Many of my clients feel overwhelmed when we discuss blog frequency. “How would we find the time?” is a question I always get. The key to getting motivated is to be organised with your blog.
It’s taken me a long time to get into a routine and even now I get overwhelmed at times. My natural tendency is to do too much research. As I research and read about my key points, I get so excited about what I’m learning. I forget I’m supposed to write and share MY point of view on the topic. Overthinking is my biggest procrastination tool.
Whether you’ve got a personal or business blog, your ability to churn out relevant and informational posts can be improved immediately by being prepared and having a plan to utilise the time you have. Here are a few tips of what has most helped me – and my clients – become more efficient with blogging.
Empty Your Workspace
It’s hard to focus when you’re surrounded by clutter so the first thing to do when you’re about to write is empty your workspace of distractions. Allow yourself five minutes to check in on things (your email, social media, children, etc) first, then cut yourself off for an allotted amount of time. For me, I set aside 45 minute blocks of time.
For that 45 minutes, put your phone on silent. Close your email inbox so the ping of a new message doesn’t interrupt you. Turn off Twitter and close Facebook. Close the door and get into a productive mindset. In a clutter-free space you can focus and work much more effectively than if you had distractions nipping away at you.
Create an Evergreen Structure for your Posts
If you don’t know where to start, writing a blog post can be overwhelming. It’s easy to shut down and not start at all if you’re not confident about the process. Creating a blog template was probably the single most effective thing that helped SensoBaby achieve more consistent blogging results.
An evergreen structure for your posts is one that doesn’t need to change. Once you write your structure, save it as HTML for any contributors to use. When it comes time to publish the blog post it can be dropped straight into WordPress. This will minimise formatting hassles without your contributors needing to be aware of any standards like using an h3 tag for subheads.
Include easy directions so that your contributors can follow the same SEO process each time, again minimising the amount of work that the publisher needs to do.
Do Your Content Calendar in Advance
The goal of business blogging is to contribute towards your revenue goals by providing remarkable content. That’s the stuff that people want to read, share, and come back to you to learn more about.
Start by holding a brainstorming session to discover what your target audience needs. Once you identify topics that matter to them, it’s a lot easier to write about the solutions you can offer. Organise these topics into a content calendar. You’ll be able to see if you have enough topics for your desired publishing frequency, if they’re speaking to all of your buyer groups, and if they cover off all stages of the buying cycle.
Be sure to read a lot too, on similar posts written by others, so you can see what’s happening in your industry. Then use what you’ve read to build your outline and add your own voice into the mix.
Write Your Outline
Maybe you’ve included your outline in your Evergreen Blog Template (I have). Start with your topic, an introduction that tells a personal story or contains some background information about the topic, then an outline of the 3+ points you’re going to discuss.
From there I like to write the first line of each paragraph before going back and filling in all the gaps. I add a conclusion and a call to action, ensure the introduction is still aligned with the content and boom. Done.
Not everyone does it in this order. Some bloggers I know write the outline, intro, conclusion, and then the body of their article in that order. What’s important is that you find a system that works for you.
Allow Yourself to Start With a Mess
Let the words come as they are – messy, imperfect nonsense. It’s a lot more fun to write by just putting it all on paper (notepad?) first, rather than getting bogged down with details. If you focus on one sentence at a time you’ll struggle to move on until you’ve perfected the previous sentence.
Spread the work over time: write, take a break, edit. This will take less time in the long run because you’re not caught up on pushing through it all at once.
Make it Yours
People like to read relevant and meaningful stuff, not a fact sheet. Rather than quoting tons of studies and highlighting proven facts, show people your perspective. It doesn’t have to be proven and correct. Your opinion matters. If it doesn’t align with what they’re looking for, then there’s lots of other blogs they can read.
I honestly believe that by applying these tips you can be organised with your blog and teach yourself to be an efficient writer. Having a clear idea of what and how you’re going to write, then just cranking out the words and adding your opinion, is what’s required. At the very least I hope these tips will get you started – that’s the most important step of all!
Image Credit: Dean Hochman via Flickr.