The key to successful blogging is content. Content is still king and you must have great posts if you want to rank highly in search engines, get social media shares, and grab the attention (and subscriptions) of new readers. You can’t have a blog if you don’t blog!
Bloggers are busy people, and being able to kick out an awesome blog post quickly is a skill you should practice. Here’s how to do it!
Know What You’re Going to Write
- Keep a running list of post topics. Writing down your inspiration when it strikes will give you a page of ideas to pull from when you are looking at a blank screen. Your post ideas will also help you have an idea of what types of keywords you should research and what kinds of images you might be needing in the future, allowing you streamline more than just the writing of your posts. Every so often, make a point to sit down and brain storm a list of ideas that would make fantastic blog posts. You can find a page for brainstorming in our free printable editorial calendar. You’ll never have writer’s block again!
- Save posts in drafts. Have a great idea for a post? Go ahead and start it, then just save it to drafts. It’s okay to start a top 10 list by writing numbers 1-3 and then coming back to it another day, plus you’ll already have a head start on your post for the day.
- Use an editorial planner or schedule. This helps your readers know what to expect as well. Use your editorial calendar to plan out posts that logically go together, keep track of evergreen posts you want to publish, and make sure things get posted in a timely manner. An editorial schedule will help you get into a rhythm of certain posts on certain days, or even just post in order. For example, a food blog might post a recipe, a kitchen tip, an ingredient spotlight, then a recipe again. Free printable editorial calendar here!
- Save your inspirations. Use Evernote clippers or even secret Pinterest boards to keep things from the web that inspire blog posts. Maybe it’s a manifesto you want to respond to, a project that jump started your creativity, or an amazing recipe you are going to use in a round up. Keep it all in one place so you don’t have to search for it later.
Know Your Blogging Time Sucks
We all have one aspect of blogging that seems to take forever. Whether it’s editing photos, inserting links, or writing text, knowing what tasks you get stuck on can help you figure out how to work around them.
- Chunking, or working in batches, can streamline your blogging process. Focusing on one thing can help you get into the groove and knock it out. If making images takes up too much time, try doing all of the Pinterest optimized graphics for the week all at once. Do your keyword research in one longer session. Draft your blog posts a week ahead of time and then spend a few minutes doing nothing but inserting links.
- Streamline blog photos by creating your own stock art. Take pics that you think your readers would be interested in even if you don’t have a post in mind. For example, if you are a DIY/craft blogger, take a few generic snapshots of paintbrushes, glue drips, or sewing notions next time you are working on a project. Later those can become backgrounds for post images and you won’t have to use props to recreate a scene.
- Automate post promotions. Don’t get distracted by social media sharing. Schedule and automate it so you don’t have to think about.
- Hire help. Make strategic decisions on when to hire help and what to hire help for. Can you have a VA deep link your posts for you? Add affiliate links? If it frees up your thoughts and time to dream up great future posts or develop your blogging strategy further, it might be money well spent. You don’t have to do everything!
- Create custom templates in WordPress. Wordpress comes with template functions. If you constantly post the same format, it can be a real time saver! WP automatically includes page templates, or you can use a plugin such as Easy Content Templates to create a few. Templates can also help give your blog a consistent look and feel.
- Make an outline. Write a simple outline for your post before typing out the whole thing. It will keep you on track and give you a structure to hang your post on. You can turn your outline into subheaders or just delete them when your post is done.
- Write the middles. Here’s a simple writing trick- start in the middle! It’s actually easier to write a great introduction and a conclusion after you’ve already written the meat of the post. Save the beginning for last and write faster!
- Use templates and checklists to help keep you on track. Michael Hyatt keeps his blog template in Evernote, where it’s accessible from all his devices- computer, phone, or tablet. He keeps track of images and links he wants to use right in the template. You can even use a blog planner to keep track of everything that needs to happen when you click Publish.
Plan Ahead to Blog Better
Give yourself time to tie up loose ends. Believe it or not, stepping away from your post can make you faster! Instead of one marathon session, break it up. Don’t constantly push up against a deadline, because you’ll be more likely to make mistakes under pressure.
- Minimize distractions. Set aside a time just for writing, when your train of thought won’t get interrupted. Close out your Twitter and Facebook, or turn off notifications on your phone. Give yourself space to focus and create a great post.
- Proofread later. Let the post sit for a while – a couple of hours or overnight. Move on to other projects. This will let you look at your post with fresh eyes and make it easier to catch mistakes.
- Preview Post. If you know you don’t have to publish immediately, you can take the time to look over your post in Preview. This lets you check the outgoing links, see how it looks on the page, and make sure you don’t have any glaring mistakes or walls of text. You’ll be able to adjust you image placement and then schedule publishing for the perfect time.
Bloggers blog, but there’s reason writing posts has to be the only thing you have time for! Work smarter, not harder and get those posts out quickly and efficiently. You’re a pro!
Want to blog better? Take your blog to the next level at Blog Elevated Conference 2014!
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