3 Easy Blogging Time-Savers
Does it feel like blogging is taking over your schedule? Do you want to create a great blog for your business – with all the awesome perks that come along with it – but have this nagging feeling that it’s taking up way too much of your time?
I hear this question over and over again (and I’ve asked it myself): how can I blog for my business without losing so much time to it?
Based on my own blogging experience, here are my 3 favorite ways to keep blogging manageable and enjoyable.
Blogging Time Saver #1 – Create Your Brainstorm Plan
Writing a blog post can suck up a lot of time. Deciding what to write that blog post about can suck up even more. There’s something about sitting down to write a blog post without a solid idea in place that creates an impenetrable mental block. You’re suppose to write this thing now. Come up with an idea already so you can get started. Talk about pressure.
You can save yourself loads of time (and heartache) by planning out your blog topics ahead of time – way before you sit down to actually write the post.
This is actually my favorite part of blogging (besides, of course, the immense feeling of accomplishment that comes along with finally hitting ‘publish’). It’s just plain fun.
You can brainstorm your blog topics any ol’ way you’d like, but here’s my personal version of getting it done:
1) I get away from the computer. Sometimes you need a change of scenery to get in the creative groove. Plus, I’m fairly convinced that the more time I spend staring at my computer screen, the more often I need to update my contact lens prescription. Just saying. So grab an old fashioned notebook and pen, and find some place inspiring to sit.
2) I create content themes or categories to organize my ideas. For example, I create sections for writing topics, social media topics, blogging topics, and so on. This way your brain won’t be bombarded by a million different possibilities all at once. Instead, you can focus on one area at a time, and dig to find really specific, unique things to write about within that broader topic.
3) I write down every idea. Even if it might suck. You never know what it could turn into with some refinement.
4) I aim to brainstorm at least 5 month’s worth of blog topics at once. Since I blog once per week, that boils down to about 20 ideas. This way, if later on I decide half the ideas are horrible, I still have 2.5 months worth of content ideas before I need to repeat the process.
Blogging Time Saver #2 – Dump first, edit later
Whatever you do, do not edit your writing during the first draft. Just don’t do it.
I know it’s super tempting to re-write poor sentences, fix grammar mistakes, and – sometimes – erase every last word and start over while you’re writing the first draft of a post.
But, in most cases, getting ideas out of your head and down onto the paper is the hardest part about writing. By editing as you write, you’re interrupting that creative brain-dump process and making it harder – and more time consuming – to get the words down.
When you write your first draft, give yourself permission to be sloppy. You can spell words wrong (as long as they are not so wrong that you won’t know what word you were going for), use poor punctuation, and let run-on-sentences slide. Promise yourself that you’ll fix it later, and then just write.
Get your ideas out of your head. Write the whole post and don’t stop. You’ll save a lot of time and, surprisingly, probably end up with a more creative and conversational-sounding blog post.
Once you have your entire first draft written, go back to the beginning and start editing. Fix all the sloppiness, tighten up the copy, and clarify your points. This is the perfect time to get all uptight about grammar usage and spelling, so have at it. But don’t even think about it during your first draft.
Blogging Time Saver #3 – Write in batches
Working yourself into your creative zone where your writing starts to sound good can take some time. It’s like exercising – you have to warm up before you get down to real calorie-burning business. So when you write just one blog post – or worse, just part of one blog post – at a time, you’re sacrificing a lot of valuable minutes to the writing-warm-up process.
You can cut down on that big time by writing your blog posts in batches. Personally, I like to write a month’s worth of blog posts at one time (which, right now, equals four posts). Instead of setting aside smaller chunks of time all month long to work on blogging, I reserve one large chunk at the beginning of each month and crank them out all at once. It’s a great feeling to have your content already set for an entire month ahead of time, and I also save a lot of time that I would have otherwise wasted warming up to writing. Not to mention all the time I would spend thinking and worrying about when I would be able to write my next post.
If you don’t think you can handle writing four or more blog posts all at once, that’s OK. Start with whatever you can. Maybe it’s two blog posts. Maybe it’s just outlining a month’s worth of blog posts, and writing the rest later. Whatever you need to do to start getting used to writing in batches, do it. Your schedule will thank you.
Now I want to hear from you! What tricks and systems do you rely on to make blogging work for your business? Share it with me in the comments below.
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