty dangerous state of being. Awareness is key, and whatever you’re ignoring is probably what you should be paying attention to.
Everyone’s blog content writing can benefit from more awareness of the world as a whole – including your competitors’ content, trending topics on social media, and industry news. Make a point of building education and exposure into your daily workflow, if you haven’t already. If you’re already reading blogs, studies, and news alerts on a daily basis, consider whether you could benefit from more or higher-quality information.
2. Be Present
The biggest problem with your blog content writing habits could be a lack of focus. When you’re trying to flesh out an article, what is your mind focused on? If you’re like the majority of us, you’re probably focused on Facebook, your email, what you’ll do after work, or any number of other factors.
The ability to achieve total focus isn’t something you’ll manage overnight, but any steps in this direction can result in both better quality and quantity of content.
To learn how you can focus and get more done, check out Save Time Blogging: 15 Proven Productivity Hacks.
There’s likely always going to be content creators who are better and worse than you. It’s probably wise to accept this, and move on. Zen practitioners believe that it’s unproductive to spend too much time dwelling on rankings and categorizations, or overly simplistic categorizations of things as “good” or “bad.”
What does that have to do with blog content writing? Well, plenty. You’ll enjoy your progress towards being a better a lot more if you’re focused on what you can learn from the experts, not how much better they are than you.
Every professional can benefit from an improved sense of compassion, a value that’s far from unique to the Zen set of beliefs. However, it’s important to both be compassionate to yourself and others. Don’t beat yourself up when a post performs poorly, or you find you need to make corrections after publication. Learn and improve from your mistakes. Here are some ways you can use your content for good:
- Donate occasional content marketing services to a local non-profit
- Mentor an aspiring blogger or startup marketer
- Write guest blogs without an expectation of reciprocity
- Share other peoples’ work on social media channels freely
Not only do serious Zen practitioners make a point of tolerating diverse types of people, they believe that there’s a lot of value in situations that may feel uncomfortable. Being tolerant of new experiences can allow you to rapidly speed up your professional development and accomplishments.
To challenge yourself to become better at blog content writing, first consider exactly what makes you uncomfortable. Are you worried that you’ll fail at learning technical SEO skills, or struggle to be heard when you join a crowded Twitter chat? While only you can define your professional goals, and what actions you need to take to reach them, the following activities might be exactly what you need:
- Learning to code, or technical SEO skills
- Developing your graphic design skill set
- Learning video or photo editing to create more visual content
- Participating in offline networking events to expand your professional network
No one can become a Zen master overnight. Living a lifestyle that’s based on self-reflection requires years of practice, and continual effort. While there are some ways to achieve instantaneous blog traffic, subscriber growth, and lead generation, building thought leadership can take years. By approaching blog content writing as a formal practice and committing to continual improvement, you’ll surely achieve success. Here are some ways you can take a more structured approach to becoming a better blogger:
- Develop and maintain an editorial calendar
- Set key performance indicators
- Schedule time each day for continuing education
- Attend at least one or two marketing conferences a year
- Join or create a peer writing group to hone your skills
Blogging results and inbound marketing success can take time. Even if you’re a seasoned professional, your best-laid plans might not always go as you’d hoped. Perhaps a blog post you put hours into doesn’t get the traffic you’d dreamed of. Maybe you struggle to exceed last month’s marketing metrics due to seasonal fluctuations in your industry. To achieve Zen in the art of blog content writing, have patience and be kind to yourself – if you’re continually working to improve, you’ll see results.
Do you think that blog content writing can be a Zen practice? How have you improved your focus and patience?