One of the first questions I get asked when people find out I’m a professional blogger is, “How do you write that many posts??”
It’s true that I write a fair number of blog posts in a week! Usually 8–10, sometimes as many as 12 posts — and I only work part-time, while I manage a home and a precocious three-year-old at the same time. And that work time isn’t all writing, either; I’ve still got to actually run the other moving parts of my business, like marketing, creating my own content, invoicing, paying taxes, etc. etc. etc. (You know the drill.)
For many of my clients — and I’m sure loads of small business owners out there — finding the time to blog is one of the biggest challenges they face when it comes to creating their own content. (That’s one reason my service is so popular!)
The sneaky secret here is that it’s hard for many of these folks to find time to blog because it takes them SO LONG to write a single post!
In fact, there are some blogging gurus out there who say that you “should” be spending at least 20 hours to write a single post. TWENTY HOURS. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for quality above quantity, but I could write a BOOK in 20 hours, not a blog post.
People get slowed down during their writing process for many reasons until a blog post can take, on average, anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to write.
But it doesn’t have to. Here are my top tips for making blogging easier and more efficient:
Don’t waste your writing time coming up with ideas of what to write.
I believe you should schedule dedicated brainstorming time totally separate from your writing time. To me, brainstorming is a totally separate activity. For my clients, I usually help them brainstorm and plan out up to six months worth of topics at a single go. For my own business, I find that six weeks is a more manageable time frame for planning out my editorial calendar, but I have a long, running list of ideas that I add to whenever inspiration strikes.
Implement this Tip: Start a document, a note, a folder, a blank sheet of paper right now where you can write down blog ideas as they strike. And use it!
Schedule your writing time and make it sacrosanct.
I have so many clients to keep track of, I have to be sure I schedule in time to write for each one of them — plus myself! But I ran into a problem with this early on in my business; if I actually blocked out time in my calendar for writing, it showed that time as “busy” for people who wanted to schedule meetings with me, when sometimes I was willing and able to move my schedule around. For example, Thursdays are my all-day work days; I know I have to write posts for two clients on that day, but the writing doesn’t have to necessarily happen between 1 and 4pm (or whatever), so long as it happens.
My solution to this was to create another calendar in my Google calendar account. I put my writing time in this secondary calendar, which doesn’t show as “busy” in my main calendar, and then I move the blocks of time around at will. I can see very visually that I still need those blocks of time, and I know when to stop taking meetings for that day. It works for me!
This is also important because it gives you a deadline. I find writing to a deadline is sometimes the ONLY way to get my BICFOKTAM. (Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, typing away madly.) If that sounds like you, set yourself a self-imposed deadline, or find an accountability partner to hold you to it!
Implement this Tip: If you don’t know how long it takes you to write a post (on average) start timing yourself. Once you have a good idea, start scheduling that time in your calendar, and make it just as important as any other meeting or task.
Don’t skimp on value because you’re short on time; do a “cheater’s” post instead.
I believe that those blogging gurus are telling you to spend 20 hours on a post not because they’re sadists, but because they want you to turn out really valuable EPIC content. And I’ve got no beef with that. Every post you write should be valuable to your audience.
But what do you do those weeks when you are short on time, or you’re struggling with writer’s block?
I like to pull out what I call “cheater’s” posts — but they’re really not cheating. Sometimes these posts are the most popular on your blog! They can include:
- List posts, like your top 10 tools you use to run your business. Or 5 podcasts you listen to. Or your favorite books right now.
- A link round-up (done right) can be great for promotion.
- Share a really great infographic and write one or two paragraphs about why it’s great.
- Write an FAQ post — or what I like to call an SAQ post (should ask questions) — about your business
These are all fairly quick and easy to produce, yet still provide good value for your reader.
Implement this Tip: Take 10 minutes to brainstorm a list of “cheater’s” posts you could write and add them to your ideas list for the next time you’re facing a writer’s block or a tight deadline.
Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you start a blog post.
For many people, just staring at that blank white space is rough. I use a template all the time when I’m writing my own blog or my clients’; it helps to focus my mind on exactly what I need to produce next. It also helps me start in the middle, or start with the snappy conclusion that came to me in the shower, but not lose my place in the post.
Implement this Tip: Create a blog post template you can refer to.
Let go of perfect. Because it will never be perfect.
Here’s the real secret of churning out blog posts quickly and efficiently: confidence. It might sound hokey, but I think the main reason I get so dang much done is that I’m just plain confident in my ability to do so.
I bet you have things like that in your business too. Maybe it’s when you’re creating a new design for a client, or when you’re in the brainstorming stage, or when you’re on a coaching call. You know this is your zone of genius, and you rock it!
You can fake confidence by letting go of the idea that each and every post you write has to be perfect. The Internet has typos, my friends — I know, you’re shocked. And if your post doesn’t quite land the way you hope this week, guess what? You get another chance next week.
If you find you really struggle with this, editing again and again, or really having trouble hitting the publish button, I highly suggest finding or hiring an editor to look over your work. It can really be the confidence boost you need.
Implement this Tip: If you have trouble with perfectionism, tap a friend, an accountability partner, or a professional editor to help you polish and feel more confident in your work.
What my work week looks like:
My work week is going to look a lot different than yours, but here’s the gist:
- I already have my post topics chosen (by me or by the client) before I ever sit down to write.
- I’ve carved out an appropriate block of time in my schedule just for writing.
- I eliminate all other tasks and distractions so that I can hit my deadlines; my clients know when to expect their posts, and I don’t want to let them down.
- I always have a backup plan, like a “cheater’s post,” in mind for when the words just aren’t flowing.
- I write quickly and efficiently, which doesn’t leave much time for the gremlins of perfectionism and self-doubt to creep up on me, and I send important posts to accountability partners to read through before they go live.
How do you make your blogging more quick and efficient? Which of these tips resonates the most for you? I’d LOOOOVE to hear your ideas in the comments below!