Simple strategies to cut your blogging time in half
Drinking more water. Walking 30 minutes every day. Blogging.
They’re all things we know we should do more of, and we’re aware of the benefits of doing them.
So why don’t we do them more?
When it comes to blogging, whether it’s for business or for pleasure, one of the most common complaints is that it takes so long. There’s coming up with ideas, there’s research, there’s writing. That takes time. Too much time.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can use to get a blog post written and published quickly and effortlessly.
Write when (and where) you’re most productive
It takes a lot of trial-and-error to know how you work. So try experimenting with writing early in the morning, right after lunch or late at night; in a coffee shop, at home or from a co-working space; in complete silence or listening to Brain.fm.
Unless you experiment and try different things, you can’t find a system that works for you.
Eliminate all potential distractions
You finally start to write your blog post and an email notification pops up. Or you take a “quick” break to peek at email or Facebook. The next thing you know, it’s an hour later and you’ve fallen down a rabbit hole of side-topics and funny internet memes.
How many times has this happened to you?
Email and social media can be huge distractions and can interrupt your writing flow. So, when you start writing, make sure to turn off notifications and to refrain from checking your social media accounts.
Save time on research
Research is likely necessary for most of your blog posts, whether you’re blogging for business or pleasure. But instead of researching the topic as a whole, plug your subheads into Google.
For example, if you’re writing a blog post about your latest trip to Iceland and have a section about when it’s best to visit, be specific in your Google search. Instead of sifting through five to ten general articles on Iceland, run a more specific search like “the best time to visit Iceland”.
Research usually takes the longest when writing. With this approach, you’ll not only find the information you’re looking for but it’ll also help you to cut down the time spent on research.
Jump out of research mode and start writing!
You’re in the middle of researching a blog post and while you feel you have enough material to fill up a book, you still have no clue on how to get started writing it.
Here’s the thing: spending too much time on research due to the fear of not having enough relevant or interesting information will hurt you. Not only are you postponing the writing part, but you’re also wasting valuable time.
Unless you’re writing a whitepaper, a case study or a training course and have months at your disposal to complete it, you don’t need to spend days or weeks researching a topic for a blog post. You don’t need to read absolutely everything about a topic to start writing.
What you need is to research beyond the minimum so you can understand and explain the topic to your readers. What you need is to start writing.
Get something on the page quickly
Getting the first words on the page is the most difficult part. But once you start typing, you’ve got the momentum to keep going.
But how do you get started when you’re struggling with those first words, and when all you see is that dreaded blank page?
Here are a few things you can try.
If you have a personal blog, like a travel blog, don’t wait until you finish your trip to start writing. Do it while you travel and as you experience places and things. Jot down ideas, plans or memories while you’re on a plane, at breakfast or over a glass of wine after a long day exploring the city.
Simply write down what you’ve visited and experienced so that when you’re ready to write your blog post, you already have something to start with. This ensures that you won’t ever face that dreaded blank page again.
If you’re blogging for business, you can take a similar approach. Whether you’re on the tube or taking a coffee break, write down ideas on what you’d like to cover in your blog post. These don’t need to be full sentences. Maybe start with a few subheads and bullets.
It doesn’t matter if you end up using only a few of those ideas. The important thing is to write them down so you have something to start with. Then you can fill in the rest with research, personal expertise and insights.
This is a great starter formula to help speed up your blogging process.
Write the intro last
This is a huge time-saver so make sure you try it.
Once you have your research and outline, skip the intro and dive right into the text of each section. There are two key reasons why we’d recommend focusing on the intro last.
- The intro always takes longer to write since you don’t know exactly what information you’re including in the blog post. But if you leave it for last and write it when the article is complete, it’ll take less time since you’re now clear on what you readers will learn from your article.
- You know how important the intro is. It’s what draws people in and entices them to keep reading. And since it’s so important, the pressure to get it right is high. That pressure to write an amazing intro is what most often leads to writers’ block.
You’ll be surprised how easy it is to write the intro and how fast the words roll off your fingertips when the article is complete.
Write first, edit later
Never edit yourself while you write. It will break your flow and slow down the writing process.
As you know, writing is the most difficult part. So focus on that first, on getting those ideas on the page, and leave the editing for when you’ve completed the article. This will save you lots of time.
Use the Pomodoro technique
If you’re struggling to get started, try the Pomodoro technique. This is a way of structuring work time into shorter segments, paired with brief breaks:
“Set a timer for 25 minutes and work without interruption on one task. After the 25 minutes is up, you take a break for 5 minutes to recharge your batteries. This break might simply be a walk over to the water cooler and back. Repeat the timer process if a task will require more than 25 minutes to complete,” say the remote working experts at The Office Club.
Give voice typing a try
If you’re one of those people who hates writing but likes to talk and think out loud, why not give speech recognition software a try?
Text-to-speech doesn’t have the best reputation, but it has come a long way. Google has excellent speech recognition software that’s built into Google Chrome. So instead of writing your blog posts, now you can type and edit them by speaking in Google Docs.
Find out more about speech recognition and how it works.
There you have it: nine strategies to cut your blogging time in half.
Hopefully they will help you to better manage your time and distractions so that you can write faster, more often and better.
If you want to improve your blogging further, take our free course on blogging and content marketing.