What would your day be like if you could write better blog posts in half the time?
Does it take you an hour (or longer) to write a blog post?
Do you sit down to write and end up frustrated at how much time you're putting into your blog?
Blogging doesn't have to be that way.
You can blog well in less time if you know how to approach it and have a few of these strategies in your bag of tricks.
1. Be Yourself & Write What You Know
Trying to blog like someone else usually just causes frustration. Not only will it take you longer, but it will destroy your own creativity and voice if you try to fit yourself into someone else's mold. It's okay to "sound" like you!
Part of being you is writing what you know. If you're blogging about a topic you know little or nothing about, expect it to take a while since you'll have to research everything thoroughly before you publish. If you pick a topic that you know about you'll find it much easier to write quality content quickly.
2. Let Go of Perfection
That crazy impulse that drives you to proofread and edit your post for the 37th time... you have to get control of it. Stop at the 36th proofreading run, okay?
It'll save amazing amounts of time if you accept now that at some point you're probably going to accidentally publish a typo, say something you need to edit later, or even change your mind about a stance you've taken. You don't have to get it all right all the time. The world will not end if your blog isn't perfect, I promise.
3. Practice Short & Be Flexible
Some posts might hit 1,000 words because the topic demands it and some posts will necessarily take more time and research than others. But not every post needs to be that long. Sometimes short and sweet can get your point across best. Practice writing shorter posts.
This will also free you to jump in and write a blog post when you've got the inspiration and a few minutes, instead of waiting until you've got an hour or two blocked off for blogging.
Allow yourself room to try different post lengths and styles.
4. Use Templates
This is a "Top 10" or "10 Tips" style post. I chose the headline and format before I started blogging. And it made this post much easier to write.
Here are some free blog post (and article writing) templates you'll find helpful:
5. Be Inspired by Others
Are you reading other blogs? Choose at least a few successful blogs to subscribe to and read regularly -- it'll help you generate ideas and give you a model of what works that you can learn from.
6. Keep a Notebook
Ideas are everywhere. Start paying more attention to what's around you and you'll soon find that you "see" blog ideas in everything from your cats to the mailman to the plant on your desk. Write them down as soon as they come to mind and then you'll have a constant list of content ideas to draw from when it's time to write.
7. Don't Limit Yourself to Text
Video, audio, graphics -- there are lots of options for blog posts. Don't limit yourself to writing text, especially if you aren't a fast typist. Maybe video blogging or audio blogging is a better option or a good way to give your fingers a break from time to time.
8. Improve Important Skills
Identify what takes you the longest when you blog, and work to improve on it. For example:
- Type slow? Improve your typing speed with a typing class. Or try voice to text programs that type what you speak.
- Too much time researching? Speed up your research by bookmarking the best sites for it so they're at your fingertips.
- Challenged to come up with ideas? Keep a list of brainstormed blog post ideas.
- Frustrated by no comments and it's got you feeling like not writing anything new? Join a comment tribe, blogging group, form a comment circle with friends, comment on other blogs.
- Not sure how to promote your posts? Research once and create a promotion plan, then follow it for each new post.
- Don't understand WordPress (or your blogging software)? Take a class or find a mentor and learn it.
- Can't find perfect photos? If you're spending 20 or 30 minutes searching free photo sites, consider just using royalty free photos instead from StockFresh or Dreamstime - if it saves 30 minutes, it's worth the $1 or $2. Or look at plugins like Zemata or PhotoDropper.
All of these present an upfront investment of time, some a few minutes and some longer, that will more than pay off in the long run.
9. Blog in Series/Batches
Instead of brainstorming a new idea every day, try choosing a theme and writing a series on it.
If you write 5 posts on the same topic in one writing session, you'll find it's usually a lot quicker than if you were to write 5 posts on different topics on 5 different days.
Series are a great way to draw readers back and add subscribers to your blog, too.
10. Use a Blogging Calendar
A blogging calendar can help you get organized. I tend to go old fashioned and brainstorm out my posts ideas on a printed calendar. Here's how I plan mine: http://michelleshaeffer.com/how-planning-your-blog-content-can-make-blogging-easier-and-draw-more-regular-readers/2010/10/05/
I use the Editorial Calendar Plugin for WordPress. It allows me to see on one screen what posts I've got coming up and easily move them around.
Bonus Tip: Drink More Coffee.
Okay, I'm not totally serious on that one. But do reward yourself! My reward of choice is usually Starbucks. Yours can be whatever you want.
What helps you blog better, faster? Do one of these tips work for you, or got another tip to add? Share in the comments!
Photo credit: Andresr at StockFresh