So you’ve decided to start blogging to generate interest in your business or organization. Yep, you’re going to sit right down and crank out 10 blog posts to get things rolling and then 1 every day from now on.

Google is going to LOVE you. Visitors aplenty will be all over your site. Business will begin to boom. As soon as you write that first blog post and get it all rolling…

Blogging isn’t easy. In fact it’s hard. It’s especially hard to get it started. And it’s even harder to keep it going. And that’s why it’s awesome. Because anything that hard will scare away the competition!

So here’s a 6 step plan to help you get started…

#1 Survey the landscape

Before you start writing anything you need to start reading everything. What are others in your industry or market blogging about? Which ones are most effective in communicating their message? What styles are they using? Are they writing in first person or third person? Don’t try and copy any of these other blogs, you’ll want yours to be your own, however the process of examining the work of others will make you a better writer and begin to generate ideas!

#2 Read the pros

There’s a whole industry that has grown up to support bloggers and wannabe bloggers. You can read up on a huge range of things from finding ideas on what to blog about, writing-style, writer’s block and anything else you may need to know or want to ask about how to become a successful blogger. Start with Problogger, Copyblogger and DailyWritingTips. These sites will get you up to speed fast, keep you motivated and are there for you as great resources when you need answers too.

#3 Hone your skills

Write every day. Even if you don’t publish everyday, you need to write everyday. When you first get started it might take 3 hours to craft a blog post. That’s ok. You’re still learning the process and it will get better and faster as you progress. After a few months you will begin to streamline things and it will move along much quicker. The secret is to just keep doing.

#4 Set proper expectations

Write knowing that a lot of what you write will never be published and that’s ok. You can’t run a marathon without at least a bit of training. Why then do people expect that they will sit down and write a perfect post each and every time? If you’re just not in the zone to write today, that’s cool too. Switch to research, outlining or editing other posts that you have started but not finished and save what you’ve written so far today for another time. The important thing is to make progress every day.

#5 Put it in your calendar

Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. It won’t. At least not consistently. The Blogging Muse can be temperamental that way. Building killer content needs to be part of your regular schedule. That means it belongs on your calendar not on your to-do list. If you can’t set aside the time today, then reschedule it for tomorrow. Like everything else that is super important that you need to do, blogging needs to be something that you set a specific time for in order to complete.

#6 Ship

If you don’t ever hit publish nothing happens. No one ever talks about, shares or forwards the greatest blog post never written! One of the thing’s I’ve learned to do is to always put one hour in my schedule to write and ship a blog post. Often it’s early in the morning and I’ll work on a post from 6am to 7am. Why? Well at 7am I need to get started with my day so regardless of what happens, I paste the post into WordPress and hit publish at 7am. This keeps me focused, out of email and other distractions and always produces, at the very least, a decent post. Even if its’ not Pulitzer Prize winning work you have to ship. And then you have to do it again.