When More is More

Ramsay is the author of The Blog Tyrant, a popular blog about… well… blogging. In his recent post, How to Write More, he offers the following advice about long-format writing:

Usually people tell you that less is more.

But when it comes to blogging it’s fascinating to note that there are some scenarios where it’s pretty true to say that more is more. More words, more posts, more links, etc.

For example, one of the backbones of my blogging strategy for the past few years has been to create long form content that is at least 3,500 words long.

People like Neil Patel, Glen Allsopp, etc. regularly extol the benefits of writing longer posts – they are statistically more likely to get more shares, likes, links, and subscribers.

And while there is no point in posting more if the content is ordinary, it’s good to learn how to write more if it means you can create longer blog posts that solve more problems, rank well on Google, and form a solid basis for your blog’s long term success.

So, let’s take a look.

How to write more

Here are a few strategies, ideas, and tools that have helped me write more over the years. We’ll begin with the more theoretical tips and then get on to some practical methods.

1. Have a solid set of goals with a timeline

It is really hard to sit down to research and write super-long articles if you don’t have a reason to do it. Knowing your short and long term goals and setting them to a timeline makes an enormous difference.

I made this error for years and years and it wasn’t until my older sister asked me over dinner what my goals were for the year. I ummmed and aahhhhed for so long and went away feeling embarrassed enough that I decided to sit down and figure out exactly what I wanted to do that year.

As Jim Rohn says in a piece on goal setting:

Goals are no place to waffle. They are no place to be vague. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.

2. Know exactly why you are doing it

I have personally found it crucial to have [clearly defined goals.] For some people it is because they want to get better at a skill, for others it might be making more money to support your family or perhaps even a charity. Whatever your motivation, it can help a lot if you isolate it, make it clear, and then recall it regularly.

Not only does this keep your writing focused and careful, it also helps to support you emotionally when you are having down days where the writing doesn’t flow or you feel like progress isn’t happening fast enough. If you can recall to mind the stakeholders of your progress then it puts a fire under your butt.

3. Read, read, read, read, read

If you talk to almost any writer, author, journalist, or blogger about what helps them be good at what they do I can guarantee that a large portion of them will tell you to read more.

A lot of fantastic things happen when you read – especially when you go outside your comfort zone and look at various sources. First of all, your mind opens up to new ideas. Secondly, you start to discover new ways to express those ideas with your writing. Thirdly, your writing happens with less difficulty because the tones and styles of those authors start to absorb into you.

If you are having a period of writer’s block then one of the best things you can do is take a few hours to read. Look around at the best blogs in your niche, but then go further to excellent long form sources like the New Yorker, WIRED,,… etc. and see if something sparks.

4. Find a place to write and go there… even if you can’t

Finding somewhere to write is extremely important. It doesn’t need to be National Library of the Czech Republic inspiring but it should be enough that it allows you to concentrate in the zone.

The most important thing, however, is that you actually go there and write. This is really easy for me to say – I don’t have kids or a “real” job to go to. And I imagine that if you’re a stay-at-home parent or someone trying to blog while raising a family then it could be extremely tricky. But it is also extremely important.

Try finding a cafe nearby or even a place in your house that is just for sitting and writing. Let your family know that for the time that you’re in there (it might only be 30 minutes a day) that you’re not to be disturbed. You can get a lot done in a short amount of time when it’s just one thing.

5. Start with an extraordinary headline and keep coming back to it

For me, it’s really important to have an excellent headline sorted before I start doing any of the actual content writing. This helps me to stay focused.

Actually, this was a tip I got from a lecturer in University who said that you should write your essay topic at the top of your screen and always have it in sight. Refer back to it again and again and it will help you stay on topic in every paragraph, sentence, etc. I found it useful and so applied it to… writing.

The thing to remember here is that once you figure out the perfect headline/title for your blog post you often find that the content writing flows a lot easier. You know what question your are trying to answer, problem you are trying to solve, etc. and as such everything feels very consistent.

At Certa, we highly encourage our authors to have a blog and keep it fresh with their thoughts, missives and book updates. Hopefully this advice from The Blog Tyrant will help to transform your blog into a place where you can interact with your readers and gain new ones.

It Takes Value: How to add value to your writing & gain readers’ trust

it-takes-value

Every writer believes that what they’re saying is important and interesting—not only to themselves, but others, too. We think our unique creativity alone should be enough to build an audience. But the reality is…our audience decides what’s worth paying attention to, not us. This doesn’t mean you should stop writing for your own enjoyment or alter your style and message to suit the masses. It does mean you should pay attention to the desires and needs of your target audience.

Are you writing, blogging, and posting to social media and constantly receiving little response?

Remember: it takes value.

It’s imperative to ensure that your writing is adding value to the lives of your readers.

Wit, skill, intelligence, humor—all of these are great tools that help develop your voice, but tools are not enough to create a committed fan base. Writer Jeff Goins says, “In a world full of noise, the way you get people to care about you is to care about them first.” Showing an interest gains the attention, and eventually trust, of your readers.

Many writers think of their work as art rather than communication with their readers. But even art has an audience, and as a professional writer, you should have a target audience in mind! How can you relate to them? How can you provide pieces of writing that consistently adds value to their lives? How, in turn can they add value to your life?

“This is what it means to add value: listen first, speak second.”
— Jeff Goins

Start by brainstorming. What struggles have you battled? What victories have you seen in your life? What problems do you have that others might also have? How have you solved or are you working on solving those problems? Do you have personal stories to tell? Share what you know, what you’ve learned, and how you’re still growing. Soon you’ll discover your exact niche and connect with the readers that matter.

A few practical ideas to get you started:

  1. Create an email list. There’s no better way to capture the sustained attention of your dedicated readers and more easily begin conversations.
  1. Build relationships. Find likeminded/related blogs and begin guest posting to build your audience your own reliability.
  1. Acknowledge other conversations. Listen to what people are already saying on a particular topic and get informed.
  1. Engage with people. Leave meaningful comments on the conversations and blogs that you find. Be helpful, not salesy.
  1. Contribute. Having now researched your niche and observed the conversations happening on certain topics, you’ve probably noticed areas needing improvement. Here’s where you come in.

Start with these steps and repeat with consistency, and your readers are sure to notice and buy in. Don’t believe that just because you build it, they will come. People’s attention must be earned, and the way to do that is by caring first. 

“If you have a message the world needs to hear—a book you want to write, a song you want to sing, or simply an idea worth spreading—the way you get others to care about it is to not just come out and share it.”
— Jeff Goins