10 Ways to Save Time and Energy Blogging

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.

Link Love from Virtual Blog Writing Day

After the recent Virtual Blog Writing Day, I offered participants a chance to get some link love on this blog. One of the things that drives me is helping online entrepreneurs boost their visibility on the web. To that end, I wanted to reward those who took action and wrote blog posts on VBWD. So, I offered to include a link to a post they wrote on a group post and make sure it got syndicated throughout my networks. 

I received links to 15 blog posts, all created during Virtual Blog Writing Day. I'm thrilled to present them to you now and invite you to click through to the articles that catch your attention. This is a great way to find new bloggers, possibly in your niche. Read their posts, post a comment and share with your networks. Be generous and you may make a new contact that could turn into a joint venture partner, a guest blogger, a client or a mentor for you…

Now, without further ado, here are the posts in the order I received them…there's something for everyone!

Writer's Block Stinks: 4 Steps for When Your Get-Up-And-Go Has Gone-Up-And-Went by Stephanie LH Calahan

Key Words For “Maybe Yes, Maybe No” Menu Choices by Penelope M. Klatell, PhD, RN, ACC
And, while I didn't achieve my goal of writing four blog posts, here's one I did publish during Virtual Blog Writing Day:
Remember, find two or three posts on this list that resonate with you and check them out. Click on the links, read, comment and share…what goes around comes around and you may find new connections and readers for your blog too!

Commit a Day to Your Business Blog

Old_Typewriter_focus_On_Text[This is a repost from Build a Better Blog in case you missed it. I want to make sure you get the info and know you're invited to dedicate some time to get a batch of blog posts written and queued on your blog.]

Not having enough time to write blog posts is a lament I hear time and time again from online entrepreneurs…even though they KNOW the benefits of publishing consistent content on their blog.

Awhile back I wondered aloud if having a dedicated block of time, like a virtual blog writing day would help.

Many folks I asked gave me a resounding "Yes!"

So, I'm doing an experiment and have scheduled a Virtual Blog Writing Day…how many posts can you write in an hour or a day?

Date: August 23, 2012
Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Pacific Time
(check your local time here)
Where: your computer
Cost: FREE… NO CHARGE…My gift to you! 

Here's how I envision it working:

  1. Starting at 9:00 am PT, everyone calls in to my conference line. I will share some tips, motivation and maybe some productivity tools to kick off the writing day. This will be no more than 30 minutes.
  2. You ring off and work on your writing for 90 minutes.
  3. We reconvene on the conference line at 11:00 am PT and report on success, challenges, Q&A for a maximum of 30 minutes.
  4. You ring off and write for 90 minutes.
  5. We reconvene at 1 pm PT – see #3

We'll follow this format, meeting at 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm and have a final checkin celebration at 5 pm PT.

It's totally up to you how you participate. Check in one time during the day or at every checkin. It's your day, your schedule, you decide.

This is an opportunity to block off some time and commit to creating content you can queue on your blog for later publication so you don't have to stress out about what you're going to write!

Don't like to write? Fine. Create videos or audios you can post.

Don't need content for your blog? Fine. Maybe you're working on an ebook or an article or a guest post for someone else's blog. This is your time to focus on your content marketing and get support and accountability (if you want it).  

Are you in? 

You're welcome to drop in during one of the scheduled checkins by calling (206) 402-0100 PIN Code: 664420# 

You can also sign up below and I'll send you a couple of reminders as the day approaches. I may also send some tips and suggestions for how to prepare for the Virtual Blog Writing Day. There is no charge for this event. I'm not going to be selling anything. To be honest, I need this dedicated time to focus on cranking out some blog posts too…we're in this together.

If you would like reminders and tips about the Virtual Blog Writing Day, sign up here:

Two requests:
  1. Please share this opportunity with others in your community. You probably know a few people who could use this support too! Click here to tweet this event!
  2. If you have specific questions about blogging, post them in the comments. I'll review and answer questions that will benefit the group.

I look forward to blogging with you on August 23!