10 Ways to Save Time and Energy Blogging

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In an ideal world, our blogging would be done at a leisurely pace out on the front porch or settled into our favorite writing chair. We'd be writing at our most inspired moments and we'd be channeling great writers of the past. We'd be writing about our passions and would become lost in our writing.

Back to Reality

Whoa. I started to inspire myself with that intro! The reality is often quite different than the idyllic writer's scene I began painting above. Often, we're producing blog content to achieve our marketing goals and to meet deadlines. We're strategically planning what we'll write about, how it will be received by our readers, and what they'll do next. And we're often short on both time and inspiration!
 
With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my favorite ways to save time while still producing winning blog content. Let me know in the comments your tips for blogging efficiency and effectiveness!
 
1) Keep your target audience's "information needs" in mind
 
Sometimes we need a quick reminder of what kind of information our readers (or potential readers) would like to know. To do this, you can brainstorm customer "pain points" with your team (or alone or with a friend if you're a solopreneur). You can also ask your support or sales staff what questions people often ask. You can look at LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo Answers or Quora to see what questions people have related to your industry. Or, you can go to the Google Keyword Tool or Wordtracker's Keyword Questions and see what people are searching for (use industry-related keywords).
 
2) Document any and all blog post ideas that you have
 
Create a Blog Post Ideas document. While you're out and about, make sure you write down, text, email or record any ideas you have. Make sure they get into your Blog Post Ideas document by the end of the day. This will be your blog post ideas source for those days when the inspiration well runs dry.
 
3) Find a blogging schedule that works and stick to it
 
I won't tell you that you have to publish a post twice per week (that's my basic schedule), but you need to find a schedule that works for you (or your company). If it's once/week, that's great. If it's once every two weeks, great. Once you've proven that you can meet that schedule, by actually doing it, confirm that goal and stick to it. Put someone in charge of keeping all contributors on track and for making sure that regular blog post gets out.
 
4) Use the calendar as a way to generate content ideas
 
Look at a calendar and decide what themed posts you can create. Consider holidays, seasons, big community events, company events, product launches or even things like the Superbowl, the Olympics or the World Cup. By planning these posts, it gives you the lead time you might need to make them happen, but you also get some more posts on the schedule.
 
5) Outline your posts
 
Half of the writing battle is outlining your posts quickly with ideas for an opening, your key points, a closing and a call to action. That can take 5-10 minutes once you get good at it. After that, completing the posts is more like "paint by numbers" or filling in the blanks! This method also saves your post from wandering too far afield!
 
6) Capitalize on a state of "flow"
 
I'm not saying to write only when you're in a state of flow! If you happen to find yourself particularly inspired about a topic and are itching to get something on paper about it, find the space to write and capitalize on this state! I've written some of my most successful blog posts when something really got me inspired and the words just poured out of me.
 
7) Leverage your network
 
Use your network to your advantage. See if you can have one of your friends, partners or colleagues contribute a guest post. Do an interview with someone that your readers would learn from. Be creative in enabling allow others to contribute to your base of content.
 
8) Repurpose content or ideas
 
Go through your hard drive or do a mental inventory of all the content you're created or been involved in the past several years. Are there old articles that could be dusted off or rewritten? Can you take part of a presentation you gave and write a post about that? Did you make any key points in a recent interview that could be written up as a post? Are there pictures or videos that can be used on your blog?
 
9) Share your posts (but not obnoxiously)
 
Don't waste that great work you're doing. Make sure to share your posts on social networks where you have a presence (e.g. your Facebook page, via your Twitter account, in LinkedIn groups and on your profile, in Google+ and/or on Pinterest). Just make sure you share other people's content too – not just your own. Also, don't share it by saying, "Here's my new blog post". Share a compelling headline with the link to the post.
 
10) Track your website traffic
 
If you have no feedback mechanism, you'll feel less excited to keep going. Make sure you track your stats so you can see if (when) your visitor levels increase and you can see which posts are most popular. Don't depend on comments or shares of your post as your most important feedback mechanisms because most people don't comment and many don't share either (but they will visit and read your posts).
 
Bonus: Don't be focused on just your own blog!
 
Make sure you look out for other bloggers. Read and share their content. Leave comments to establish a connection. Look at other blogs for inspiration and to learn new blogging styles. Also consider learning from blogs in other industries.
Feeling inspired?
 
Did you find any new ways to make your blogging life easier? Which ones? Do you have any tips for making blogging easier or more effective? Let us know in the comments!
Tom Treanor
About the Author
Tom Treanor helps solopreneurs and companies break through their blog writing barriers with his Fast, Easy Blogging Course. You can also find him at Right Mix Marketing.
 
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  1. says

    There were some interesting points made in the article but I think that the one that stood out for me was using a calendar. It’s never occured to me to look at current and upcoming events to give a topical flavour to my posts and it’s something that I will definitely do in the future.

    The blog posts document is a good idea as well, inspiration can come at any time and 99% of the time it gets forgotten with everything else going on. It could be that you carry a notebook around to jot down ideas, but even simpler, how many of our mobile phones have notepads on them, and who leaves home without their mobile phone?

    Thanks for some great ideas to help with my blogging.

  2. says

    Here’s a quick one.

    Write a Top Ten. Create a small paragraph for each of the Ten, Get into your WordPress blog.

    Copy and paste the whole thing into one post. CUT the remaining 9 of the Top Ten. Complete the post and set it for now.

    Paste the remaining 9 into the next blog post. Cut the remaining 8 and set the new blog post a week from today.

    Repeat until all 10 posts are set over 10 weeks. If you are twitchy about the whole paste and cut thing, save the whole thing you wrote before you start out. 10 blog posts (cos they don’t all need to be 600 word masterpieces, now do they?

    If you want to you can encourage people to come back with 1 out of 10 in the piece, but personally, I prefer to randomise the days I do this and just make ten posts on, say ‘Delegation’.

    Bonus?

    If you set your RSS feed into Twitterfeed.com (it’s free) each of your blog posts gets pulled into your twitter account as well. Ta-da!

    Voila!

    Takes about an hour.

    • says

      Martin,

      Great addition. I’ve done something similar. Here’s how I’ve done it. Write a list post and then pick the top 1-2 points and do other posts digging deeper into each of those. Yours provides more content! Thanks for stopping by and for providing the useful writing tip and also the Twitterfeed suggestion.

    • says

      Amy, I’ve found that leveraging my network through guest posts is a great way to build relationships and add more value to my readers. Go for it and blog on!

    • says

      Amy,
      Thanks for your comment. The other great way to leverage the network quickly is to do a quick interview with an expert in an adjacent field that your audience would learn from.

  3. says

    Appreciate your guest post, Tom. I especially like your bonus tip to pay attention to other blogs. I am frequently inspired by other bloggers and find that’s a great way to quickly generate ideas.