Want to spend less time at the computer blogging? The more you blog, the quicker you’ll grow at writing effective, punchy blog posts. But in the meantime, here are twenty-one proven ideas for speeding up that process!
21 Ideas to Speed Up Your Blogging
1. Eliminate distractions. Disconnect from the net. Close Facebook. Turn off the ringer on your phone. Shut your home office door, if you can.
Try to pick your ideal time of day to write – for example, at 9:30, when you’ve got that freshly-made cup of coffee sitting on your desk, the kids are safely in school and the dog is fast asleep after his morning roller-blading session.
And make that time slot sacred: You’ll be amazed at how easy it becomes to start writing creatively, when it’s a daily habit. (Think “Pavlovian conditioning”.)
2. Keep it short. One idea per blog post will easily fit within 350-450 words. (If you find yourself passing 750 words, you’ve got two or more ideas – split them up!)
3. Re-use and Re-cycle. Do you have any old articles you’ve written? Reports? Blog posts that never got off the ground? Put them to good use and re-purpose them into new blog posts. Here’s how…
- Go through your piece of old content and use a yellow highlighter to isolate individual ideas
- Pick one
- Write a short post (no more than 450 words) just on that single idea alone
If you do this for an entire document such as a report or even just a longer article, you should have a nice batch of cohesive, coordinated blog posts in an afternoon!
4. Write about what you know. Your biggest problem, if stick to subjects you know by heart, will be keeping the word length down! (See Idea # 1.)
5. Write first, research later. This tip goes hand-in-glove with Idea # 3. When you’ve finished your post, re-read it. You’ll know if you need to expand on a statement with a line or two of research to add credibility to it.
6. Write first, find photos later. If you start looking for the right photo in the middle of your blog post, it’s far too easy to become distracted by portfolios full of wonderful visuals as you scroll through Google images or your favorite photo clipart site.
(The inverse of this strategy – finding photos, then basing your blog posts on them – can also provide a fun way to perk up your idea-generation process.)
7. Share a gem. If you produce a really fascinating fact, helpful link, hidden shortcut or little- known resource, you really don’t need to write pages and pages about it! All people will see, want and grab is your golden take-away.
8. Use a screenshot. If your post sharing that wonderful hidden resource is only 250 words long, bulk up its interest quotient and value by adding a teaser screenshot, showing some aspect of the resource that is sure to make your reader want more.
9. Start at the end. One trick widely used by professional bloggers is to write their conclusion first. Then write the introductory paragraph and several bullet points leading to the conclusion.
Cut your bullet points down to no more than five to seven, tops. Create paragraphs out of the remainder. (Choose the points you feel either require expansion or that are most important.)
10. Make your reader want more. It’s better to leave your readers wanting more than put them to sleep with pages of weighty research or – even worse – your unedited, in-depth opinion. (Think “teaser”).
11. Create a series. This is one way to break a lengthier subject up, dealing with it point by point. As long as your reader grasps the idea or technique you’re sharing, they’ll still leave your blog pleased – perhaps even excited.
And wanting more!
12. Dig out that never-used batch of PLR. If you’re like the seventy-eight percent surveyed in a recent poll, you’ve bought PLR (private label rights generic content) and never got around to using it.
Now is the time to dig it out! Use it. Either do a heavy rewording, moving paragraphs around and deleting several… or just use it as an Idea Mine.
13. Keep an “Idea Jar” – either a literal one or a file folder on your desktop. Every time an idea for a blog post hits you, make a note.
14. Pick a keyword. Similar to the Idea Jar, keep a Keyword File or Excel spreadsheet. This numbered list should contain keywords that are evergreen – ones that will never go out of date for your niche.
When you find your self stuck, either pick a keyword from your File at random, or (if you want to add spice and danger) roll at least three dice, add up the total and go write your post about the keyword that comes up at that number along your list.
15. Set the timer. If an idea hits you, just write the post! But before you begin, set your computer or kitchen stove timer for a short period of time (no more than fifteen minutes, max!)
If the buzzer goes off before you’ve finished, save your post into an Idea Jar file called “In Progress” (or whatever works for you better). Go back to your regularly scheduled work.
Much later – perhaps as much as weeks later – dig one of these semi-completed blog posts out, when you need to come up with a post for your blog (or for a client, if you’re a content writer).
Finishing a half-written blog post is much easier than thinking up an entirely new one. It will feel like a delicious cheat – and you’ll gain lots of practice in self-discipline and increasing your speed by using the buzzer. (It can even feel like a really fun game!)
Basing your post on one keyword can really help you focus and streamline each post.
16. Think “conversation”. You’re telling your story to your reader directly. And inviting a response by so doing!
17. Write daily. Nothing speeds one’s writing time up more than getting into the habit of writing. One post a day is better than none – but why not make it three posts?
The key: Making them short (anywhere from 250-500 words) and never letting yourself go over that limit (builds self-discipline and reinforces structure).
18. Use a Template – especially if you’re writing reviews. It’s not always easy to write a short review post. In fact, many times you will get better results if you write in more depth: But using a template can help make the process relatively painless (as well as deeply grooving those neural pathways in your mind). We’ll share a template with the free workbook next week.
19. Stick to a basic structure. If you don’t want to use a template, make sure you learn the basic structural elements of a strong blog post:
- A beginning paragraph that makes a statement and promises what the reader will learn
- At least two or three middle paragraphs that expand on the premise
- A summary, that brings your post to a strong conclusion
- A call to action, enticing comments or click-throughs from your reader
Do use sub heads and/or a few bullet points, if your post is over 350 words long. Sub heads and bullet points break up the text… and make the reader feel that your post is even easier and quicker to read!
20. Don’t edit as you write. Doing the latter is the surest way to:
- Taking the fire out of your writing
- Going off on a tangent
- Losing the conversational feel and immediacy of your post
- Undermining your own confidence
- Putting how you say things ahead of your vital message
- Stealing time away from your day and adding it to the writing process
- Throw off your pacing (story flow)
(There will be plenty of time to look for typos or worry about how to spell Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis later.)
21. Create a plan and use a Blogging Calendar. Brainstorming and planning all your topics for the month ahead is a wonderful way to get you into the habit of writing, thus speeding up the process.
Knowing your post topics ahead of time also helps you to:
- Grab a great graphic if you come across one
- Make note of useful research links
- Mull topics over in your mind
- Seize the opportunity to ask experts questions
- Read related material
And the beauty of it is, if you follow this method, all the fiddly stuff is done in advance. What does this mean?
Well, say you are browsing the net, looking for graphics for today’s batch of posts. While checking out the “People” category in your favorite photo clipart site, you come across a photo of a small girl in a lilac dress, holding a bouquet of violets.
You realize this photo is the perfect illustration for next Wednesday’s post on “Adding a Flower Girl to Your Wedding”. Copy it, format anything that needs to be formatted – the point at which most bloggers lose the most time – and save it.
Your photo will be ready to instantly drop in and go.
Even if you don’t use every one of these twenty-one speed tips for post writing, adapt as many as you can. Writing blog posts efficiently and quickly is mostly a matter of habit and practice. And the best part is… anyone can do it! Anyone can reduce their post-writing time.
Try it and let me know how it goes.